The bright orange notices on the front door of the vacant Oak Hotel building, 855 Lake St., note that the structure is condemned by the Oak Park Fire Department and "unfit for human occupancy."
The notices are dated April 10 and appeared two days after fire inspectors discovered that a small fire had taken place in the structure, damaging two of the units.
The building has been vacant for months, according to Tammie Grossman, director of Oak Park's Development Customer Services Department.
She said the building, which was sold in May 2018 for $3.97 million to Chicago-based Icon Clark LLC, has gradually been vacated since it was purchased.
The building currently has 63 units, but that number is expected to decline in the forthcoming rehab, which will keep them as rental apartments, Grossman said.
"The previous owner hadn't spent any money on the building in a long time," she said.
The building, which originally served as a hotel, was never designated low-income housing, but it offered affordable efficiency apartments on Lake Street.
Grossman did not disclose any details of the project, but said the developer, Ayman Khalil, is not seeking any zoning variances for the rehab.
Khalil did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Deputy Fire Chief Peter Pilafas said in a telephone interview that the building was condemned after fire inspectors discovered on April 8 that a fire had taken place in the vacant building.
It is uncertain when the fire took place, he said. Fire inspectors were out that day on a different inspection when they noticed doors and windows open at the building.
They wanted to make sure the vacant building was secure when they smelled the odor of smoke coming from inside the structure. An investigation revealed that a fire had taken place in a hallway on the third floor.
That fire appeared to have begun in the hallway and spread to two of the units, Pilafas said, adding that inspectors believe the fire self-extinguished at some point. The building was condemned to make sure it is not being occupied by anyone, he added.
"We want to make sure it's secured so nothing happens with the building when it's unoccupied," Pilafas said.
Answer Book 2019
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