Are 'Shops of Downtown Oak Park' underdeveloped?

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Making his initial public pitch to the Oak Park village board last Monday night, Andy Stein of Clark Street Development made a point likely intended to resonate with some village officials.

If the large scale retail, apartment and parking complex his firm is pitching goes in on the village-owned site known as the Colt parking lot, maybe someday, in five years he suggested, the owners of the adjacent Shops of Downtown Oak Park (Gap, Old Navy, Pier One) will decide they have badly underutilized their prime real estate and will redevelop that site.

This has been a popular notion with some Oak Park officials who know those national stores do very well in their current configuration but believe the village could do better if those stores were incorporated into a more ambitious development.

Meanwhile Stein and his potential retail leasing partner were stingy with possible tenant names for the Colt development. But two were mentioned as unpromised possibilities: Anthropologie and some retail concept from Williams-Sonoma.

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Reader Comments

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Posted: May 6th, 2013 11:22 AM

With that said, parking is critical if you expect to add 2 or 3 larger/national chain retail tennants to the area and ten expect to fill the spaces across the street as well with more retail.


Posted: May 6th, 2013 11:20 AM

In order for boutiques stores to open and thrive, there needs to be an increase in retail activity to draw people in. It is too expensive for boutiques to open and survive if there is not the shopper base. Adding some other larger national chains will turn the area into more of a shopping destination allowing smaller independent shops to open and thrive. There isn't enough of a draw in the area to support it right now.

Chris from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 6:00 PM

JBM - Agreed. Oak Park should focus on filling the vacancies it has before making more and at the same time making Downtown that much less attractive. Hopefully the new board won't have its head in the sand.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 5:32 PM

Seems to me that there is no land space if the developers' plan went through, so expansion of Gap, Old Navy, etc. would have to be skyward. Don't we already have a vacant one of those in the NW corner of Harlem and Lake.

Brian Chang from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 5:25 PM

How much extra do you pay in gas, time, and wear and tear on your car driving all the way out to Oak Brook or Yorktown for your free parking?

not oakbrook from oak park  

Posted: May 4th, 2013 11:33 AM

I avoid going to OakBrook and Yorktown - I can always hop on the el for some of those chains downtown that I like, but I'd rather see them here. I agree that convenient parking should be high on the trustes' list, however.


Posted: May 4th, 2013 6:45 AM

We don't need big chains, can go to Oak Brook or Yorktown and PARK for FREE to shop those, Oak Park needs to encourage small botiques to make our village an appealing location to shop. Look at Downers Grove, lots of independent shops with parking.

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