A crowd of about 75 business supporters, owners and residents turned out last month to watch Village officials and senior executives from the development and construction teams ceremoniously break ground for the long-awaited redevelopment of the northeast corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue.
Donning hardhats and wielding gold-painted shovels, officials turned over the first of what is sure to be many tons of earth that will be excavated to make way for a 21-story mixed-use building housing 270 rental apartments, 25,000 square feet of ground-level retail and an integrated garage with 588 parking spaces.
The project is a joint venture between affiliates of Golub & Company, a Chicago- based real estate investment and development firm, and Wood Partners LLC, a national real estate company that acquires, develops, constructs and manages high-density and mixed-use communities.
The project will feature luxury apartments, including studio, one- and two-bedrooms with sweeping views of the surrounding community and the Chicago skyline to the east. The building will include a fitness center, community room, large landscaped outdoor amenity deck, cybercafé and many other amenities to meet the needs of today’s renters.
Designed by the Chicago office of Gensler Architects, the glass-enclosed tower will feature a podium wrapped with Roman brick and large shop windows for ground and second floor commercial users. The project is being built by Tishman Construction to meet LEED Silver requirements.
Redevelopment of the high-profile parcel in downtown Oak Park has been in the works since October 2006, when the developer purchased the adjoining private property and contacted the Village about incorporating the public garage into a major project.
The project represents an investment of about $99 million that officials say will create construction jobs while it is being built and retail positions when it is completed, as well as bring in an estimated $1.3 million in new property and sales taxes each year.
The new parking garage, which will be shared by the public and residential and retail tenants, will replace the public parking garage built in about 1974. The aging garage had become difficult and increasingly expensive to maintain in its final years.
The Lake & Forest project is one of several planned for downtown, including a major mixed-use development on the surface parking lot on Lake Street east of Harlem Avenue. The Village also plans to extend the Marion Street palette west on South Boulevard from Marion to Harlem Avenue and negotiations are underway to redevelop the Village-owned property on South Boulevard east of Harlem Avenue.
Information on the projects, including traffic and parking updates, is posted at www.oak-park.us/projects and distributed via Village enews, www.facebook.com/vopnews and twitter.com/vopnews.