A discussion about the proposed high-rise development at Lake and Forest in Oak Park Tuesday night followed the storyline of someone who ditched their lifelong -to-be at the altar, and now wants to reschedule.
Village President Anan Abu-Taleb and Trustee Adam Salzman hosted a community forum at the Cheney Mansion Tuesday night, where residents spent most of the night discussing the proposed development that has become complicated by missed deadlines, a pending lawsuit and a possible change in development firms.
Abu-Taleb said the village wants to find a way to make the development work. The building would generate about $1.2 million in property taxes and about $56,000 in sales taxes for the village annually.
At an upcoming board meeting, officials will consider whether to grant an extension of the closing date, which was supposed to be July 19, and allow amendments to its redevelopment agreement (RDA) with the village.
Abu-Taleb and Salzman said Tuesday the developers will need to show they have the money, and that they are serious about the project, to get the board's approval.
So, were they dating the wrong person? Or did they just need time?
"We've been dating these guys since 2005... And we had scheduled a wedding night, and they didn't show up," said Abu-Taleb. "We sent out the invitation cards... and they didn't show up."
But now, he said, they're back for more, and the village won't send out round two of invites until they know that the finances are in place and that the developers can deliver on time.
The Village Board in January 2012 approved the plans for a new 20-story retail and residential building that will contain 20,000 square feet of retail space and 270 luxury apartments. Per the agreement, developer Sertus Capital Partners—the former name of Lake Street Investors—will construct a parking garage with 588 spaces, 300 public and 288 private, replacing the currently deteriorating L-shaped garage.
According to the Wednesday Journal, PNC Bank is demanding $4.9 million in principal and interest from Lake Street Investors, LLC, for a mortgage loan provided in 2006 to finance the acquisition of the property at 950-954 W. Lake St. Abu-Taleb said Tuesday the developer hasn't made a payment on the property since March 2012.
The Journal also reported the development firm could change hands to Golub & Company, where Michael Glazier, Sertus' face of the development, started work in August. A Sertus spokesman told the paper Golub has had discussions with Sertus and with PNC Bank about taking over the development and buying the past due note. (Read the Sept. 17 Wednesday Journal article here)
Salzman said the main issue the village faces at this point is a legal one, due to a "very tightly-crafted" redevelopment agreement. He added the fact that the developers asked for an extension after missing their deadline will make for an "interesting conversation" among board members.