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High-Rise Vote Slated for Monday

Special meeting will address the fate of controversial Lake Street high rise.

The Oak Park Village Board on Monday could decide the fate of the high-rise tower planned for the heart of downtown.

Sertus Capital Partners, a Chicago-based development company, is aiming for the board to approve new plans to it glitzy tower, which call for two floors of retail space and 20 stories of high-end luxury apartments. If approved, the structure would be Oak Park's tallest.

Construction for the high-rise building would require tweaks to village zoning, height and density codes. The Oak Park Plan Commission considered those changes in November, resulting in deadlocked 4-4 vote. Technically, that's a denial and in order to overturn it, a "supermajority," or five votes to approve by the village board, is required.

"It's a fairly momentous evening," said Village Clerk Teresa Powell.

Village officials have been mulling the new set of plans for at least a month, and they're expected to prompt a healthy debate at the special meeting at , 123 Madison St., at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

A copy of the meeting agenda is attached at a PDF document.

Still, the vote could be postponed until "[the board] feels it has sufficient information," Powell said.

The Oak Park Plan Commission and Village Board had given their OK to the developer's original 2009 plans, which called for a hotel and condo building at Lake Street and Forest Avenue. But a soft real estate market and a sluggish economy forced Sertus to

Both sets of plans have ignited a controversy, with project opponents saying the tall glass and steel building would be an eyesore to downtown Oak Park, cause traffic headaches and would be tough to fill with businesses and luxury apartment dwellers.

But some Oak Park officials, along with some in the business community, say the building would meet the goals for economic growth and housing outlined in the village's Greater Downtown Master Plan.

In a Jan. 3 Wednesday Journal editorial, Sertus managing director Michael Glazier said the project would not only "fulfill Oak Park's objectives," but would also "appeal to newcomers to Oak Park seeking an attractive, high-quality rental unit as a first step to putting down roots here. At the same time, the project would offer conveniently located, single-level, zero-maintenance housing for existing residents looking to downsize and stay in the community."

Lenore Harris January 09, 2012 at 09:20 PM
The less than 50% sold 144 unit Everleigh Condo development (TIF#1 in Des Plaines) which was rescued from foreclosure in June 2011 by a "mystery investor" does not compare in size or scope to what Sertus proposes for the LakeForest development. Village staff have not provided current references in the agenda for tonight's mtg that support their resounding recommendations to go forward with this project. Hopefully village trustees will do their own fact checking and vote against this development. Not this: Silver Young Capital Website/ is partnered with Sertus, and on their website you will find this: A recent Sertus land purchase has revitalized a major business area in downtown Oak Park, Illinois, a city well known for its ties to Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway. So, maybe they have already paid off the trustees like they did the 19th Cent Club. Mystery investing seems to be a specialty of Sertus.
William J Belmonte Jr January 11, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Did you notice ALL the coverage in our two weekly news papers. NOT

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