Sertus Capital Partners developer unveiled plans detailing how the company will reinvent a high-profile corner in downtown Oak Park.
Sertus has relinquished former plans to build a hotel and condos, and instead, hopes to build a 20-story apartment building with retail space at the bottom. According to the developer, construction would cost about $90.7 million from start to finish. This includes $8.4 million from the Village of Oak Park for 300 spots in a new 588-space garage.
Investors are hesitant to finance the project recently due to the struggling hotel and condo market. However, Sertus believes that the switch to apartments will make it more appealing to lenders.
“All of these institutions have expressed interest and confidence that this is a very viable project in today’s marketplace,” Michael Glazier, a principal for Sertus, told village trustees at a meeting Monday night, according to an article for OakPark.com.
The Village of Oak Park and Sertus have been negotiating for years on how to redevelop the corner of Lake and Forest, where the village owns a parking garage and Sertus owns a plot of land. Although the talks wrapped up last year, the project has been delayed.
Oak Park was pushing hard for a hotel, but since Sertus has decided to change directions to apartments, that subsidy has been removed.
Currently, there is a dispute between Sertus and the former architect of the project; the company is switching to a San Francisco-based architect, Gensler, which designed the Block 37 development in downtown Chicago.
Trustees are concerned about the newer design, and some have expressed favor of the previous one.
“I think the retail component has changed quite dramatically, and it’s not for the better,” said Trustee Ray Johnson, later adding, “It’s a concern for me.”
David Barsotti, an owner of a neighboring condo, is a vocal opponent of the Sertus project. He urged trustees to stop supporting the plan. A nine-story condo building in downtown Des Plains is one of Sertus’ previous efforts. This building is in foreclosure, said Barsotti, according to the OakPark.com article. The architectural firm, Epstein, has filed a $3.5 million lien against the property, according to court records. Glazier declined to comment on these deputes, but he did say that the Des Plaines property has been converted to apartments and is about 30 percent occupied.
“Regardless of how you feel about this project, the developer does not seem to have a proven track record and should not be given any taxpayer subsidies or zoning variances,” Barsotti said, in the article. “I ask when you discuss this Thursday, please do not approve this project.”
Revised plans were posted on Oak-Park.us on August 2.