The Oak Park Village Board has selected Lincoln Property Company to take the reins on a much-anticipated development at South Boulevard and Harlem Avenue in downtown Oak Park.
The Dallas-based company won out over three other applicants who bid to lead the project, promising a minimum of 250 residential units — five of which will set aside as affordable housing — and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail to be built on the village-owned property. The 11-story building would also include 398 parking spots, roughly 150 of which would be available for public use.
Other proposals for the site, presented to the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation earlier this year, envisioned similar residential and retail layouts, including designs for a grocery story and space for a medical office.
At the board’s July 21 meeting, OPEDC Interim Executive Director John Hedges said that, of those choices, Lincoln’s proposal was “the least complicated, and the one that we think will financially benefit the village the best.” He added that the affordable housing component, seen in only two of the bids, helped put Lincoln over the top.
Those units would be entered into an affordable program for a term of five years, set at a monthly rental rate that would come out to $70 less than the building’s lowest market rate rent.
“That gap creates what we feel will provide a product that will reach that market,” said Lincoln Development Manager Joe Segobiano.
The firm’s plan is expected to cost around $67 million; Lincoln will kick in an additional $1.1 million to cover streetscape improvements and other expenses related to the project. Segobiano named a number of financing partners that the firm has worked with, including AIG and UBS, though he stopped short of explaining the funding scheme for the project.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lincoln is required to start construction on the project within a year — a condition that the firm shouldn’t have trouble living up to.
“We want to be in the ground as soon as possible,” said Lincoln Executive VP Brian Byrne. “We’re ready to go.”
YMCA parking lot development sent back to staff
At the meeting, the board also took a first look at plans for a townhome development near the corner of Home Avenue and Randolph Street.
The Oak Park Oasis development would set 22 townhomes on a parking lot currently owned by the West Cook YMCA. Set within the interior of the block bound by Home and Wisconsin Avenues, Washington Boulevard and Randolph Street, the lot is boxed in on all sides by buildings and lacks access to the street except by way of two north-south running alleys.
To alleviate street access requisites for the development, JCSD LLC, the firm heading the project, included the owner of a single family home on the abutting 300 block of Home Avenue as a co-applicant for the proposal.
While some concerns related to the site’s isolated nature — including the question of how fire engines would access the site — were worked out, trustees were ill-convinced that the inclusion of the residence on Home would satisfy street frontage requirements laid out in the village code.
“I feel like I’m being tricked here,” said Board President Anan Abu-Taleb.
After some discussion with Plan Commission Chairperson David Mann regarding the development’s legal footing, the board tabled the Oak Park Oasis proposal so that staff could review the application. The project is expected to go before the board again at its Aug. 4 meeting.