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The Tallest New Building in Oak Park Tops Out at 20 Stories

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At Lake Street and Forest Avenue in suburban Oak Park, the village's newest high-rise has topped out at its final height of 20 stories. Known as Vantage, the new tower has acquired the title of the tallest building in town by floor count, taking the crown from Mills Park Tower, a brutalist 19-story building to the south of downtown which has held the title since 1975. The new tower is one more piece of the puzzle being put together over the last decade and a half that is reshaping and reinvigorating downtown Oak Park. Just two blocks to the southwest, another 20 story tower will soon rise on a surface parking lot adjacent to the combined CTA and Metra station, and across the tracks. Meanwhile, another building that is expected to stand at 12 stories is planned for Chicago's next door neighbor.

Proposing a high-rise in the near-west suburb does not come without a fair amount of controversy and pushback however. Vantage in particular was heightened even further by its location on Forest Avenue, ground zero for the greatest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses built during his early and middle career as an architect. The tower's site had been mostly occupied with a municipal parking garage which had reached the end of its design life and was costing ever more money for the village to maintain. As built, Vantage includes a new a garage for the village, as well as a large boost in annual tax revenue and additional residents further stimulating a healthy and growing downtown business district. It was those public benefits which sold the village board on green lighting what was at the time, a 21-story proposal in 2010. The approval though in the midst of the great recession put the brakes on the development plan and after change in program through swapping out a hotel and condominiums for rental apartments, a modified design was approved in 2011. Almost seven years after the project was first conceived, the building is now in the home stretch towards completion.

Shawn Ursini

·Oak Park's New Tower Gets a Name, Begins Pre-Leasing [Curbed Chicago]
·Oak Park's Tallest Building Continues to Climb Skyward [Curbed Chicago]
·Downtown Oak Park is on the Rise (Literally) [Curbed Chicago]