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Photography by Nick Fochtman

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A tour through Oak Park’s newest and tallest tower

At 21-stories with 270-units, the new Vantage Oak Park tower brings an urban living experience to the suburbs

Oak Park, Chicago’s neighboring suburb to the west, is best known for being the physical center of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School of architecture—after all, the legendary architect designed a couple dozen homes and buildings in the village. But just as the apartment boom has begun to reshape downtown Chicago’s skyline, some near suburbs are seeing the effects of the latest building boom through new, tall rental developments. Vantage Oak Park, a new 21-story, 270-unit high-rise wouldn’t come close to hitting any height records in Chicago, but the new rental tower which welcomed its first tenants at the end of August has become Oak Park’s tallest building.

When the project was proposed, some Oak Park residents were concerned about the idea of having tall, dense rental developments standing over the downtown of the historic village. However Michael Glazier of Golub & Company says that the new project has been well received by Oak Park residents. "We tried to respect the city with our design and materials," Glazier told us. "When the building was completed, residents found that the project was interesting and contributed to their architectural history."

And while the tower is located in the heart of a nearby suburb, Vantage Oak Park has many similarities to new downtown rental projects in the sense that it combines upscale design and amenities with a walkable, transit-rich location. In addition to its wealth in historic architecture, Oak Park is a suburb that has a vibrant downtown area filled with small businesses and green space. Glazier says that the tower contributes to the village’s reputation for being a hub of world-class architecture while offering a more urban living experience for residents. "People want better design, better quality, and amenities," Glazier adds. "It’s something you see happening a lot downtown, but not so much in the suburbs."

And as far as demographics are concerned, Glazier said that the project has appealed to a broad range of renters. According to Glazier, some of the folks leasing units in the building include empty nesters that are looking to downsize, younger couples, corporate transfers, and medical students. The project’s leasing office opened in July and the tower was half leased as of the end of October.

Beyond its residential component, the tower also features two levels of commercial space. Glazier said that they are in talks with tenants for the spaces, but confirmed that one of the anchors will be a new Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant location. The buildout of the space won’t happen overnight however, so residents shouldn’t expect to have a glass of wine at the end of a long workday until early next summer.

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