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Construction Activity Continues in Downtown Oak Park

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As one rental high-rise approaches completion, another is starting to rise

Just west of the Chicago city limits, construction is moving full speed ahead with the Vantage Oak Park high-rise nearing completion, Oak Park Station starting to rise and a third, yet to be named project expecting to break ground in the coming months. The collective delivery of these major projects are expected to further energize Oak Park’s already vibrant downtown area.

At Lake and Forest Streets, Vantage Oak Park is putting on the finishing touches as pre-leasing is well underway for July move-ins. The 21-story building rises to 223 feet in height, making it the new tallest building the near west suburb. The development will feature 270 apartments with 27,000 square feet of retail aligned to Lake Street, extending Oak Park’s downtown commercial strip eastward past Forest Avenue. The retail is arranged over two floors with a masonry facade of alternating volumes and brick colors interspersed with triangular window bays breaking up the massing of the podium structure.

The large parking component contained within the podium is buried into the interior of the block, wrapped by active spaces facing the adjacent streets, with the tower itself positioned along Forest Avenue on the western edge of the site. The podium roof is then topped with an amenity deck for the soon to arrive residents.

While the building is indeed a transit-oriented development (TOD), a large parking count was included on-site, as the project replaced a village owned parking garage which had reached the end of its useful design lifespan. As a complete renovation of the structure paid for by the village would have been necessary to keep the garage open, Oak Park instead decided to enter into a public-private partnership with the development team of the project to construct new housing and retail in conjunction with a replacement garage. The new development would then create new tax revenue as well as more customers for local downtown businesses while offering an increase in the diversity of the village’s housing options.

Meanwhile, closer to Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, Oak Park Station is on the rise after foundation work was underway through the month of May. Steel is being erected quickly for the five-story low-rise component of the two-building complex flanking both sides of Westgate Street. The high-rise portion of the project is located between North Boulevard and Westgate, directly next to the combined Metra and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station serving as the terminal of the Green Line. The tower will rise to 20 stories and 221 feet, placing it in a close second place of the emerging Oak Park skyline.

Once known as the Colt site, this village owned parking lot has long been eyed for redevelopment and will soon host 271 apartments, ground floor retail and 428 parking spaces. Having a public parking component included in the downtown’s newest developments was a request of the local residents and business owners as these projects are replacing municipal parking locations.

In total, 1,400 parking spaces will provided among Vantage, Oak Park Station and a new 12-story, 250-unit project project to be constructed at Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard on the opposite side of the transit station. Currently the site of Oak Park’s next high-rise is a surface lot still open for parking cars, but that is expected to give way to new construction by spring of next year.