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Oak Park approves revised plan for 19-story mixed-use tower

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The updated plan was released just days before the project’s approval


A mixed-use high-rise development slated for 1000 Lake Street in downtown Oak Park reached a key milestone Monday as the Village Board voted to approve the project by a 6-1 margin. Developed by Albion Residential and designed by Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA), the glassy building will occupy the northwest corner of Lake Street and Forest Avenue near the Austin Gardens public park.

The project first broke cover earlier this year as an 18-story building containing 265 apartments, retail space, and parking for 243 cars. Community concerns—especially with regards to how the structure addressed the neighboring park—saw Albion’s proposal make multiple appearances before the Oak Park Plan Commission.

The design was ultimately tweaked to rise 19 stories but also reduced the visual impact and massing of its northern facade. The updated plan now gradually steps away from Austin Gardens thanks to a series of architectural setbacks. The blank parking podium will also be wrapped with a less obtrusive green wall. The plan still calls for 265 residential units and 6,500 square feet of first-floor retail space while parking has dropped to 207 stalls.

The revised design reduces its northern massing to rise just nine stories over the park.

With the Village on board with the plan, Andrew Yule of Albion tells Oak Leaves/Chicago Tribune that his firm is targeting a June 2018 groundbreaking date followed by an anticipated construction period of 20 months.

Downtown Oak Park has experienced an unprecedented level of new high-rise construction in recent years. Notable projects include the 21-story Vantage Oak Park apartment tower and the 20-story Oak Park Station project now known as The Emerson. Crews also recently broke ground on a 12-story, 200-unit development at the southeast corner of Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard.

In addition to its Oak Park project, Albion is in the process of securing approval for a 16-story, transit-oriented apartment development in Evanston. Also designed by HPA, the structure slated for 1450 Sherman Avenue calls for 292 apartments, a 192-vehicle parking garage, and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The proposal cleared the Evanston Plan Commission on September 13th.