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New apartments may tower next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

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If approved, the 28-story building would become Oak Park’s tallest

Oak Park’s Unity Temple, located at 875 Lake Street. The new tower is slated for nearby 835 Lake Street.
Photo by Nick Fochtman

Oak Park, Chicago’s immediate neighbor to the west, could get a new tallest building: a 28-story rental high-rise situated just steps Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Unity Temple.

Although developers have yet to publicly unveil their plan for the U.S. Bank branch drive-thru at 835 Lake Street, they did meet privately with nearby condo owners, reported the Wednesday Journal on Monday. The publication also shared a pair of photos from the meeting showing a ground-level rendering and a floor stacking diagram.

The Lake Street project is led by Chicago-based developer Golub & Company—the same group that built the 21-story, 270-unit Vantage Oak Park in 2016. The new building will require approval by the Oak Park Board of Trustees to move forward in its current form.

The drive-thru bank (left) is just down the block from Unity Temple (far right).
Google Street View

Although the drive-thru site was long rumored to be in play for redevelopment, the current plan is considerably taller than nearby residential buildings as well as the block’s most famous structure: architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1908 Unity Temple.

The national landmark recently received a major $25 million renovation including a restoration of the sanctuary’s original art glass coffered ceiling. The developers of 835 Lake Street claim the new tower to the east “won’t impact Unity Temple’s sunlight features,” according to the Wednesday Journal report.

Golub is expected to publicly present the proposal a yet-to-be-announced meeting later this month. If approved, construction could begin in late 2019.

In addition to the aforementioned Vantage tower, Oak Park has seen a number of large apartment developments transform its downtown in recent years. Other notable projects include the 20-story Emerson high-rise, a 12-story rental building at Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard, and Albion’s 19-story tower rising at 1000 Lake Street.