By Nathaniel Zimmer, special to The Star
OAK LAWN, IL – Prairie Town Center, once the source of a long-running controversy in Oak Lawn, is moving rapidly toward becoming a part of the fabric of the village.
With the first of two condominium buildings at 95th Street and Cook Avenue by the Metra station under construction and 80 percent of units there sold, the project’s developers are starting sales of units in the second building.
The original plans, which were drawn up under the previous village board, called for two 84-foot-tall buildings with a total of 190 condos.
The current board rejected them as too large, and a deal was struck last year to permit construction of 65-foot buildings with 130 total units.
Considering the turmoil in the housing market, sales have been brisk since fall, said Barbara Morris, director of sales for Morningside Group, the project’s co-developer with Mid-America Development Partners.
“We worked really hard, my company worked really hard, on these buildings to produce what we feel Oak Lawn really wanted,” she said. “We must have hit the button of what they needed.”
Buyers of the units, which range from 844-square-foot one bedrooms to 1,461-square-foot three bedrooms, reportedly are a diverse lot.
“We appeal to everybody because of the different sizes,” Morris said. “I have first-time buyers, empty-nesters, professional people, I have people that just really want to stay in Oak Lawn. I have people that want to take advantage of the train.”
Prices range from $185,900 to $325,900.
With marketing of the project’s more than 18,000 square feet of retail space along 95th Street having just begun, no tenants are signed up yet.
But Mayor Dave Heilmann said village officials are particularly interested in encouraging restaurants to locate there.
“We want to get better restaurants,” he said before catching himself in a potentially impolitic statement. “I shouldn’t say better – we want more restaurants. That’s something that would be terrific for that spot.”
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