Morningside Plans $30M Mixed-Use Development

By Gina Kenny

OAK PARK, IL – Morningside Equities Group Inc., based in Chicago, is planning a $30-million, mixed-used development at the intersection of South Boulevard and Harlem Avenue. Morningside and the village of Oak Park recently announced they reached an agreement for the Chelsea Station development, which will have 96 condominium units and 12,500 sf of retail space. The development will also have 245 public parking spaces in addition to parking for condominium owners.

The condominiums will have one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with the average unit size being about 1,200 sf, says Mary Ellen Martin, senior development manager for Morningside. The development was originally proposed as a six-story building but is now expected to be about 260,000 sf and eight stories with an additional level of public parking and an additional level of condominiums, she says. The price for the units will range from the high $200,000s to the $300,000s, Martin says.

The condominiums will be moderately priced, which was preferred by the village, says an Oak Park spokesman. “Oak Park has been a really hot real estate market,” he says. “A lot [of the developments] have been relatively upscale.” The village has always been a diverse community–both economically and racially–and having more moderately priced condominiums will help the village remain diverse, he says.

The site is an “ideal” location for a transit-orientated development, says the village spokesman. The site is across the street from the Intermodal Station where people can board the El’s Green Line, Metra trains or board a CTA or PACE bus, he says.

The site is also approximately a mile from Interstate 290, Martin says. Currently, there are public parking lots at the site with a total of 143 parking spaces. The parking lots are “right at the epicenter of Oak Park, which is clearly underutilizing [the space] in terms of producing tax for the village and dynamic life for the community,” Martin says.

The village is contributing the land for the project. The village had previously acquired the parcel for about $3 million. The village will also contribute about $1.9 million to help pay for the cost of the additional 102 parking spaces. Morningside was one of three developers who submitted proposals to the village to develop the site, the spokesman says. A formal redevelopment agreement is expected to be approved by the Oak Park Village Board by the end of November or beginning of December, he says. The project then heads to the village’s plan commission before coming back to the village board for final approval. Final village approval is expected to occur next February or March, he says.

Construction will likely commence in the fall of 2008, Martin says. Sales for the units will probably begin next summer and the development is expected to be completed probably in the fall of 2010, she says.

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