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PARK RIDGE, IL-Five development teams appear to have made the first cut in this O’Hare area suburb’s attempt to redevelop the first piece of its 111-acre Uptown project. However, picking a winner for the task of redeveloping the former Bredemann auto dealership at Touhy Avenue, Northwest and Busse highways is at least two weeks away.

The city hopes to redevelop the triangular piece of property it acquired for $3.8 million for a mix of retail uses that would generate pedestrian traffic as well as residential use, including condominiums.

Although the city received 19 responses to its request for qualifications sent to more than 150 potential developers, that compares favorably to the results seen in other suburbs, says city manager Tim Schuenke. He notes Deerfield officials received eight responses while Bartlett drew six.

Schuenke’s staff and SB Friedman & Co., the city’s consultant on the project, pared the list down at the urging of Acting Mayor Michael MaRous, hoping to issue a handful of requests for proposals. Action by the city council was postponed Monday until Dec.15.

“Each of the five had a fairly extensive analysis of the site and had opinions,” says Stephen Friedman, suggesting the teams may be bucking resistance to pedestrian-oriented retail developments. “It’s hard to find people with the street-retail experience. … While there is a growing interest in a walkable Downtown retail environments, there is still a concern on the part of the tenants.”

The five finalists were:

* Uptown Venture LLC, a team led by Mesirow Stein with Harlem Irving Cos. and New Frontier. The team is involved in the South Campus project near the University of Illinois-Chicago as well as one in Downtown Deerfield, Friedman notes.

* PRC Partners LLC, led by Mid-America Asset Management with Edward R. James and the Lakota Group. “Mid-America is probably the strongest retail broker in the region,” Friedman says, adding the Oak Brook-based firm is involved in “street-oriented” retail projects ranging from the Clybourn Corridor on Chicago’s North Side to Downtown LaGrange. Edward R. James is considered an “upscale” residential developer and the Lakota Group is an experienced land-planning firm, whose work has included the Downtown redevelopment of Palatine.

* The team of Northern Realty and Wellington Partners. Northern Realty teamed with Mesirow Stein in Deerfield, Friedman says, while Wellington Partners has developed several residential projects in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.

* Norwood Builders and L&H Real Estate Corp. L&H is involved in leasing retail space at 500 W. Madison St. and in southwest suburban Tinley Park, while Norwood Builders’ mixed-use projects includes one in nearby Mount Prospect.

* A team led by Opus North Corp., the local arm of the Minneapolis-based developer. “Opus has a number of suburban Downtown projects in the Twin Cities that have been very successful,” Friedman says. “They also have very deep financial resources and an organizational capability that is very uncommon.”

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