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OAK PARK, IL-The Village of Oak Park is expected to choose next week three finalists to develop what the village considers a “signature site” in its Downtown area. The village owns property at 1121-1123 Lake St., 1145 Westgate St. and 1125-1139 Lake St. and a parking lot with approximately 100 spots, says Bob Clements, redevelopment manager for the village of Oak Park.

The village is reviewing proposals from seven developers and the village board is expected to choose three finalists at its next board meeting on Nov. 19, Clements tells GlobeSt.com. Clements could not disclose the developers but the finalists will be disclosed once chosen.

The village acquired the 1125-1139 Lake St. and the 1145 Westgate properties in May 2006 and has owned the 1121-1123 Lake St. property for approximately six years, he says. A master plan update in 2004 and a citizens’ commission both recommended the redevelopment of the site. The redevelopment “will enliven Downtown, if it is done right,” Clements says.

The redevelopment plan must have a retail or commercial component; a residential, office or hotel component; and at least 100 public parking spots to replace the existing surface parking lot, he says. Cost estimates for the seven project proposals were not disclosed but, as to the cost of the redevelopment, Clements says “I am sure it will be a large ticket.” The three finalists for redeveloping the site will have to provide estimates for their plans as well as prove to the village that they are capable of developing the project, Clements says. The developer is expected to be chosen at the end of March with construction starting, at the earliest, in the late fall of 2008, he says.

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