OAK FOREST, IL-RSC & Associates, based in Chicago, will develop a $40-million transit-oriented development with 78 residential units and 37,750 sf of retail. The retail phase will deliver in the fall, shortly before work begins on the residential component.

The development site is an 8.8-acre tract at the northwest corner of 159th Street and Cicero Avenue beside a train station for Metra’s Rock Island District Line. Two five-story buildings will house the residential units and street-level retail plus there will be some retail pad sites. Each building will have a parking level above the retail and three floors of residential units, says Michael Kaufman, president of Naperville-based Knightsbridge Design + Build LLC, the general contractor for the project.

Richard Curto, CEO of RSC, says the average unit will be 1,100 sf. Prices will range from “$170,000 up to $300,000,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Retailers will include a 13,000-sf CVS Pharmacy and 3,000-sf National City Bank. Both CVS and National City Bank will own their pad sites and buildings, according to Curto. The project also will include a 4,500-sf retail building and 4,000-sf restaurant. He says “a brand-name coffee shop” is expected to be a tenant in one of the retail buildings.

Kaufman says construction began earlier this month. The first phase will be CVS, National City Bank and two speculative retail buildings. The Gateway will have a “large underground water storage detention vault in order to maximize the space of the property,” Kaufman says.

The retail buildings are expected to be completed by October. Construction on the residential buildings will begin late this year or early 2009. They are expected to take about 18 months to complete, Kaufman says. “They have to get some presales done first,” he says. The development is being designed by Legat Architects, based in Waukegan.

The location is at the intersection of two main thoroughfares. Kaufman says about 1,600 people commute daily on the train, which runs from Joliet to Downtown Chicago. He believes commuters are the most likely buyers for condominiums. In addition, the train station will generate traffic for the retail.

The development parcel is located in a tax increment financing district.

Additional development incentives were awarded by Oak Forest City Council. “The city has provided incentives to help create a higher quality, more visible project than could be done otherwise,” Curto says. “It was a situation where the city of Oak Forest wanted to create, in essence, a gateway to their community.”

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