With a closed-session joint meeting between the Village Council and the Park Board to discuss the Roos property fast approaching on Monday, September 12, none of the participants are saying much.
However, all indicators show that expectations are not high that any kind of offer for the property will be made by the Park District, even with help from the Village.
The Forest Park Review learned last week that the appraisals on the property, commissioned by the village and park district, came in at $2.3 million when zoned for residential use and $1.3 when zoned for industrial use.
The developer, Patrick Wangler, has previously stated an asking price of $3.75 million.
The Review asked Wangler about the difference between the appraisal and the asking price. “That’s other people’s work,” replied Wangler.
Wangler has submitted architectural plans to knock down the Roos building and build 132 condominiums in four separate four story buildings.
But when Wangler appeared to be trying to sell the property, Mayor Anthony Calderone suggested that the park district might want to purchase the property, located directly east of the Park.
In July, Calderone suggested that if the Park District could not afford to purchase the property alone the village could also get involved. He also floated the idea of turning the property into a multi-use governmental center housing the park district, village hall and School District 91 headquarters.
However, the responses from the park board and school board thus far have not been enthusiastic.
Wangler declined to comment about negotiations with the village, and Calderone also preferred not to discuss any negotiations or to make any predictions as to what he expected to happen at the joint meeting.
When asked about his plans for the property, Wangler replied “nothing’s changed.”
The planned unit development (PUD) that changed the zoning on the property to allow for the building of condominiums was approved by the village council 3-2 almost one year ago. That PUD expires on September 27, 2005 and council members have expressed a desire not to renew it.
If the PUD expires the property will revert back to its original industrial zoning. Asked whether the village had considered trying to obtain the property by eminent domain, Calderone replied “not yet”.
One neighbor of the Roos property holds out hope that the park and village can obtain the property.
“Rather than look at today’s balance in the checkbook, the park and village need to look at tomorrow’s cost of a missed opportunity,” said Marcy Wozniak, who ran unsuccessfully for the Park District’s Board of Commissioners earlier this year. “If we as a community have a chance to gain control over this piece of land why wouldn’t we?”