With a meeting scheduled this Thursday during which details of the carefully guarded development planned for the Roos property will finally be unveiled, information about the project is gradually becoming available.
The development, according to architect John Schiess, will include 102 residential units 74 of which will be housed in the existing building, originally built in the 1920s as the home of the Edward Roos Cedar Chest Company. Twenty eight townhouses will also be constructed on the west end of the property.
A previous plan for the property by developer Patrick Wangler which called for the demolition of the building and the construction of 138 condominium units fell through last year.
“I think it’s a handsome building. It does have those characteristics of the 1920s manufacturing building in Chicago. Noone’s out there waving a flag to save them, and many have come down, especially on the west side of Chicago,” he said. All windows on the building will be replaced, and the brickwork will be cleaned and restored, according to Schiess.
Schiess will be working on the project alongside developer Alexandr Troyanovsky and his partner Tom Ltwicki. The team has worked together on numerous area developments, most notably the Madison Square townhouse development on Madison St. between Home Ave. and Wisconsin St.
The group, for which Schiess typically serves as a spokesman, has held neighborhood meetings at its office for nearby residents and “stakeholders,” said Schiess.
“The feedback we’ve gotten has been excellent”couldn’t have been any better,” he said. Among the stakeholders Schiess said he’s met with are School District 91 Superintendent Randolph Tinder, Park District Executive Director David Novak and Assistant Director Larry Piekarz, and resident Bob Cox, who strongly opposed the demolition of the building as proposed by a previous developer.
“This is really going to be a great development for Forest Park,” Cox said after meeting with the developers about two weeks ago.
Schiess would not reveal the purchase price of the property, but noted that “our appraisal came in at $5.7 million.” The village had the property appraised at $2.3 million in late 2005 when it was considering purchasing it along with the park district for use as a joint governmental headquarters.
Schiess did not have details at hand concerning the ammount of parking that would be provided at the development or the percentage of the space that the development would occupy, but said that he did not expect to require any variances from the village’s zoning code in these areas.
Schiess said that the group has hired a traffic consultant and studies are currently underway to find ways to alleviate traffic concerns the development may create.
“There was a study [by the previous developer] but according to our consultant the methods used were fairly minimal,” he said. Schiess said current plans call for the building to have two entry points, one on Circle Ave. and one on Hannah Ave.
Schiess said that the three bedroom townhouses will sell for about $475,000. The asking prices for the lofts in the existing building have not been determined, but Schiess estimated that they would be in the upper $300,000s.
The development’s amenities, he said, would include a party room, a workout room, a children’s play area, and a bicycle storage area.
The official “unveiling” of the plans is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Howard Mohr Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd. Schiess said that further neighborhood meetings will follow at dates to be announced later.
The Roos property is located at 7329 Harrison Street.