An auto mechanic who has been at the center of a three-way property negotiation that could open the door for massive neighborhood redevelopment may be nearing a deal.
Rod Nunley, who owns a corner lot at 7201 Franklin St., was expecting to go before the Plan Commission Aug. 4 for a vote on his proposed repair shop. But Nunley was scratched from the meeting’s agenda at the last minute as potentially more substantive discussions take place.
“We were pulled off and the word was several things need to happen before we go to the Plan Commission,” Nunley’s architect John Schiess said. “Some talks need to happen. I’ve just been told to wait.”
Schiess would not comment on the negotiations between his client, the village and a River Forest development group, Circle Plaza LLC.
Nunley has operated the Elite Tire business at 25 Harlem Ave. in Forest Park for decades in a building owned by Circle Plaza. With his lease set to expire June 30, 2009, Nunley recently purchased a nearby property at the corner of Franklin Street with plans to reopen there. But Circle Plaza, operated by Sherrie Krisco and two others in her family, has steadily worked toward purchasing much of the surrounding land for the purpose of a massive redevelopment. According to Krisco, Nunley’s newly acquired property represents an important piece of the redevelopment puzzle and the mechanic has thus far been unwilling to sell.
In recent months Nunley has been approached by municipal leaders, including Mayor Anthony Calderone, asking him to consider various proposals to sell his property. The longtime mechanic has thus far described the talks as a frustrating exercise. However, Nunley said recently he needs to play his cards close to his chest.
“I really can’t comment on that,” Nunley said of the negotiations. “I’m not trying to be evasive.”
Village Administrator Mike Sturino, too, would not comment on any progress in the discussions with Nunley and Circle Plaza. He also declined to say whether the River Forest company is preparing to submit plans to the village for a formal review.
“We’re not talking about that project,” Sturino said.
Both Nunley and his architect have complained that the proposed repair shop has been held hostage by a vague promise from Circle Plaza. No publicly available plans have been submitted by the LLC, forcing Nunley to try and win favor against an apparition.
The parties would not say when – or if – a breakthrough in the negotiations for Nunley’s parcel occurred, but it is potentially a very recent development. On Aug. 1, the day village staff finalized the agenda for the Aug. 4 Plan Commission meeting, Schiess was prepared to present new drawings in an effort to convince the village that Nunley is willing to design his repair shop in whatever style Circle Plaza uses for the surrounding parcels.