The village-owned burned out 2-flat at 512 Desplaines will face the wrecking ball.File 2010

The eyesore is coming down. After two and a half years standing empty with a caved in roof, the arson-destroyed two-flat at 512 Desplaines Ave. in Forest Park will be demolished. The council voted to approve a contract with demolition contractors DMD of Northlake at its Monday meeting.

The village received three bids to demolish the structure, which the village bought for $8,000 in 2010. DMD had the lowest bid at $19,850, said Forest Park Village Administrator Tim Gillian. He added that abatement of some asbestos pipe wrapping may also be required, which would add between $500 and $1,000 to the bill.

“I had estimated between $20,000 to $40,000 to demolish the structure, so I’m glad it came in at around 20,” Gillian said.

During a Nov. 15 village council meeting, Public Safety Commissioner Rory Hoskins told the council he had toured the building and found it “full of rotten wood and mold.”

Hoskins recommended tearing down the building right away. He suggested the space be used for parking or a picnic area for village employees.

At a special hearing before the Nov. 26 council meeting, Jim Amelio of Christopher B. Burke Engineering proposed asking for $60,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money to demolish the building in 2014.

But the village was able to rush the demolition through sooner.

Gillian said the impetus for the village’s action next Monday was a refinance of general obligation bonds, which freed up around $350,000 in the budget.

Public Property Commissioner Chris Harris voted against the proposal. But at the end of the meeting he clarified that he was glad the demolition had moved ahead.

“I feel we didn’t explore our options or try to put it on the market,” he said.

“This should be a discussion topic, on the agenda, so the public can weigh in,” Harris emailed before the meeting.

Hoskins said he was relieved the decision to demolish had been achieved.

“I’m happy that they’re looking at a contractor,” he said. “I’ve heard from a couple people that we should try to salvage the decorative urns on the roof. They’re nice urns. Maybe we could place them around village hall.”

According to the contract, DMD would demolish the building and garage and remove any slabs, foundations or footings. The site will be backfilled with clean dirt. DMD will retain the right to any salvage, including the bricks.

The future use of the space will be decided during the upcoming comprehensive planning process, Gillian said.

512 Desplaines timeline

The brick two-flat at 512 Desplaines Ave. was used as the Aspire group home for autistic children in the 1970s and 1980s. It was the first community-based residential facility for autistic kids in Illinois. The building was later converted to a private residence.

On July 8, 2010, the building was destroyed by a 3 a.m. fire. Police shortly afterward arrested a tenant, Frank Corduan, 47, a convicted sex offender, and charged him with arson. The building was in foreclosure and was owned by a Chicago resident, Chicos Viorel.

Corduan was convicted of arson and is serving a six-year sentence at the Illinois River Correctional Center. He is eligible for parole in July 2013.

In November 2010, the village bought the property from Deutsche Bank, for around $8,000.

Various proposals were floated for the building, including giving it — as is — to the Forest Park Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce or partnering with a "green technology" company to rehab the building into an alternate technology showroom.

Karen Childs, vice president of the Forest Park Public Library Board, requested it be razed and used for library parking.

Rehab estimates between $100,000 and $500,000 were reported by the Review in 2011. Meanwhile the building continued to deteriorate and the roof collapsed.

In Feb. 2012, Public Property Commissioner Chris Harris held a town hall meeting to discuss the building, as well as the village-owned property behind the Altenheim property.

At the meeting, Harris proposed a resident survey to ask Forest Parkers their ideas for the building. A survey of residents was proposed, but was delayed so it could be included in the village's request for proposals for the upcoming comprehensive plan.

In November 2012 Public Health and Safety Commissioner Rory Hoskins recommended that the building be torn down at a village council meeting. He said mold and debris damage would make the building uninhabitable and provided photos of the building's interior.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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