A developer has withdrawn a proposal to build a strip mall at the northwest corner of Harlem and Madison in Forest Park that would have included a Starbucks coffee shop and a Medspring Urgent Care facility.
David King, who brokered the deal to attract the two businesses to the corner, which currently is a vacant parcel, said he already has put the 20,000-square-foot-plus property back on the market.
“The discussion with the village of Forest Park from day one was: “Is this a Madison Street property or a Harlem Avenue property?” King said in a telephone interview.
One of the sticking points with the proposal by Midwest Property Group Ltd. was the drive-thru window at the proposed Starbucks, which aimed to capture the business of some 35,000 motorists who pass by daily on Harlem Avenue, King said.
He noted, however, that Starbucks projected that 70 percent of its business would be between 6 and 9 a.m.
“Medspring does not open until 9 a.m.,” King said. “We thought it was a good fit in terms of the number of cars and traffic, and Starbucks thought it was a good. Medspring thought it was good. It didn’t conflict, so we thought we had a good fit in the type of tenancy we brought in.”
King said he and developers have spent about two years working on the project and performed several traffic studies trying to configure the proposed 5,445-square-foot building, 20-car parking lot and drive-thru in a way that appeased Forest Park village officials.
He believes the village wants to put in a larger, mixed-use residential building at the location that could serve as the eastern anchor of Forest Park’s downtown business district.
“They’re looking for a bigger building with more density,” he said.
Neither Forest Park Mayor Tony Calderone nor Village Administrator Timothy Gillian returned calls requesting an interview.
King noted that a developer could build a 27,000-square-foot building at the site without needing a zoning variance from the village. He is currently marketing the property to developers interested in a larger structure.
Although plans for the development were unsuccessful, King said he is “excited about what’s happening in the overall marketplace.”
“The real estate market in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park couldn’t be stronger,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the real estate business. Something will happen at Harlem and Madison.”