By Nona Tepper
Chicago White Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf wants to invest in Forest Park.
The Northbrook-based Madison Avenue Real Estate Group, which is managed by Reinsdorf and his longtime business partner Robert Judelson, aims to build a four-story commercial and residential building at the old Brian Boru Irish Pub site, 7652 W. Madison St., on the lots between Dunkin Donuts and Mugsy's.
The proposed plans have been approved by the Forest Park Zoning Board of Appeals and were recently approved by the Planning Commission on April 2. The last step, which separates Madison Avenue Real Estate's mixed-use dreams from reality, will take place at the next village council meeting on April 23 when council members vote on whether to approve the group's building plans.
"It has two sets of approvals behind it," Steve Glinke, head of the Department of Public Health, said about the group's chances of acceptance.
If the council approves the application, Reinsdorf would then move to buy 7652 W. Madison St. from GRP Madison LLC, which includes Robert Palley, the developer behind the River Forest townhomes that replaced the old Hines Lumber site at 7820 Madison St.
Brian Boru's 18,750-square-foot parcel is listed for $724,999 on Redfin, which notes "the seller has accepted an offer." That's nearly 20 percent less than the original November 2016 asking price of $899,900 listed on Redfin.
"I think from the time of council passage, we'd be looking at potentially 4-6 weeks before there's a shovel in the ground," Glinke said. "Depends on how quickly they can close" and sell the property.
Reinsdorf's company hopes to build a four-story building with commercial space on the bottom floor and 36 apartment units on the ascending three. Balconies will accompany apartments, and bike racks will be incorporated into the final design. Forty enclosed parking spaces will also be featured on the ground floor. Michigan Avenue Real Estate did not respond to an interview request on why they're hoping to build in Forest Park.
Glinke credits high-profile investor interest to the village's lot size, low price point compared to some neighboring communities, access to public transportation and proximity to the city.
"It's a quick trip downtown, it's mass-transit friendly, there's a lot of reasons, it has a lot of advantages," Glinke said.
Brian Boru, an Irish pub and eatery named after an 11th-century Irish king, closed in April 2016, less than one year after it opened. Glinke believes River Forest's parking permit requirement on the 100 block of Ashland Avenue hurt the business' event space business.
"It had some impact," he said.
Brian Boru succeeded Molly Malone's, which closed in October 2014 after 12 years operating in Forest Park. Molly Malone's was famous for its traditional Irish music jam sessions.