3 Developments Taking Shape in River Forest
River Forest, a western suburb of Chicago, offers homes at a wide variety of price points. On Ashland Avenue, homebuyers can find a collection of upscale, million-dollar homes, but there are also more reasonably priced homes in neighborhoods like River Forest Garden and Edgewood Place. A number of new projects are coming to the suburb, including a mixed-use building with luxury residential units, a new tax increment financing (TIF) district, and a dockless bike-sharing program.
New Residential Development on Lake Street
Developer Sedgwick Properties has proposed a five-story, mixed-use development for the stretch of Lake Street between Lathrop and Ashland avenues, according to the Chicago Tribune. The project would feature 14,300 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 32 residential units. The units could cost between $599,900 and $1,399,000.
“These are high-end units that do not exist in River Forest and Oak Park. The units have direct, private elevator access within the units. We plan to bring in new [retail] tenants to rejuvenate, enrich and liven the area,” Eric Christman of Sedgwick told the Chicago Tribune.
Sedgwick has yet to receive approval from the village. The developer will need allowances to build more than 13 residential units and provide less than 87 parking spaces (Sedgwick has proposed 86 total spaces, with 54 for residents).
Some residents have expressed concerns over the design, density, and height of the building, as well as the traffic impact, according to the report.
The developer has reduced the height of the proposed building from 80 feet to 72 feet, according to another Chicago Tribune report. Sedgwick Properties is expected to soon provide a final plan for the development. Although the higher price of the units were a point of concern for some residents, it seems there’s a market for upscale condos in the suburb.
The report says the retail element of the project could feature a “fast-casual” restaurant and a bakery.
A North Avenue TIF District
A new TIF district could be coming to the North Avenue area between Harlem and Thatcher avenues in River Forest, according to the Chicago Tribune. If created, the equalized assessed value of properties within the TIF would be frozen for 23 years, and the tax revenue would go toward economic incentives for the area.
“It’s of strategic importance for the village in terms of redeveloping and reinforcing properties in the corridor. It’s not just about redevelopment projects. It’s about the reinforcement of existing properties,” Eric Palmer, a village administrator, told the Tribune. “The TIF is about creating another pot of money for the village to use to create opportunities.”
In July, River Forest held a public hearing to get feedback from residents. One resident urged the village to consider setting aside 20 percent of its residential units for affordable housing, according to the report.
“Households for those with moderate incomes are in short supply,” said resident Dan Lauber, according to the report. “I’d like to suggest if you really want to celebrate seniors, now is the time for the village to make a commitment to preserve affordable housing in the TIF district where much of the village’s affordable housing exists.”
Oak Park, River Forest’s next-door neighbor, ditched its Divvy bikes after a relatively short run. River Forest is now ready to give bike-sharing a try, but it won’t be with Divvy. A dockless bike-sharing program is rolling out in the suburb in partnership with HOPR and Bike and Roll Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Through the partnership, the Forest Preserves of Cook County will help give riders access to 500 dockless bikes at 50 sites. The sites are in River Forest and neighboring areas along places like the North Branch Trail, Lansing Woods, Whistler Woods, and Cermak Woods. Right now, about half of the proposed sites have bikes available for riders, the Tribune reports.
Riders can use the bikes through the HOPR app. A 30-minute ride will cost $2.50, while a $60 seasonal membership will buy 90 minutes of daily ride time through November 2018. Tour operator Bike and Roll Chicago will maintain the bikes.