Oak Forest moves on Cicero Avenue development
BY SARAH ZAVALA Correspondent May 29, 2012 7:36PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 9:56AM
If Oak Forest community development director Adam Dotson is right, city officials did more last week than approve a property purchase. They also sent a message.
Aldermen voted unanimously to buy the property at 15426 S. Cicero Ave., the former home to Chicago’s House of Brews, Numero Uno restaurant and other businesses.
“This is a great opportunity to show the business community as well as the surrounding area that we believe Cicero Avenue has the opportunity to turn around,” Dotson said.
Dotson said the bank contacted Oak Forest about buying the 45,000-square-foot property, which includes 150 feet of frontage along Cicero Avenue. The property will cost the city $165,000.
Ald. Dan Ensing, who was unable to attend the city council meeting, wrote in an email, “We have an opportunity to reinvest in this town and rebuild a vacant property that will generate retail taxes and general property tax relief.
“Now is a perfect time,” Ensing wrote. “We have to show the existing business community that we support them.”
Because of the economic downturn, “a lot of our properties have taken a big hit,” Dotson said.
Oak Forest officials hope the deal persuades businesses to invest in redevelopment of their own properties, he said.
Dotson said the city won’t formulate specific plans for the site until the building is inspected and the potential cost to make improvements is determined. The city might tear the building down if a makeover is too costly.
City officials expect to close on the deal in mid-June.
“It’s a decision to invest back into the community,” Ald. Laura Clemons said.