Delayed redevelopment may start in Tinley Park
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org February 25, 2014 7:44PM
A rendering of the proposed Boulevard at Central Station apartment building in Tinley Park. | Supplied photo
Updated: February 26, 2014 2:12AM
Construction of a long-awaited retail and apartment redevelopment in downtown Tinley Park could get underway in the spring.
Developer Bob Hansen is working to sew up financing for his Boulevard at Central Station, which will include 167 apartments and businesses, such as restaurants, at street level, according to his lawyer, David Sosin. He said Hansen is “finalizing his deal, more or less,” and anticipates breaking ground soon.
The five-story Boulevard building is planned for a triangular piece of land at South Street and 67th Court, directly south of the Oak Park Avenue Metra station.
First approved in summer 2012, the project has languished, in part because of tight lending restrictions on commercial projects.
Although similar in some respects to the 295-unit Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park apartment building in Orland Park, that project was largely financed by that village.
Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said village officials have been kept updated on efforts by Hansen to nail down financing, and that “it looks good.”
Sosin said that as restrictive lending practices have begun easing, financing options for Hansen have broadened.
“There are a lot more people lending (now) than there were even a year ago,” he said.
While the village is offering minimal-risk financial incentives to help the project along, Tinley Park officials didn’t want to take a larger role in helping pay for the
$35 million project. Zabrocki said the village was asked to serve as guarantor on a loan but refused.
“We do not want to put the taxpayers at risk,” he said. “If the project failed, the village would be on the hook, and we would not do it.”
Hansen and Sosin are confident that Boulevard will appeal to young professionals who commute downtown on Metra’s Rock Island Line as well as to more affluent empty nesters. Sosin said the project also reflects the growing trend in housing toward apartments, as demand for owner-occupied homes is still recovering.
“The market for apartments has continued to improve from good to excellent,” he said.
He noted the high demand for the Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park apartments, with additional apartments planned at a separate, and nearby, Orland Park development that was recently approved.
Ninety 7 Fifty was originally envisioned to be condominiums before demand for condos dried up. On the Boulevard property, Tinley Park officials in 2007 gave a tentative nod to Hansen’s original idea to construct townhouses there.
Tinley Park has the option to direct the developer to convert the apartments into condominiums if market conditions deem that to be more lucrative.
The Boulevard at Central Station would offer a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments — with rents for one-bedroom units ranging from $1,100 to $1,260 and two-bedroom units between $1,550 and $1,650. It’s anticipated that it will take 18 months to complete the building.
It’s not the first project in Tinley Park where Hansen has combined housing and retail in one building. He also developed Tinley Pointe, on 183rd Street just east of Harlem Avenue, and Tinley Park Place, at 173rd Street and Oak Park Avenue.
The Boulevard property is located in a special taxing district that offers substantial tax breaks to encourage redevelopment. The village will split with Hansen the higher property tax revenue from the redevelopment, to a maximum of $3.77 million. He and Tinley Park also will share the sales tax income, up to $324,000 over 10 years.
The village has also committed to spending $2 million on street improvements around the building.
North of the Metra station, along North Street, another redevelopment was to feature condominiums and a movie theater. Zabrocki said the village has seen “nothing solid” recently concerning plans for that property.