Kadner: Orland Park’s Ninety 7 Fifty to open
By Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org April 24, 2013 10:14PM
Chris Kirles, V.P. Flaherty & Collins Properties, points out where the pool will be as he walks through the aqua lounge area at the Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park apartment complex in Orland Park, Illinois, Wednesday, April 24, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 28, 2013 7:46PM
Ninety 7 Fifty on the Park, the luxury apartment complex that sparked a controversy in Orland Park, will open to receive its first tenants on Friday.
I received a guided tour of the place Wednesday from Chris Kirles, a vice president for developer Flaherty & Collins Properties, of Indianapolis.
It’s distinctively upscale, and unlike anything else I’m aware of in the Southland.
Rents start at $1,325 a month for a 756-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment and increase to $2,400 a month for the two-bedroom unit with a den — a duplex-style apartment that occupies two floors and 1,512 square feet of space.
Are they worth the money?
Each apartment is equipped with granite countertops in the kitchen, maple cabinets with a wine rack, wood-style floors, a stackable washer and dryer, custom-framed vanity mirrors and an oversized bathtub.
But those aren’t really the top selling points.
Located near the Metra station at 143rd Street and LaGrange Road, the building offers amenities not often found in Southland apartment buildings.
There’s a large exercise room on the first floor, equipped with lots of treadmills and weight machines and large-screen TVs. Above that room, there is a Pilates/yoga studio featuring large mirrors on two sides.
There will be an outdoor swimming pool in a courtyard and an spacious “aqua lounge” inside that features a full bar, microwave oven, fireplace, small circular tables and other seating areas where residents can gather and talk or take advantage of the pool deck outside to sun themselves.
There’s also an area for indoor shuffleboard. The aqua lounge opens to a screening room at one end with a large-screen TV, several overstuffed chairs and a couple of tables. A divider can shut the screening room off from the rest of the lounge if residents want to rent the space for a private party.
On the second floor, there’s an elounge with four computers and a conference room nearby, also equipped with a large-screen TV. All the community areas have wireless connectivity.
There’s a small area for a dog park outside, and the courtyards will eventually have fire pits and fountains.
Most of the landscaping has yet to be finished, as well as most of the apartments.
About 16 tenants are expected to move in starting Friday and through the weekend, and as many as 64 units will be available for occupancy by the end of the month.
Over the next four months, Kirles said he expects 50 apartments to be ready for occupancy each month. Eighty-two units have been pre-leased, which Kirles termed “exceptional” because those deals were made from November to March, usually the slowest time of the year for apartment leasing.
What folks in Orland Park are worried about is the village’s investment in the project. It took out a $38 million loan and is providing another $24 million in financial incentives. The developer was asked to invest only $2 million upfront.
The extent of the village’s financing seemed unprecedented in September 2011, when angry residents at meetings demanded an explanation from village officials.
Mayor Dan McLaughlin and the village board are gambling that Ninety 7 Fifty will be the linchpin for a redevelopment project surrounding the Metra station. The idea is to create a downtown area that will include upscale shops, restaurants and residences.
Originally conceived as a townhouse development, that concept fell through when the economy and housing market collapsed.
But marketing studies revealed pent-up demand for luxury apartments throughout the suburbs, according to village officials. With private loan money hard to come by, Orland Park decided to finance the project.
I have to say that the building looks even better than the conceptual drawings, which is rare. It is six stores high on the north end facing the Metra station, and three stories toward 143rd Street on the south.
There is retail space on the first floor, and Amano Vivero Cafe, a small coffee shop that will sell paintings by local artists, is leasing part of that space, although the business is not yet open. Kirles told me the owner is an Orland Park resident.
There is a larger retail space that Kirles hopes to lease to a specialty restaurant.
“This is a unique opportunity for people who want access to public transit, like to ride their bikes or jog through the community, take advantage of the park (which is part of the redeveloped area) and utilize all the shops and other amenities available to Orland Park residents,” Kirles said.
There’s a large, unobtrusive parking garage for residents that contains about 20 spaces for the public, and there are another 30 public spaces outside the building.
But there are plenty of extra costs for tenants. They will pay all utilities, including gas, electric, water, sewer and trash.
While up to two pets are allowed (maximum total weight of 50 pounds), there is a $350 nonrefundable pet registration fee and a monthly fee of $20 a month per pet.
In lieu of a security deposit, there’s a $500 administration fee and $250 application fee, both nonrefundable. All residents are required to obtain renter insurance with a minimum of $100,000 liability coverage,
“We’re getting tenants not just from Orland Park, but from downtown Chicago, the north side of the city and suburbs throughout Cook County,” Kirles boasted, although he could not provide specific numbers. “We have everything from a couple in their 60s who sold their home to single, young professionals who are 28.”
It’s still early, but the building’s looking pretty good.