Photo by Dermot Connolly
The showroom of the Automotion factory at 5030 W. 111th St. in Oak Lawn is one of two company buildings purchased by the village with an eye toward building a senior living complex.
By Dermot Connolly
The village of Oak Lawn has purchased three pieces of property in recent weeks — two industrial properties and a house — with plans in the works for redevelopment.
Most recently, at the July 9 Village Board meeting, the trustees voted to approve the purchase of two related properties at 5030 W. 111th St. and 11000 S. Lavergne Ave. for a total of $2,699,000. The properties make up the Automotion complex, where conveyor belts are manufactured in the building on Lavergne. The building on 111th Street serves as a showroom for the company.
“Now is a good time to buy it,” said Trustee Tim Desmond (1st), noting that Daifuku, the parent company of Automotion, is moving its operations to Hobart, Ind.
Village Manager Larry Deetjen said the owner of the property now being leased to Daifuku has offered to sell the Lavergne property to the village and donate the property on 111thStreet.
Photo by Dermot Connolly
The Automotion factory at 11000 S. Lavergne Ave. in Oak Lawn was recently purchased by the village, which is working with a developer who wants to build a senior living complex.
The land that village officials described as “ripe for development” is adjacent to the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge located just west of the Stony Creek Promenade, where new restaurants and retail businesses are opening.
Deetjen said the board also agreed to enter into an exclusive development agreement with the Russell Group of Iowa to negotiate purchase price terms, development plans that include infrastructure, demolition, landscaping and open space for a senior living complex that is integrated into the Stony Creek Promenade.
Desmond said the developer has been given six months to come back to the board with a workable plan.
The properties are currently part of a TIF district that includes A&D Tile, 5000 W. 111th St., and the Park Lawn social service agency at 5040 W. 111th St. — both of which will be untouched by the planned redevelopment.
“It is really just in the concept stage now, but we all agree that this would be a good location for senior housing,” said Mayor Sandra Bury, pointing out that the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge is on the north side of the property, which would provide scenic views for residents. Also, being a short walk to the shopping and restaurants in the Stony Creek Promenade adjacent to it would be very convenient.
“We were really sad that the company decided to move out of state. This is just a reflection of the challenging time (for businesses) in Illinois,” said Bury. “Our goal is to create jobs, maybe even more than we are losing.”
“We think this is an ideal location for senior housing. Residents downsizing want to stay in Oak Lawn,” said the mayor, noting that condominiums are located to the west so it is a transitional area between the business district on Cicero Avenue and condos and townhomes farther west.
“We don’t have really any senior housing in Oak Lawn. We get proposals all the time from people wanting to build it in the downtown area along 95th Street, but we want to focus on dining and entertainment there, and make it more of a destination location. But 111th Street beside Wolfe Wildlife and Stony Creek is ideal,” said Desmond.
The other purchase made official at a special Village Board meeting held on June 25 was the purchase of a single-family home at 9740 S. 55th Ave. That block, which includes about four houses, backs up to the Public Works Department headquarters at 5550 W. 98th St., and the purchase was made with the intention of using the land to expand and consolidate the Public Works site.
“The homeowners approached us with the offer to sell,” said Bury.
The exact price of the sale was not immediately available. But the property was sold for its appraisal price, which was under $200,000.
“We would like to buy all the houses on that side of the street, but the residents would have to want to sell,” said the mayor,
“The Public Works Department really needs more space. They have to store vehicles at locations all over the village. They make it work but it makes (tasks) a lot more difficult than they should be,” said Bury.