Live the high life

Have a look inside Oak Park's new high-rise developments

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By Lacey Sikora

Contributing Reporter

Since 2016, downtown Oak Park has experienced a building boom. Four new apartment buildings have gone up in the area bounded by Harlem and Forest and Lake and South Boulevard. 

Ranging from 12 to 20 stories high, the new developments add a bit of height as well as 1,068 dwelling units to the village of roughly 52,200 inhabitants. As construction on the latest development, Albion, comes to a close, a glimpse inside the four buildings show us what this new cohort of renters is getting for their money in Oak Park.

The first building to rise above Lake Street was Vantage, a 21-story building at 150 Forest Ave. According to assistant community manager MacKenzie Bridge, the building opened to renters in 2016 and includes 270 apartments with five layouts: studios, one bedrooms, one bedrooms with dens, two bedrooms and two bedrooms plus den. 

Apartments in Vantage include in-unit washers and dryers, gas ranges, stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops. Select units have terraces or balconies.

In terms of amenities, the building has an outdoor community deck complete with three Weber grills, two fire pits and hammocks. The building is pet-friendly and has a pet washing area. 

The building fitness center includes a play area for children, and a parking spaces are available in the attached, covered garage. Bridge says the building, managed by Greystar, offers flexible lease terms between three and 15 months and that lease rates fluctuate based on the market and occupancy. 

According to Apartments.com, studios in the building currently rent from $1,313 and up per month. One-bedroom apartments are available for $1,731 to $2,496 and two bedrooms are available from $2,051 to $2,824.

Bridge touts the building's great location, which is in close proximity to the Metra and CTA and says that residents love having Cooper's Hawk restaurant in the building.

Next up, is The Emerson, which opened its doors in 2017. Located at 1135 Westgate St., The Emerson contains 270 units inside its 20-story frame. The Emerson offers studios, one bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with different floor plans to choose from. 

Units include ceramic-tile showers with frameless glass doors, stainless-steel appliances and luxury, wood-style flooring. According to Apartments.com, studios are currently available starting from $1,608 per month; one-bedrooms start at $1,905 and two-bedrooms rent from $2,745 to $3,372.

 The building is LEED Silver certified and boasts an outdoor, heated pool at the sixth level. Two outdoor roof decks offer grilling stations and fire bowls, and a premium gym is available for residents. 

The Emerson also has a Target Express in the building, a package concierge and a dry-cleaning valet. Located steps away from the Metra station, The Emerson also has indoor parking available and allows pets for additional fees.

Making its name easy to remember, Eleven33 is located at 1133 South Blvd. in Oak Park. With 263 units inside 12 stories, Eleven33 offers a variety of floor plans to choose from. The building includes 32 studios, 163 one-bedroom units, 65 two-bedroom apartments, and three three-bedroom units.

 Jenna Maffeo, business manager for Lincoln Property Company, says the building had its first tenant move in in February 2019. As of early October, she reported, "At this point, we are 54 percent occupied and 59 percent leased. It's very strong progress in that amount of time."

Maffeo also says that two of the three-bedroom units are currently leased, and that she sees a lot of interest in the building's studios and one bedrooms. She points out that there are 37 different floor plans in the building, with different characteristics and says that high-end touches like quartz waterfall islands and undermount lighting in the kitchens, along with gas cook tops and washers and dryers, make the unites feel luxurious.

In terms of amenities, Eleven33 offers a 24-hour fitness center with yoga and fitness studios, a parlor area with a pool table, two conference rooms, an indoor dog park with a rolling garage door to the outdoors, a pet wash station and indoor bicycle storage. 

Other add-ons include a fifth-floor outdoor social terrace and entertaining social club, which can be used to host community events or rented out by residents. A covered garage offers public parking and 262 spaces of nested residential parking are available for $125 per month per space. 

Eleven33 offer lease terms of three to 15 months. Studios range from 512 to 601 square feet and start at $1,639 per month. One-bedroom units range from 674 to 878 square feet and start at $1,804 per month. Two-bedroom units range from 1,030 to 1,220 square feet with rents from $2,659 and three-bedroom units are 1,500 square feet and rent from $5,949 per month. 

The newest building to open is Albion Oak Park, located directly across the street from Vantage at 1000 Lake St. Completed in August 2019, the 19-story building includes 265 units from studios up to three bedrooms, and offers garage parking for 204 vehicles. 

Studios rent from $1,495 and up; one bedrooms will run you $1,920 and up; two bedrooms are priced at $2,910 and up, and three-bedroom units start at $4,715 and run up to a top price of $5,450.

The LEED certified building offers a dog run and pet washing station, a pool, a 24/7 fitness station, indoor/outdoor yoga spaces and an onsite coffee bar. In the loft-style units, wood-look flooring, quartz counters and gas ranges are standard. Appliance packages are stainless steel or slate, and select units include front-loading washers and dryers and or private terraces.

In addition to the rental rates listed on apartment rental sites, many of the newer buildings offer online promotions or incentives to new renters. While subject to change, these promotions can offer the chance to save some money. 

Albion's publicity states that select units are eligible for one-month free rent. The Emerson also advertises one month free for signed leases. Eleven33 has advertised up to two months free rent on select units.

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Reader Comments

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Christine Vernon  

Posted: November 8th, 2019 2:30 PM

Tom MacMillan, blocking the sunlight to adjacent properties is an actual issue in America and the world and not so easily dismissed, as you do, by many others who feel it is question of their full enjoyment of their property, life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness. One of the features of a publicly owned park is that it is, usually, a place to connect with Nature. Blocking the sunlight interferes with that. It also affects the growth of trees and plants. Biology 101. https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2429&context=californialawreview Tommy McCoy, good points about this pro-development, pro-high-rise, pro-increasing Oak Park's density, article. It doesn't tell the whole story. As usual, so much reporting is done in the comments.

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: November 8th, 2019 2:13 PM

@Tom MacMillan. As to whether there has been or will be damage to the tress in Austin Gardens, remember two things. First, the building had to be redesigned to attempt to ameliorate that, with Trustee Deno Andrews coming up with that idea. Secondly, if damage is going to occur, it is probably too early to tell. These things can live over a hundred years, and they take a long time to die, and new ones take a long time to attempt to grow.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 10:15 PM

Tom MacMillan It's good to know you are paying attention to any possible loss of vegetation in Austin Gardens. You may want to map out the Park, and give an update every Season, with pictures and if possible, get some aerial photo's

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 8:43 PM

We heard about how this building was going to practically be a shade death machine killing off the vegetation in the park next door. The structure has been standing all this summer. Not seeing much shade damage, or was that all just hot air?

Kevin Peppard  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 8:23 PM

@Mark Graham; It is more likely that, rather than reduce taxes, the main taxing bodies (the schools, which are tax capped) will take advantage of this exception to Tax Caps, and take the fully allowed amount. The rationale will be that doing so will extend out when they will have to go for an operating referendum, which will be a large shock. Their backup argument will be that Tax Caps only allow CPI (Consumer Price Index) growth. Yet schools are labor-intensive, with few opportunities for significant cost reductions, and that compensation grows faster than the CPI. That happens in a society where the standard of living is increasing. As to the latter, however, compensation growth in recent experience has been slow or stagnant, after adjusting for the CPI. Perhaps D200 would make an exception, because of its absurdly high cash balance, but don't make book on it.

Mark Graham  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 7:12 PM

Oak Park has property reassessment in 2020 to apply to 2021 property taxes. Good to see these buildings are up and substantially occupied. Given this is equivalent to 1,000 houses of $250,000 or so in value, and this being five percent of total dwellings in Oak Park, and apartment buildings taxed at a higher rate than single homes, it should translate to a reduction in property taxes paid by homeowners. If that does not happen people should work for substantial change in village government.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 5:46 PM

Lacey Sikora Nice story and the pictures are nice, too. The story does not mention it is a sponsored story so in your reporting it does not mention anything about subsidized housing and the price range is a little out of some people's income for what they need in the way of room, although the incentive of a free month's rent may help get the high rises occupied

John Kehoe from Downers Grove  

Posted: November 7th, 2019 5:37 PM

This is one of the main reasons that after living in Oak Park for 45 years, with both of our daughters attending Lincoln and graduating from OPRF in 1991 & 1996 and still loving Oak Park for another 20 years, we felt forced to leave. The congestion and the ever increasing property taxes made it impossible for us to stay. We were promised reduced taxes from these high rises and all we received was more traffic and congestion. We are so glad to have finally seen the light. Good-bye Oak Park. It was good to have known you.

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