Mohr Concrete and Drechsler site under contract

OPEDC confirmed buyers have submitted offers on the two large properties

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC) confirmed buyers have made offers on two prime parcels of Oak Park real estate. According to OPEDC Executive Director John Lynch, the site of former concrete company H.J. Mohr & Sons Co. and that of funeral home Drechsler Brown & Williams are under contract pending village approval of plans.

The "L"-shaped Mohr property, 3.29-acre plot of land represented by Realtor Peter Poulos, is located at the corner of Harlem Avenue and Garfield Street, taking up a whole block. It also includes a small area to the east of South Maple Avenue, which was once used to store concrete trucks.

Lynch said to expect the main site on Harlem Avenue to be used for retail. It is also possible that the secondary parcel could be proposed for residential use. Lynch hopes to see plans for the project this spring. 

Poulos said the developer hasn't shared their end use for the property with him, just concepts. 

"I can't disclose the developer's endgame, but it will obviously not be running a production facility," Poulos said. 

The property has been an industrial-use property since 1893.

"It's going to be some kind of commercial mixed use subject to the village of Oak Park's approval," Poulos said. "I guarantee you it's going to be a multi-story development just because of the purchase price we have."

The property was listed at almost $7 million dollars.

"To get their return on investment, they'd need to go multi-story," Poulos said.

Neither Lynch nor Poulos gave the name of the company that made the offer. Poulos did say the company has six different renderings of what they'd like to put there so far.

The large property is close to the Eisenhower Expressway and the Oak Park Blue Line CTA stop, making it a very exciting prospect for developers. 

"I talked to developers interested in car dealerships to a microbrewery to a hotel, condominium, retail development," Poulos said. "A lot of people have been interested in this site."

Poulos also said the property is interesting because of its association with Oak Park's history.

"The Mohr family owned it since 1893 and they supplied a lot of the building materials that went into building Oak Park and the Chicago suburbs," he said. 

According to Poulos, the Mohr family plans to work with the village to maintain some of the property's history. The developers agreed to incorporate the family's name somewhere on the property.

"It's kind of neat they want to leave their mark on stuff," he said,

The village can expect further housing in the downtown area of Oak Park with the potential sale of the Drechsler Brown & Williams property at 203 S. Marion St. 

According to OPEDC, the 34,000-square-foot property is under contract, again pending village approval, for residential use with the possibility of a very small retail unit at the corner of Marion and Pleasant Streets,

Again, Lynch would not divulge the name of the developer but did say that they are "known and respected" and have done other development projects in Oak Park. 

Lynch also said that the height and density of the development would be appropriate to the location and lower than the Lincoln Property Company's Eleven33 residential building located at Harlem Avenue and South Boulevard.

CBRE agents Matthew Ishikawa, Tom Svoboda and Derrick Almassy are representing the property but have yet to return Wednesday Journal's request for comment.

The property's current owners, Charles and Lynne Williams, announced their plans last November to sell the land, close the funeral home and retire.

The funeral home had been serving the families of Oak Park for over 139 years. 

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Reader Comments

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Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 14th, 2020 7:27 PM

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest CPA I am completely with you. What the problem is citizens do not understand what goes on and for a Village that some how declares each person an over educated person does not seem possible. Of course on the other side of that, there is also the meaning that education does not make a good business person. All it does is mean you were able to pass the tests and once you get out into the World of business, it becomes completely different. You are extremely knowledgeable in understanding the entire system of how it works and people can benefit themselves. I like the idea of the hotel. If the was really promoted to be the place to stay in Oak Park, it would be very popular

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest CPA  

Posted: February 14th, 2020 6:24 PM

Spending Problem OK Spending Problem ... Not A Tax Collecting Problem ... Mr. McCoy . Any development EXCEPT LARGE RETAIL will add Significantly to Village, Park, Schools, Library, County spending. The property tax will not cover the new spending which is being shifted to future taxpayers in the form of unfunded pension and health care costs. The Village Manager and the financial administrators for the other taxing bodies like to claim that a large development will bring in property tax ... while they pass on future pension and health costs after they have left. They also like to borrow long term debt to supply infrastructure improvements and remediation ... also passing that debt 30 years into the future. A large development helps the Village manager and development manager look good but saddles the residents with a crowded hostile environment and future debt. This is why families and low income renters are forced to move out of the Village. Do not buy the BS this helps the income statement. This kills the Balance Sheet. I have examined and processed deals with the richest companies in the area. The rich are not interested in poorly devised plans. The legal rich are not interested in this project.. Look for a lot line to lot line 20 story subpar building with UNNAMED financers. We as residents do not benefit from seedy back room deals that shade our skies and crowd our homes. This deal already smells. We must demand green space, parking and quality architecture. I would love to see a hotel. A hotel would collect more tax than government services spent. A hotel does not have permanent residents. A hotel collects hotel tax.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 13th, 2020 8:13 PM

Jennifer Malloy Quinlan It only seems fair that tax payers should clean up the location and provide incentives such as 20 years of not taxes paid on the property which will allow the developers to sell the property and the no paying taxes will be an incentive for the next investment group. It certainly is not the developers fault that the property needs to be cleaned up and we need the developments to lower taxes for future generations

Jennifer Malloy Quinlan  

Posted: February 13th, 2020 2:33 PM

Who will be responsible for remediation?

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: February 12th, 2020 3:46 PM

There should be no concern about the Village giving there okie dokie on any project so forward march developers as if you did not already know that

Nicholas Kalogeresis from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2020 9:58 PM

I'm sure Mr. Lynch wrapped up as a promise the certificate of appropriateness for demolition from the Historic Preservation Commission as part of the development deal for the Drechsler property. Nice back room dealing there Mr. Lynch.

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