Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is Orland Park blowing its new downtown? The Main Street Triangle may just be a sliver

I think they might be. Reports are that the village has decided to put off any bids for a new developer to take on the $100 million project until the fall. Why, why, why?

Related Midwest, based in Chicago, had been chosen approximately three years ago by the village to develop the triangle, but pulled out of the project in April, [village development services director Karie Friling] says. The village had a request for proposals, which was initially due in May and then pushed back until last month. “We had suspended it before we received any bids,” she says. The village halted the request because many of the interested developers had questions that village officials could not answer yet, she says.
These questions are presumably about the fate of a pretty old shopping center at the corner of 143rd and LaGrange that have some tenants with long term leases. Ummm....how about, buy them out?? And after all these years, how can the Village not only not have answers but need months and months of time to figure them out? The problem is that this project will lose traction and die on the vine. With business slow, now is the time to try and get developers at least interested in the project. They have time to think this through.

Let's face it, folks: Naperville this isn't, nor will it ever be. And support seemed awfully tepid, unless it was just the weather. I was at the ribbon cutting a couple of weeks ago, and the crowd for the ceremony and concert was almost outnumbered by the politicians in attendance. I will say this: the train station is very nice. But the pavilion they built in front of it is not especially attractive with oversize columns and a just plain feeling of "Why did they put this here?" It reminded me a little of Soldier Field. Blair Kamin would have a field day with this. And by the way, if this was pavilion was meant for concerts and music, the acoustics are just awful.

So, you south suburbanites, if you are waiting for a nice mixed-use, transit oriented development to go or even to live, don't hold your breath.

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