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City Hires Developer to Scout Major Retailers for Oak Forest

The Oak Forest City Council agreed to a six-month contract with MidAm Development Properties, LLC, to fish for national retailers to bring to the city. The potential retail development would be located in the 5400 block of W. 159th Street.

The City of Oak Forest and MidAm Development Properties, LLC, came to an agreement Nov. 27, that could mean an overhaul for properties in the 5400 block of W. 159th Street. 

The agreement, which aldermen unanimously approved, sets a six-month timeframe for MidAm to solicit business to the site—which would ideally spark a chain reaction of development. 

“We're working with an accredited developer like MidAm, with their connections and their experience, I'm hoping they'll be able to market the city of Oak Forest in such a way that will truly bring retail to Oak Forest,” said Mayor Hank Kuspa. “We need retail.”

During a brief presentation to the city council, MidAm Development Properties co-founder David Bossy spoke about the company's proven track record, specifically referring to Home Depot and Jewel Osco stores in Homewood. 

“We work very, very well with municipalities,” he said. “Trying to understand their needs, working out a development agreement of that nature and then promoting them out and doing what we do.”

As for what might move into the location, commonly known as the Oak Fest site and church property, Bossy said he envisions a number of possibilities.

“We can do the best that we can do, we will market this property professionally,” Bossy said. “We will do our best to attract national credit tenants and put together a nice unified development.”

Likening the area to the intersection of159th and Harlem Avenue, Bossy said the site could be “a real quality neighborhood or community.

“Certain retailers are looking to populate the more densely populated area,” he said. “There's a whole group of commercial people who are looking to intercept the population in their bedroom communities. … It'll be a commercial development, based on my sense.”

Bossy added that the process should take six months and that he was hopeful to meet more businesses game for the opportunity, than not.

“We'll identify within six months, anybody and everybody that's interested,” he said. “That's what we do. We've got a 35-year history in the industry, we've known the heads of real estate for all of these companies on a first name basis. We can get some quick 'No's,' but hopefully some quick 'Yes's.'”

Bossy added that should retailers not be interested in the location, the possibility for a senior living facility, either assisted or unassisted, could also work at the location.

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Darnell November 28, 2012 at 01:13 PM
MMMMM? No mention of the $$$$$ amount thrown at this contract. It will be interesting to see what materializes in 6 months. Still no word on the Community Motors sight either! Or all the vacancies in Golfview or the Oak Forest Commons. Despite what is spoon fed thru the network media,,the economy is still in the tank. No one is going to build, small businesses are still collapsing and their is virtually no growth on their part. Just sayin!
Mike Ziak November 28, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Ummm, if we are hiring this company to attract retail, then why have we been paying Mr. Dotson for all these years to do something similar?
NANCY GRACE November 28, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Thought senior facility is being built on Harlem just north of 159th?
Dm November 28, 2012 at 03:49 PM
This sounds nice, but we have seen this same thing before. Look at 159th/ Cireco, the only store there is CVS. It's a ghost town. The downtown area has the closed down ACE hardware, the Closed down Mexican restaurant and if it wasn't for the nice cobble stone sidewalk and the nice vintage looking street lights, downtown Oak Forest is an eye sore. People talk about those apartments on 159th as an eye sore. Cicero Ave with its used car lots and vacant store isn't any better. The WHOLE town needs help to attract business. Not just the old church property on 159th,
Michael M. November 28, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I think this is a good idea. I especially like the fact that the contract is short term and allows the city to gauge the progress of MidAm; I would like for the contract amount to be published. Hopefully they can bring some business into the city; I would like to see this city succeed. I give kudos to the council for taking this positive step.
Jeff Graveline November 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Darnell, The contract amount wasn't discussed at the meeting. That is a very good question and I'm looking in to the matter. I'll have an answer for you as soon as possible. Thanks for the feed back. - Jeff Graveline Oak Forest Patch
Jeff Graveline November 28, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Following up for everyone, I just got off the phone with Adam Dotson. The there is no payment being made to MidAm by the city. This is what Mr. Dotson called, a "preliminary development agreement." Basically, MidAm is looking for retailers to bring to Oak Forest. Should they find one, two or several, the next step is a redevelopment agreement on the land between MidAm and the city. MidAm would then purchase the land from the city for roughly $1.2 million and begin development. Thanks for the questions. - Jeff Graveline Oak Forest
Mike Fangman November 28, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Darnell is just a wacko conspiracy theorist. I would say it's Ivent's new moniker, but the grammar is better and there are no mentions of the Illuminati :D.
Tired of the B.S. November 28, 2012 at 09:40 PM
APPLAUSE!!!
Bob Laird November 29, 2012 at 02:28 PM
It's a darn shame, but Oak Forest and any community in our area is doomed. Toni the taxer and Quinn the queen have removed any incentive for any business to start up in Illinois. If I were to start a business it sure wouldn't be here.
Hamish November 29, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Awww come on... this is a waste of money since Hank already donated that ($1,000,000.00)building already.
Michael M. November 30, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Donated what building?
Mike Ziak November 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Michael, read this. http://oakforest.patch.com/articles/gigi-s-playhouse-oak-forest-eyes-opening
Michael M. November 30, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hmmm, I wasn't aware of that. Even though it is for a good cause, it should have gone through the city council and made clear that it was temporary.
Tired of the B.S. November 30, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I can here the sales pitch now........... Hello, I am Joe from MidAm Development Properties and we have a great property you might be interested in. It is located in the 5400 block of W. 159th Street in Oak Forest. Once we have evicted Gigi's Playhouse, it will be ready for development. What is Gigi's Playhouse, you ask? It is a business designed to help educate and enrich the lives of children and adults with Down Syndrome. GiGi's Playhouse offers classes, activities and physical therapy free of charge to guests, with all costs paid through fundraising and donations. Hello? Hello?

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