The City of Oak Forest is buying up property that once served as a pizza restaurant as part of efforts to boost the city's business base.
The approved the purchase Tuesday of the former Numero Uno site at 15426 S. Cicero Ave. for $165,000. The action, according to officials, is the first step in improving the property in the hope a new business moves in.
For the past few months, the city has looked for ways to reinvest in the community, said Community Development Director Adam Dotson said. The recession has caused properties to "take a big hit."
"For the city, this is a great opportunity to show the business community as well as the surrounding area that we do believe Cicero Avenue has the opportunity to turn around," Dotson said.
The next step for the city is to make improvements to the property and sell to a new owner.
"The plan is to have control of the property so we can bring a business in that we feel is beneficial to the city," said City Administrator Troy Ishler.
A buyer has expressed interested but Ishler declined to identify who that was.
"It's all very tentative," he said.
Contractors are looking at the property and city officials are talking to architects about improving the site.
At one time, the pizza chain Numero Uno location was a thriving business on Cicero Avenue, officials said. Other restaurants occupied the building after Numero Uno closed.
Change in the use of the property over the years caused it to devalue, Dotson said.
On Tuesday, Dotson urged the council to continue looking for ways to interject into the business community to increase the property tax base.
"We not only need to start making decisions on the public side of the road but (also) some decisions on the private side of the road," Dotson said.
The measure was approved in a 6-0 vote. Fifth Ward Ald. Dan Ensing was absent from Tuesday's meeting.
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