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City of Oak Forest Buys Old Numero Uno

Officials say the plan is to buy the property and sell it to a new business after some improvements are made.

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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Julia May 25, 2012 at 01:32 PM
That building should be torn down! it has been falling apart since it was the mexican restaurant before the brewery...what a terrible investment!!
Tom O May 25, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I think its a good idea. It's a run down property that probably needs to be torn down. Hopefully they wont screw it up like they did with the train station property. Don't have a lot of faith in OF City Council..
phxdr May 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Tom- If you think this is such a good idea you should pay for it! I am sick of OF making stupid decisions with our tax money while they keep asking for more. DON'T SOME OF YOU SEE? You have been buffooned by this council year after year...they are like glorified used car dealers. Oak Forest is broke...so they raise property taxes 3 years in a row. This while they buy a church, give tax breaks to 2 businesses and give money away on other things like business building appearance (something that a business should take care of). They raise the sales tax to one of the highest in the area...now we know in part where this money is going. Some of you need to wake up in town. How much longer are you going to let these people do damage to this town?
Tom O May 25, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I dont disagree with you at all that's why I said in my post about how I dont have a lot of faith in the city council,(not sure if you read that part instead of just attacking my post) but I would rather them buy the building and rehab it with the possibility of them selling it at hopefully a profit and/or have a succesfull business operate there for many years then to let it sit and have the street look like a ghetto. My point was something needed to be done.
phxdr May 25, 2012 at 05:52 PM
"My point was something needed to be done." So in other words if the city buys it and makes the option to put 100 rounds of machine gun fire into it will be ok in your book because "something needed to be done"? You don't get it. Oak Forest has no business buying and selling properties as it is risky and NOT the job of municipality! OF can barely handle the basic things that a town government can do let alone get in the real estate business. Where is this going to end? Ace Hardware if vacant. Community Pontiac is vacant. PNC Bank is vacant. Where? How much money is the city going to invest in this property and are they sure they will get back what they put in it? You understand they are gambling with your money. These are people who think they are smarter then the average taxpayer (and in so many regards they are because some of you keep re-electing them in and supporting them).
Tom O May 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Can't wait to see phxdr on the next election. You seem to have all the answers. Let me suggest your campaign slogan. Vote for phxdr becasue I'm smart and your dumb. This is suppose to be a place to talk about the topic not to get attacked for having a different opinion. I have learned my lesson..
phxdr May 25, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I am not attacking you. Just doing "anything" is not always the best solution. I have no interest to run in oak forest for Mayor or Alderman because I still have my values and integrity.
Tom O May 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Maybe thats what the City needs... Somebody to run with values and integrity...
Nick Swedberg (Editor) May 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I'd like to thank everyone for remembering that conversation here should remain civil and constructive. Everyone is welcome to express an opinion on Patch so long as they do not violate our Terms of Use. Thank you!
phxdr May 25, 2012 at 07:04 PM
You would think. There have been some Aldermen in the past that have tried shaking some things up. There were a lot of fights and arguments. But as it stands now most of the council are all on the same page as if it was one big happy family. I can speak for my own Alderman in emails who has stated in so many words that high taxes are good for a town. They keep property values high according to him. This is not true for a blue collar town like Oak Forest and will only result in a exodus of the hardworking people bring property values down and not up. The point is I don't know if they really think they are doing good for the taxpayers of OF or if something else is going on. I do know that I do NOT trust these people who are suppose to work for the residents any further then I can throw them. Could they make a profit off of this deal? Maybe. Could they lose big off of it like they have a history of? Yea. That is the thing that should scare everyone. Futher they cry they are broke and raise sales taxes which is a issue for incomming businesses! They cry poor mouth raise taxes and then after they are raised say "we just spent 165K for a building in a real estate gamble with your tax money". They have shown time and again they have no values or integrity.
Rizzo May 25, 2012 at 09:03 PM
The worst property in Oak Forest are the apartments on both sides of 159th st. by the railroad tracks. The city should buy those and wreck them down as they are the biggest eyesore and problem in Oak Forest. Most of the paramedic and police calls are from those buildings. In addition, the trailer park on 159th st. looks mighty ghetto. If both of those properties were gone, even if they were not replaced and were vacant land, the city would look so much better, and might even attract new commercial businesses. A purchase of these properties would be an investment and huge leap forward for the city.
Rommazontz May 25, 2012 at 09:36 PM
The city has no business investing in this property. It should have gone to public auction. The bank should take it's losses, not the tax pagers of Oak Forest. This property has two underlying problems that make it an undesirable business location: the building design dooms it to be a Mexican restaurant, and the slope of the property. The property should be torn down, re-zoned as residential/retail and sold to a developer. A combination condo/retail building could possibly contend with the property slope and be an acceptable alternative to the many doomed businesses this property would otherwise have in it's future. Even if sold to a developer at a loss, it could still have a decent return on it's investment thru additional property and sales taxes. Oak Forest needs to turn the entire strip into residential retail with an city walk. Turn the ace hardware into a courtyard/park and let the free market system attract investments. The city couldn't run a hot dog stand.
Happy Camper May 25, 2012 at 09:55 PM
They need to buy ALL the properties from 151st to Blarney Stone Pub and develop it into one cohesive property with Full Serv Auto the anchor on one end and the pub at the other instead of the piecemeal small frontage lots that plague OF.
Michael M. June 03, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Happy Camper, when would you like them to buy your property? Maybe they will deem that your property is piecemeal and tell you what to do with it. Property rights is the issue. If i wanted to invest in that property I would do it through a developer or a venture capitalist, but it would be my choice. The city has now FORCED me and you to invest in it, after all the money does belong to the citizens of OF, not the city council or the mayor.

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