Two apartment buildings recently purchased by the city of Oak Forest are the first step in the city's broader plan to reestablish interest in the flagging area around the Oak Forest Metra station, officials told Patch.
The plan is designed to attract new businesses and residents, according to Director of Community Development, Adam Dotson.
“The city's intention is to improve the housing stock around the train station,” Dotson said.
During a Jan. 22 meeting, aldermen approved the purchase of a 16-unit building at 15659 S. Lamon Avenue and a 24-unit building at 4820 W. 157th Street for $475,000 and $744,000, respectively.
“Today, is the day that we've made the decision, or we will make a decision, whether to go one way or another, is to tell the investment community that we are looking for reinvestment,” Dotson said at the meeting. “The only way we're going to do that is that the city is going to start taking steps to show the investment community that we want change to happen, so we are successful in the future.”
Current tenants' leases will be honored by the city.
“There won't be any evictions going on,” he said. “It'll be based upon when their leases expire that they probably won't be renewed, depending on what the council wants to do for a length of time.”
The city will most likely secure the buildings once tenants are out and hold the property until firm plans are in place, he added.
Early discussions with Metra include possible additional parking, or more "quality rental housing" near the station.
“Obviously, the idea is to redevelop that corridor right there along 157th Street,” he said. “The main intent is to bring back some quality rental housing that everybody can be able to enjoy in the future.”
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