Downtown Oak Park Holiday Inn Goes Ahead

It looks like downtown Oak Park will get this Holiday Inn Express and Suites after all. All of the village board members present at the January 10 meeting endorsed the project, asking staff to work with the neighboring condominium association to alleviate the Lake Street congestion. Administrator Arti Walker-Peddakotla was absent from the meeting.

“As much as possible, we will work on the challenges of the residents,” promised village president Vicki Scaman. “It really is inevitably us that you have to hold accountable for this, as the village council.”

The project initially received approval from the village council under then-mayor Anan Abu-Taleb in November 2019, but the ensuing pandemic delayed the project and the village’s approval expired.

Brothers and co-owners Azeem and Salim Hemani returned to the village with a revised plan to build the Holiday Inn at 1140 Lake St. This is the site of an office and retail building that will be expanded and converted into a hotel. . The project was reduced to 68 hotel rooms and a single additional floor, while the original provided for 97 hotel rooms and the addition of three additional floors to the existing 5-story structure.

The changes, which the Hemani brothers say will help alleviate traffic problems, convinced the zoning appeal board on December 1.

While village staff believe the adjacent Holley Court Garage has the capacity to house the approximately 45 additional vehicles the hotel is expected to generate, several residents of downtown Oak Park have consulted the public to advise the board of directors of the traffic problems they regularly face.

Commentators described the hassle caused by delivery trucks blocking Prairie Way, the driveway behind 1140 Lake St., as well as cars illegally parked outside businesses on Lake Street. Customers of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is located next to the Hemani building, are the main offenders, as they often double-park on Lake Street and block the Holley Court garage easement, according to association members. of neighboring condominium.

Customers of MedMen and Nando’s Peri-Peri restaurant, both located on the first floor of 1140 Lake St., are also contributing to the problem of illegal parking, and public commentators have expressed fears that traffic blockages will worsen with the The hotel, although it has on-site laundry and no restaurant, limited deliveries.

“I would specifically ask the board to cast a vote on this particular ordinance until the issues that have been raised… are dealt with comprehensively, so that we don’t have these horrible parking and parking issues. traffic, ”said resident John O’Rourke.

Tammie Grossman, the village staff member overseeing the development, however, informed the board that extending the approval in the interest of untangling traffic would likely complicate funding for the Holiday Inn project. And, despite the council’s empathetic vocalizations for the affected residents, O’Rourke did not achieve his wish.

Believing that the traffic problem remains a valid problem, but independent of the hotel because it predates the project, the village council asked the staff to seek a reasonable solution. The village council finally approved the Hemani brothers’ request for a special use permit for the construction of the hotel.

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