Kelmscott Park Breaks Ground

08 November 2016

Steve Sadin, Daily North Shore

Read the original article here.

LAKE FOREST — Lake Forest officials and representatives of the real estate and development communities broke ground November 3 on Kelmscott Park, which will add a mix of 165 new housing opportunities at the northwest corner of Laurel and Western Avenues.

The project will put 12 single family homes, 42 condominiumminiums and 111 rental apartments on the 10.5-acre site which once housed Lake Forest’s municipal services building, according to Tim Anderson, the CEO and owner of Focus Development, the project’s developer.

The seeds for the project were planted more than three years ago when the city asked developers to submit requests for proposal for the property. Focus competed with 11 other developers for the opportunity, according to Mayor Donald Schoenheider. He said Lake Forest had some specific goals.

“We were looking for a developer we could partner with,” said Schoenheider. “We had some very specific requirements. This will give us diversified housing that is something different from what we have. It also gets this property back on the tax rolls.”

Anderson said the opportunity to develop a 10-acre site bordering a vibrant suburban downtown was a unique opportunity his company could not pass up. He knew what he needed to do based on the city’s requirements.

“You are near the train station and downtown,” said Anderson. “This is one of the most vital suburban shopping districts in the country. It’s great for people walking and on bicycle.”

While the condominium and apartments will be ready for occupancy in spring or summer of 2018, Christine Kolb, Focus’ associate vice president for development, said the single-family homes will be built as they are sold.

The single-family homes will start at $1.485 million with three bedrooms and 3½ baths, according to Amy Corr, the managing broker of the Lake Forest @properties office. She said @properties will handle sales of the homes and condominiums.

Though the homes’ exteriors are prescribed, Corr said the interior is an open canvass for the buyer, with two basic formats. One model is very open while the other is more traditional. Both have first floor primary bedrooms.

“Buyers can add a bedroom or an office. They can virtually design their own interior,” said Corr. “People looking for this kind of quality know what they want.”

The condominiums will offer a greater range of price points and sizes, according to Corr. The cost will range from $645,000 to $1.675 million. The smallest unit will be 1,528 square feet with two bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms selling for $645,000. The largest has four bedrooms and 3½ baths along with an office. It is 3,799 square feet selling for $1.675 million.

The rental apartments range in size from 750 to 1,800 square feet spread over one-, two- and three-bedroom units. They will cost from $1,800 to $4,200. The RFP also required affordable housing stock, according to Schoenheider. Those units will rent from $900 to $1,200 a month.

One of the requirements of the RFP was the preservation of the heritage oak tree on the property. It is fenced off during construction to ensure nothing happens to what has become a symbol of Lake Forest for many.

Though the tree is not the model on the Lake Forest’s logo, City Manager Robert Kiely, Jr., said many people in town revere the tree.

“It’s not the logo because the logo is a clump of (Oak) trees,” Kiely said. “It’s been an icon for as long as I’ve been here.” He said he first started working for Lake Forest in 1979. “I hear from a lot of people who think it is the tree on our logo.”

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