Chicago Tribune, December 5, 2014
Suburbs that have long thought of themselves as bucolic communities filled with houses and families are warmly embracing the very type of residence that used to make them leery: the apartment.
Orland Park is frequently mentioned by officials from other suburbs as one to emulate. The closest thing the village, 37 miles southwest of Chicago, had to a downtown was Orland Square Mall. So two decades ago the village started envisioning the creation of one.
It began assembling property and created a TIF district near a Metra station near 143rd Street and La Grange Road. It selected a condominium developer for one parcel, but then the housing market collapsed. The village has shifted gears to apartments and hired consultants to complete market studies to determine whether the community could support the large projects that most developers say they need to build to make the numbers work.
Today, residents at Ninety7Fifty only have to walk across the street to hop on the train. Another company, REVA Development Partners, broke ground this fall on a 231-unit luxury development. The University of Chicago will break ground next year on a 120,000-square-foot medical office building nearby and a Mariano’s Fresh Market is under construction next to REVA’s site.
“Everything is panning out better than we ever hoped,” said Karie Friling , Orland Park’s director of development services. “Most of our suburbs, when they think about rental, think it’s just a building with a bunch of units. We wanted it to be a way of life. We knew we had to have the amenities. People would pay and want to live there. It’s resort-style luxury living.”