By Bob Uphues
A Harlem Avenue commercial property purchased in May by the village of Riverside will be ready for redevelopment by early fall after the village board awarded contracts that will result in the building being razed.
At their meeting July 6, village trustees voted 6-0 to award three contracts totaling $81,210 related to the demolition of the former Riverside Cleaners, 2710 Harlem Ave., which is part of a new business district created by Riverside's village board earlier this year to help spur redevelopment along Harlem Avenue between Berkeley and Longcommon roads.
The figure does not include expenses related to removing soil contaminated by dry-cleaning chemicals, found on the site prior to the village buying the property. The estimate for soil remediation is $50,000.
Riverside paid $78,425 for the property, which sits between two other commercial properties in the 2700 block of Harlem Avenue.
One of those properties, a strip mall at 2720 Harlem Ave., was purchased last year by a dentist, who spruced up the exterior of the building, installed a new parking lot, located a family dental office there, and is seeking tenants for two other commercial storefronts.
The other property, 2704 Harlem Ave., is a vacant building that most recently housed a title loan business. By owning the property in the middle, village officials hope they can help guide development there.
On Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, the village board will conduct a public hearing prior to voting to impose a 1 percent sales tax within the business district. Funds collected from the tax can be used for various development-related purposes within the business district.
At the July 6 village board meeting, trustees voted to award a $46,000 contract to Deigan and Associates to oversee and manage contractors hired to perform asbestos abatement and demolition of the dry cleaners.
Deigan and Associates had been the company the village hired last year to analyze the site prior to the purchase. The company found that the ground was contaminated by dry-cleaning chemicals to a depth of up to 16 feet on the south side of the building.
That discovery slowed down the sale of the property as the village negotiated with the owner to lower the original $150,000 purchase price.
Village trustees also awarded a $10,900 asbestos abatement contract to Cove Remediation LLC and a $24,310 demolition contract to KLF Enterprises Inc.
According to Gary Deigan, owner of Deigan and Associates, asbestos abatement inside of the former dry cleaner is set to start July 24 and should take about a week to complete.
The demolition firm ought to have a permit from Cook County by mid-August, Deigan said, noting that soil removal will follow demolition in the first part of September, an effort that will take a couple of weeks to complete.
"After that, it will be backfilled and ready for development," Deigan said.