THE LANDMARK VIEW
Back in 2007 as the fates were poised to prick the real estate bubble once and for all, the owner of the Arcade Building – then known only as Don Price, president of the Wexford Development Group – was frantically trying to light a fire under the village to get his renovation of the local landmark under way.
Since 2005, the village began to see the corner cutting on the project. First a condo addition was dropped. Then changes were made in the way the building was going to be marketed.
In a last ditch effort to get the building renovated and out of their hands, Price approached the Preservation Commission with a renovation plan and subsequently asked the village’s support for a Cook County Class L designation, which would have also granted the company some tax breaks.
The village did support that request, as did this newspaper, largely because the designation required the owner to follow strict guidelines for that renovation. The renovations never really got off the ground and in 2008, Wexford’s very existence came to a crashing end.
Part of a company called Wextrust Capital, Wexford was a subsidiary company created to help allegedly perpetrate a complicated Ponzi scheme upon investors. In this case, Riverside’s slowness to act on a renovation of a historic building may have wound up saving it.
While two winters’ worth of uncertainty didn’t exactly look like a promising future, the Arcade Building looks to be on the brink of a complete exterior restoration.
Last week the village board again backed a request by the building’s prospective owner, Giuseppe Zappani, that the village support a Class L designation for the building.
And, again, we are happy to urge Cook County to do just that. The real estate closing is tentatively set for July. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and, knowing that, Riverside is right to act quickly to help the Arcade’s new owner write a new chapter in the building’s history.
Not decline, change
The drama surrounding the forced retirement of Riverside-Brookfield High School football coach Otto Zeman has been one in which battle lines were clearly drawn. Vociferous criticism of the longtime coach and athletic director was met by praise for Zeman and equally vociferous criticism of his detractors.
But, lost in all of this is something that’s equally clear to us. RB is changing. It’s inescapable. On July 1, the district’s interim superintendent will be joined by a new principal and a new athletic director.
Some teachers and administrators are leaving for other jobs, perhaps unhappy with the changes taking place, perhaps not. In the long run that’s irrelevant. Change is going to happen. In the case of RB, it didn’t take many tea leaf-reading skills to figure out what was coming.
Did RB lose some good teachers and administrators in the change? Sure. There are other good people who will take their place. This isn’t the decline of RB, it’s a change. That’s all.