More than a year after receiving the green light from the Brookfield Village Board to build a nine-unit apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave., the development is in limbo and the developer has not been able to secure a construction loan for the project.
Michael Gatto, vice president of RMG Realty Group, told the Landmark on July 13 that he was ready to break ground last fall before cold weather derailed construction. By spring, he said, the company wanted to get a new market study which delayed work again.
Construction fencing, which went up around the vacant property last fall, has since been removed and there has been little activity at the site.
Nicholas Griefer, the village of Brookfield’s director of community and economic development, said he and Village Manager Keith Sbiral met with Gatto in the spring and again in June. According to Griefer, Gatto “is still actively working on the project.”
Gatto told the Landmark that his company was in the process of closing on the terms of a loan and that he hoped to break ground on the project by the end of the summer.
In order to do so, he had to file for a six-month extension on the building permit the village had approved last year. According to Griefer, the company cannot file for another extension. The permit now expires sometime in December.
While Gatto continues to work on financing for the apartment project, he also said he’s been talking with someone who has expressed interest in purchasing the property, along with the village’s development approvals, from RMG Realty Group. A corporation associated with Gatto purchased the 75-foot wide, bank-owned Fairview Avenue lot in December 2013 for $123,000.
“We do have a party interested in taking over the deal,” Gatto said.
On May 27, 2014, the Brookfield Village Board voted unanimously to approve the final planned development submitted by RMG Realty, calling for construction of a three-story, nine-unit brick apartment building.
Six of the units were two-bedroom; the remaining three were one-bedroom units. Gatto, who told the Landmark last year that he planned to live in one of the apartments, said the building would be marketed to upscale young professionals looking for convenient access to the Metra commuter train line.
The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission was not as enthusiastic as the village board about the plan. The commission deadlocked at 3-3 in its vote to approve the final planned development.
Some commissioners were critical of the project’s design, construction materials and placement of the building on the lot.
However, village trustees and people living in nearby residences said they were fine with the plan. One resident last year remarked that an apartment building was preferable to any number of structures or uses that are allowed under the village’s zoning code — from a parking garage to a liquor store — for that location.