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Local News

Apartments, retail space planned for former La Grange YMCA site

LA GRANGE – A YMCA facility will not be part of a new development on the site of the former Rich Port YMCA at Ogden Avenue and La Grange Road. 

The YMCA of Metro Chicago announced Tuesday it accepted a roughly $9 million bid from Minneapolis-based Opus Development Company LLC for the property. Opus Vice President Jim Caesar said the company's plan includes a multi-family apartment building, retail space and a parking structure. But, a new YMCA facility will not be part of the deal.

"We kind of waited out the economy a little bit to see if things would get better … to see if we could raise the funds to build a YMCA on that corner," said Richard Malone, YMCA of Metro Chicago president and CEO, in a phone interview. "We're all very disappointed that that wasn't in the cards this time."

Some of the nine bids received included a new Y facility, but none of those offers were economically viable, Malone said. Even if they were, the facility would have only been 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, much smaller than the Y's goal of a 45,000 to 50,000 square-foot standalone facility, Malone said.

"We were hoping to see a creative solution, and while I think developers tried, obviously they have their own [requirements] to meet," Malone said.

The YMCA occupied a five-story building at 31 E. Ogden Ave. for nearly 60 years before leaving in 2008. The building was demolished in 2010, and the site has been vacant since. An effort to redevelop the property fell through during the recession that began in 2008.

The Y still operates a fitness center at 1100 E. 31st St. in La Grange Park that Malone said will remain open while future options are developed. The center's lease runs through 2015. 

"If conditions change in the future, we hope there would be options for a new Y facility [in the La Grange area]," Malone said.

Caesar said Opus still needs to finalize the transaction and meet with village staff before its able to reveal more details about its plans.

"We don't want to divulge any information until we meet with the village," Caesar said.

He said Opus wants to incorporate the community's vision into its plan, whenever it takes shape.

"It's a ways off, but we're starting with a lot of resources," said Caesar, who said the company has a few concepts in mind. "The Opus group is super excited. This is a gem of a site and a tremendous opportunity."

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