Eminent domain OK'd for Uptown development
Park Ridge (IL) Herald-Advocate, 10/7/04

By Jennifer Johnson

Uptown redevelopment took another step forward Monday night when the Park Ridge City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to use its power of eminent domain to acquire a so-called "integral" piece of property.

The property is located at the southeast corner of Northwest Highway and Meacham at 142 N. Northwest Hwy. It consists of several first floor store fronts with residential units above.

The Happy House Restaurant, one of the last remaining businesses, is still open, and there are about six or seven residential tenants still living there, said Park Ridge City Manager Tim Schuenke.

Schuenke said the city has been in negotiations with the owner of the building for "roughly one year." He called the talks "amicable," and said the city is interested in coming to an agreement with the owner, rather than proceeding to trial where a judge or jury decides the value of the property.

"In the interim and throughout the process, we will continue to negotiate in order to arrive at a voluntary settlement," Schuenke said.

The eminent domain process could take as long as two years if a case goes to court, Schuenke said. Now that the City Council has authorized the city to use eminent domain, the city attorney will file the motion with the Cook County Circuit Court.

The 142 N. Northwest building is part of Uptown redevelopment's Target Area II, which is bordered by Northwest Highway, Touhy and Meacham.

Also on Monday night, the City Council approved a 30-day extension on negotiations between the city and PRC Developers.

PRC is will be redeveloping Target Area II, and Schuenke said a redevelopment agreement will be ready and presented to the City Council at the Nov. 1 meeting. The City Council could vote on whether to approve the agreement on Nov. 15.

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