Des Plaines council agrees to sell downtown land to developer for just $10

With little public opposition, the Des Plaines City Council this week agreed to sell a downtown parking lot to a developer who wants to put up a seven-story apartment building.

The purchase price will be a mere $10 as long as Barrington-based Compasspoint Development, led by Joe Taylor, also purchases a neighboring building, razes it and creates a park that can be used by the public. The park would remain privately owned and maintained, however.

The proposed purchase price for the land at 1332 Webford Avenue had been $300,000 before the park plan became part of the negotiations. City officials want the park created at 1330 Webford, where the Dance Building now stands.

The Dance Building is privately owned by a limited liability company called Cloud4U, Cook County property records indicate. The site's value last was estimated at $350,000.

The 13,500-square-foot parking lot is just one of the parcels Compasspoint is acquiring for the project. Land on the 600 block of Graceland Avenue where the Journal & Topics Media Group operates also is part of the plan.

Compasspoint envisions 131 apartments, a restaurant and lounge, a rooftop swimming pool, a parking garage and other amenities.

Many residents in the neighborhood have opposed the proposal, citing concerns about traffic, safety and aesthetics. Critics of the plan filled the audience area at previous council meetings, but only a few showed up for Monday's sale vote.

One, Jim Hansen, called the inclusion of the park plan a "last-minute, desperate act" to seal the deal.

Alderman Sean Oskerka, whose 3rd Ward includes the site being eyed for the project, said he wants to meet with Taylor and neighborhood residents to discuss how the park should be developed. Taylor agreed.

Three council members - Carla Brookman, Colt Moylan and Patsy Smith - were absent Monday.

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