by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Stating that the price was “too good to pass up”, City Manager Jim Grabowski told reporters oohing and aahing in the five-story lobby of the newly-relocated Oakbrook Terrace Tower Thursday morning that the City of Elmhurst has purchased the 418-foot skyscraper for $75 million. The building was delivered to its new home at the southwest corner of Second and Addison Streets overnight, replacing the Kovach Eye Institute that previously stood at the same location.
“This is a game-changer for Elmhurst,” said Grabowski, who noted that residents will see a slight increase in their property taxes over the next 20 years or so to help offset the cost of the 31-story building that is in violation of several municipal codes. “I think once people drive through downtown Elmhurst and notice it for the first time, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how well it fits in with its surroundings.”
In addition to an anticipated tax base increase that will come once all 773,000 square feet of office space is filled with tenants, Grabowski stated that the purchase of the octagonal building constructed of emerald green and silver reflective glass is also intended to force O’Hare International Airport to redirect overnight take-offs and landings to neighboring communities that merit the noise more than Elmhurst does.
“We’ll get several uses out of the tower,” continued Grawbowski, who boasted that lighting schemes will occasionally be implemented in the building at night to celebrate state championships and publicize local DUI roadside checks. “And think of the marketing opportunities, now that we have the largest building in Illinois outside the city limits of Chicago.”
Built in 1987, the tower became available after Oakbrook Terrace voted to sell the building and resurrect Dispensa’s Kiddie Kingdom, which occupied the space from 1975-1984 and was notably pressured to close after a disastrous decision to change the price of rides in 1986 from “six for a dollar” to “five for a dollar”.
Grabowski stated that he has already received numerous inquiries from businesses about leasing space in the tower.
“Bank of American, Chase, and Citibank have all expressed interest in putting offices in the building,” continued Grabowski, who added that Chipotle has already secured space on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th floors. “Once we add a few levels to the Addison parking garage, other businesses will be kicking down our doors trying to get space in here.”
While the deal with Oakbrook Terrace to purchase the tower went relatively smooth, delivery and installation of the building caused some damage to homes, businesses and traffic signals along Butterfield Rd. and York St. and has resulted in the closing of the Robert T. Palmer Dr. underpass until further notice. In a separate press release, the city announced that the Kovach Eye Institute has been temporarily moved to an open area of Wilder Park until a permanent location for the building can be found.