Elmhurst Acquires Oakbrook Terrace Tower in Landmark Deal

Photo by Ron Raspatello

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.

Advertisements

4 Fun Things To Do in Elmhurst This Weekend:  June 23rd – 25th

by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Summer is here and it’s time to enjoy everything Elmhurst has to offer! Here are 4 fun things for you to do around town this weekend.

Play the Role of a “Royal Family” at Smalley Swimming Pool


Enter your new kingdom with bravado and entitlement, commandeer prime seating under a giant umbrella, and empower your children to wreak havoc throughout the land. You and your family are the rulers of Norman P. Smalley Pool in York Commons Park. Your queen will enjoy uninterrupted iPhone usage from her makeshift castle of a half-dozen saved lawn chairs, while your king performs a variety of awkward and inappropriate behaviors throughout the afternoon.

  • Dates/Times:  Friday 12-7 p.m., Saturday, 12-7 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Location: 665 S. York St.
  • Cost/Fee:  Tot (2 and under) = Free, Youth (3-15 yrs.) = $7.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident, Adult (16-64 yrs.) = $8.00 resident/$11.00 non-resident, Senior (65 yrs.+) = $6.00 resident/$9.00 non-resident.

Enjoy After-Hours Skin Flicks on the “Explore Elmhurst Trolley”


Couples and lonely individuals who take pleasure in watching erotic films with strangers are encouraged to jump on the Explore Elmhurst Trolley this weekend to view a full feature presentation from the “After Dark” adult series on Cinemax.  The movies begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night.  

  • Dates/Times:  Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Location:  See trolley stops here.
  • Cost: Free!
  • Trolley riders after 10:30 p.m. must be at least 21 years of age.

Find a Lost Dog


An average of 46 dogs are reported lost in Elmhurst each day. While most of them are later found in a separate wing of the owner’s home, the rest of these canines are roaming throughout town, waiting for you to become a hero by finding them and returning them to their owners. Through the use of social media and a vast network of Elmhurst animal lovers, the average lost dog is reunited with their owner in less than 60 minutes.

  • Time/Location:  Friday-Sunday during daylight hours
  • Location:  Residential streets and parks
  • Cost:  Free!

Go Snorkeling in Salt Creek


The Elmhurst Park District wants you to grab your fins, your face mask, and your Go Pro for an exciting dive into the murky depths of Salt Creek! You’ll encounter many of the common creatures found in and around the creek, like tadpoles, scuds and mosquito larvae. Participants are required to bring their own snorkeling equipment, including harpoons and spears.

  • Date/Time:  Saturday, June 24th at 10:00 a.m.
  • Location:  Canoe launch at Eldridge Park
  • Cost/Fee:  $12 residents/$17 non-residents

More Eggs, Less Parental Involvement Expected at Wilder Park Egg Hunt 

by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Staff Writer

ELMHURST – Eager to please children and parents slighted by an insufficient number of Easter Eggs filled with candy at previous egg hunts, the Elmhurst Park District has “guaranteed” that at least one in seven children participating in this year’s annual event will find an egg during the mad scramble scheduled to take place at Wilder Park on Saturday, March 26th at 10 a.m.

“(Administrative Assistant) Betty Jacobson is going over to Costco next week to buy one of those jumbo bags of candy,” said Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers, who admitted that he usually purchases a few packages of Skittles and M&Ms at 7-Eleven to fill 40-50 plastic eggs for the hunt.   “I imagine we’ll have about 100 eggs out there this year.”

Adults entering the ring and assisting children during the egg hunt has also been addressed by the Park District this year, as parents will be required to wear human leashes affixed to nearby trees.

The Egg Hunt is followed by “Doggie EGGstravaganza” at 10:30 a.m. and “Unrestrained Exotic Pets” at 11:00 a.m.

Elmhurst Mayor Denies ‘Pokémon Go’ Addiction Despite Erratic Behavior


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Describing recent accusations as both “blasphemous” and “fabricated”, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley told reporters following him through Wilder Park at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning that his interest in the new and wildly popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go is merely a “hobby” and not an addiction, despite contrary reports from multiple sources within City Hall and from other local “Team Red” members of the Pokémon gaming community.

“This is just something I’ve been playing around with for fun,” said Morley, who was assigned around-the-clock security detail earlier this week after he was lured to a Pokéstop at a vacant lot on the south side of Chicago late Saturday night and was then spotted by a nearby resident the next morning climbing a fence near the Elmhurst Quarry in pursuit of a “Snorlax”.  “There’s no reason for anyone to worry about me at all.”

While Morley downplayed the danger and potential miscommunication that can happen when he tells strangers unfamiliar with the game that he’s looking for “candy” and “stardust” in order to “power up”, the mayor admitted that he’s invested a “fair amount” of his free time playing Pokémon Go and that he has spent more than $100 on in-app purchases of Pokécoins since downloading the game last Friday.

“I’m not even sure if he’ll be at Monday’s city council meeting,” said one Elmhurst alderman, who asked for his identity to be kept anonymous.  “He keeps saying that he has to go out and collect ‘Razz Berries’ and ‘Master Balls’ next week.” 

Fellow game players expressed irritation and jealousy over the attention Morley is receiving.

“He’s only on Level 7,” said 16-year-old local resident Justin Kenny, who witnessed the mayor battling a “gym” while standing in the middle of the Elmhurst City Centre fountain Tuesday afternoon.  “And then before he got out, he made these two dudes following him around climb into the fountain and pick up a bunch of pennies and nickels.”

Several members of the city council said they plan to approach the mayor this weekend to confront him with their concerns. 

More Eggs, Less Parental Involvement Expected at Wilder Park Egg Hunt 


by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods Staff Writer

ELMHURST – Eager to please children and parents slighted by an insufficient number of Easter Eggs filled with candy at previous egg hunts, the Elmhurst Park District has “guaranteed” that at least one in seven children participating in this year’s annual event will find an egg during the mad scramble scheduled to take place at Wilder Park on Saturday, March 26th at 10 a.m.

“(Administrative Assistant) Betty Jacobson is going over to Costco next week to buy one of those jumbo bags of candy,” said Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers, who admitted that he usually purchases a few packages of Skittles and M&Ms at 7-Eleven to fill 40-50 plastic eggs for the hunt.   “I imagine we’ll have about 100 eggs out there this year.”

Adults entering the ring and assisting children during the egg hunt has also been addressed by the Park District this year, as parents will be required to wear human leashes affixed to nearby trees.

The Egg Hunt is followed by “Doggie EGGstravaganza” at 10:30 a.m. and “Unrestrained Exotic Pets” at 11:00 a.m.