DownTown Park Forest
Built in the early 1950s, the Park Forest Plaza made history and national news. Shoppers, planners, tourists and reporters flocked to see this phenomenon – a regional shopping mall. Anchored by three major department stores, the mall featured groupings of small stores clustered around an open grassy area. From Park Forest, the developer, Phil Klutznick, moved on to develop Old Orchard, Oak Brook and Water Tower Place. But, Park Forest was the pioneer, the model.
The Village purchased the Park Forest Plaza in December 1995 and, once again, made national news with its program to convert the former mall into a traditional, mixed-use, "Main Street" downtown.
Conversion to a Traditional Downtown
The first step in the redevelopment process involved the demolition of over 300,000 square feet of vacant commercial space, including two of the former anchor department stores. A new grid road system through the former grassy mall has been created. The new east/west street has been named, appropriately, Main Street.
A major step in the conversion from a mall to a downtown was the sale of individual parcels and buildings. The first new construction in the DownTown was a new Walgreens on an out lot. Two of the DownTown buildings have been sold. Matanky Realty Group owns Building #2 which houses a theatre. Blaine Realty is the owner of the Chase Bank Building. CVS Drug Store is located on a former parking lot on the corner of Main Street and Western Avenue. There are two senior complexes that have been built on the east side of the DownTown. Victory Center Senior has both an independent and assisted living. In the fall of 2005, Bigelow Homes built 63 homes in the Victoria Place development on the west side of the DownTown.
Cultural Arts Center
Another major step was the creation of a market niche. As a historically cultural community, the local market niche was culture. One of the retail buildings has been converted to a cultural arts center. It houses the Performing Arts Theatre, the Tall Grass Arts Association Art Gallery and School. It also houses the offices and Board Rooms of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Salon Artists Gallery is another art venue located at 294 Main Street. Franciscan’s medical office also in this building.
The DownTown Management Office is located on site at 226 Forest Boulevard. The management office’s phone number is 708-503-8153 and is open from 8 – 4 each weekday. For information on renting a space in the DownTown for either a ground level or second floor office space.
There are eight buildings in the DownTown, five located along Main Street. The Village of Park Forest owns six of these buildings. For Village owned buildings, leasing opportunities include spaces which range from 100 to 8,000 square feet.
DownTown Park Forest boasts a wide variety of businesses including, a health & fitness center, art galleries and art school, dance studio, nail salon, cleaners, South Suburban Food Co-op, hair salons, a barber shop, a sandwich/fast food establishment, a caterer, and a banquet/meeting facility. The DownTown also offers the health care services of a family medicine physicians, two podiatric physicians and also chiropractic physicians.
Leasing - Second Floor Office
Two of the buildings in DownTown Park Forest feature second floor office leasing opportunities for administrative office settings. There are spaces available between 100 – 900 square feet. Some of our tenants include insurance companies, accountants, tax service providers, counseling service providers, mortgage and real estate companies, art studios, health care agencies, as well as computer software and IT specialists.
The second floor office located at 202 Forest Boulevard offers approximately 2,730 square feet of space. The first floor is currently leased by Chase Bank. The second floor would be an ideal location for physician offices, an attorney, retail business or an educational/vocational training facility. The 202 Forest building is owned by Blaine Realty and their number is 516-316-6974.