Commercial real estate sales rise in Oak Park area
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:15AM
“Commercial real estate is making a comeback.”
So says the National Association of Realtors, and according to David J. King, president of the Oak Park-based David King & Associates, Inc., “That is absolutely a true statement.”
“If you go back to the start of 2010, there was a dozen storefronts vacant in downtown Oak Park,” said King, whose company does office retail and medical real estate while representing all of Western Cook County. “Today there’s three.
“We sold nine or 10 in 2010, so as the economy started to come back, and continued to come back, it came through places like Oak Park first,” King said. “Are you going to open where there’s density and household income or go to Plainfield or Mokena?”
Locations close to the city saw the rebound first, King said. He has three retailers who want to be at Lake and Harlem, but “There’s no place for them.
“There’s a mismatch between what’s available and what’s needed,” King said. “To a degree, we actually have a waiting list at Harlem and Lake.”
Prices, are “absolutely rising,” King said, 10 to 15 percent since their low point.
“Other areas are flat,” he said. “It is absolutely all about location.”
Oak Park has one of the lowest office vacancies, King said. It’s at about 17 percent compared to about 25 percent in Oak Brook and 30 percent in Schaumburg. However, a lot of companies are moving from the far west suburbs to Chicago to recruit younger talent.
With Oak Park close to downtown, and its density, household income and public transportation, “We can still recruit young people,” King said. “We’re at the top of the pack.”
He said Madison Street in Forest Park saw a “lot of new players” last year, while Madison Street in Oak Park has yet to see a rebound. Leo’s, which sells dance wear, recently opened in River Forest, and a couple of months ago, at Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street, MacSpecialist, an independently-owned Apple store, set up shop. Elmwood Park, King said, has less office space than River Forest, which apparently isn’t much.
“Some storefronts have seen good action,” King said.
By the way, my heartiest congrats to King, a Forest Park resident, who is being honored on Nov. 14 by Triton College as its “Man of the Year.”