Affordable housing payment of $ 1.6 million arrives as demo begins on Optima project


Construction of a revolutionary development in downtown Wilmette is underway.

The old structure of the International Bank at 1210 Central Ave. is being razed to make way for a seven-storey mixed-use building that will include 100 rental residential units.

Wilmette Village Manager Mike Braiman said the demolition should be completed before the end of the month (October). The next step for developer Green Bay Wilmette, an offshoot of Optima Inc., is the village authorization process for the construction of the building itself. Braiman said it is expected to be approved in spring 2022, with construction continuing for most of the year and ending in spring 2023.

However, a significant part of the project has already been completed.

Braiman said the developer paid the village $ 1.6 million to support affordable housing in Wilmette. The transaction was one of many stipulations that village officials included in the conditional approval of the project.

Braiman said the village was working with its community partners to “leverage the funds” to get tax credits and turn it into 14 affordable housing units in town.

Optima has also agreed to contribute $ 120,000 for the improvement of the nearby streetscape; maintain a public space on the site of the new development; and provide 28 public parking spaces, two of which have charging stations for electric cars.

Optima has developed three other properties in Wilmette, including the four-story Optima Center, 705 11th St., which contains 54 residential units in downtown Wilmette. The new proposal, however, began in a questionable fashion, receiving a negative recommendation from the Wilmette Plan Commission in February 2020.

Neighboring residents also shared their concerns about the development as it approaches a residential area to the west.

After a number of village-guided reviews, the plans received village council approval in March 2020, allowing the council to work on several new ordinances that included public benefits, such as funding for parking and housing. affordable.

In a previous interview with The Record, director of community development John Adler said the development was in line with the village’s goals of increasing the density of its downtown area.

“One of the underlying goals of the (overall village master plan) was to increase the number of people who live and can benefit from our services and transport provided by the village center, and that is certainly what ‘he does, “Adler said.

The building will cover 5,900 square feet and will include commercial space and less than 10 residential units on the ground floor. The rest of the units will be split between floors 2 to 6. A roof terrace is planned for the seventh floor.

The developers have pledged to include a number of “green” equipment, enough to earn Two Green Globes certification, according to village documents.

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