The East Village Apartments is a development by Forth Group, designed by Studio21 Architects. We sat down for a brief Q & A with Forth Group president Scott Seger about the project.
What is your background in multi-family developments?
We renovated a 3 unit in Chicago that we owned and did a number of houses, both renovation and new construction. We also have lots of experience operating, repairing and managing multi-unit properties in the city, that is our primary business.
What was appealing about choosing Downers Grove for your first major development?
The location near a really nice downtown, a major train line and a great surrounding area (Oak Brook and Naperville corporate centers). The timing worked well as we were selling a property in Chicago and we wanted to use an exchange to transfer the capital into a new project and this was available and ticked a lot of boxes.
How did you come to choose Studio21 Architects to design this project?
We searched for local architects that we felt had experience with larger projects but not a really large firm where our project would not matter. Studio 21 was a good fit, was familiar with this type project, and working with Downers Grove.
How did Studio21 Architects assist in determining the feasibility of developing this site for multi-family use?
Lots of personal subjective guidance about what would be accepted by the community and on the technical side with the Village. I think this saved a lot of time and effort bringing the right project in without lots of revisions and corrections. Bill and Gregg were very easy to work with, creative, and understood the economics of the process.
What was it like to go through the process of obtaining a Special Use Permit from The Village of Downers Grove?
Not terrible – the people are very nice and helpful however it was a lot more expensive and time-consuming than we anticipated.
The concept from the outset was to create mid/high end rental apartments. How was that decision made as opposed to selling units as condominiums?
It was really market driven based on what we understand to be what people want right now. There is not a lot of property appreciation and we think people that have not made a decision to be in an area long term will rent for now.
Was it challenging to develop the site to meet all the Village requirements?
Yes, it is a little tricky to meet all the requirements, and try to make the project feasible. Lots of help from Studio 21, the engineer and some helpful people at the Village.
How did you decide on the contemporary style of the buildings?
We kind of like the clean lines, something a little different.
Now that the first building is complete, ……
We need to finish the second building and get the landscaping looking good. After that, we may look for another similar project.