Bright Oaks of Elgin The developers of Bright Oaks of Elgin, a senior living facility on the city’s far west side, have been issued a notice of unsafe condition and demolition order by the city’s community development department in part because materials have been left out in the elements for months, some outside the fenced site. Developer Nader Kameli says he intends to move forward with the project. The property is off Route 20 and Nesler Road. (Mike Danahey / The Courier-News)
The developers of a senior living facility on Elgin’s far west side have been issued a notice of unsafe condition and demolition order by the city’s community development department, but the developer says he intends to move forward with the project.
"We have no intention of abandoning the project, and demolition is not an option that we would entertain," Bright Oaks Group CEO Nader Kameli said via email. "This project has come a long way and will complete. The question is not if, it is when."
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, The Courier-News obtained a copy of the notice and order, which was sent to Bright Oaks Group CEO Nader Kameli and attorney Taher Kameli on Dec. 22.
Bright Oaks of Elgin has been under construction off of Route 20, west of Nesler Road and adjacent to the West Point Gardens subdivision. The project was approved by the city in 2014. According to the Bright Oaks Group website, the Elgin facility is supposed to hold 56 suites for assisted independent living and 25 suites for memory care living.
The recent document, signed by Building Official Raoul Johnston, states that representatives from Bright Oaks attended a meeting at Elgin City Hall Dec. 1 to discuss completing construction of the facility, as the permit for the project was set to expire Dec. 20.
Elgin staff sent the company’s director of construction, Lon Marchel, a letter dated Oct. 24, which The Courier-News received through a prior Freedom of Information Act request. That letter notes the city issued permit extensions for the project on June 20, but since that time "there has been no substantial work performed at this project site."
The developers of Bright Oaks of Elgin, a senior living facility on the city’s far west side, have been issued a notice of unsafe condition and demolition order by the city’s community development department in part because materials have been left out in the elements for months, some outside the fenced site. Developer Nader Kameli says he intends to move forward with the project. The property is off Route 20 and Nesler Road. (Mike Danahey / The Courier-News)
The extensions would expire Dec. 20, that letter stated, unless there is "substantial verifiable progress made" on the project.
In the Dec. 22 document, Johnston states that the property constitutes an unsafe condition for a list of reasons, including that the incomplete structure lacks the structural integrity of a complete and approved structure, and it lacks any fire warning devices or suppression systems. The structural integrity of the components and building materials is uncertain given prolonged exposure to the elements. And building material have been stored and stacked outside the construction fencing, the document states.
"I find that the above-described unsafe condition constitutes a fire hazard and is dangerous to human life and the public welfare," Johnston wrote.
As such, Johnston wrote that Bright Oaks has until Jan. 23 to apply for a demolition permit to clear the property and restore it to its condition prior to the start of the project.
Per the Dec. 1 discussion, the city would only entertain issuing a new building permit for the project, the document states, if the developer provides a report from a certified engineer that evaluated the structural integrity of the incomplete building and the materials; offers proof of financing; and shows performance surety.
"As of today, none of these documents have been provided," the document states.
According to Nader Kameli, the meeting Dec. 1 with city staff was productive.
"They met our investors and discussed their needs regarding the future of the project. Our new investors understood the request and have been working on the request since," Kameli said.
Kameli said that one of the main items the city had asked for was proof of funding, and the group has "obtained a soft commitment letter from our lending institution, and have been working with them to get a more solid commitment that would be acceptable to all involved."
"Given the holidays, all institutional systems are slow, and we are expecting that soon after the first week of the new year to have all the material that the city had asked for, and proceed with the project," Kameli said.
The document Elgin sent the developer states that failure to comply with the order would cause the city to file a lawsuit in circuit court seeking permission to demolish what’s been built, clear the site, then restore it, with costs to do so placed as a lien on the property.
According to the document, the developer has until Jan. 23 to file an appeal to the order.
"In our meeting with the city officials, they all commented on their commitment to seeing this project through and are looking forward to all the jobs that would come from the opening of this community in the neighborhood," Kameli said. "Bright Oaks of Elgin will be a good tax base for the city that would help, somewhat, in reducing the property tax for the surrounding homes. It will also be the anchor for that development which will attract additional businesses, including the one that is currently under development on the corner lot."
Kameli added, "Financing businesses are a behemoth task in this day and age. Banks are very tight with money and public is void of cash. So, the fact that we have stuck with this project for the past few years is the sign of our commitment to the city, and our will to not give up."
This article was sourced from http://alhadath-news.com