By Larry Atseff

When you want to build something in Oak Brook, whether you are a developer coming into the village, or an existing business or resident who wants to modify or change a building, fortunately, you can work with the Development Services Department. I say fortunately because the department is known for its transparency and willingness to facilitate the planning and building process. For an overview of the department on what it does, and how it works, I recently sat down with Tony Budzikowski, Development Services Director. At the outset of our interview, he was quick to point out that all 11 members of the department itself work as a team. Outside the department, it works with police, fire, and public works to help people with building projects on a team basis. “This way, by coordinating efforts, we are able to follow a well-established and fully transparent process that really works well.” This is partly due to the fact Tony and several members of his department can draw on experience from working at other villages before coming to Oak Brook “We also know a lot of folks at other villages who we talk to in order to get advice and perspective. We are smart enough to know we don’t have all the answers.”

As Tony explains it, putting up a structure, whether it is a home or an office building, or a shopping center, is a process, involving virtually all aspects of how the village operates. “The more predictable we make the process, the more people know what steps need to be taken, the more efficient and successful their project will be Upfront, when we meet with a developer, we include representatives from the police, fire, and public works departments, we make sure prospects know how the village operates and functions, and who the players are. When needed, he will even involve the Flagg Creek Sanitary District. The more upfront we are, the more the developer can be upfront with us. That leads to an early understanding of expectations on all sides, so there are no surprises. Since time is money, all this pre-planning pays off in more efficient construction and an increased likelihood of meeting realistic deadlines.” He adds, “This philosophy of planning and constant communication has proved very successful.

“This philosophy of planning and constant communication has proved very successful. After all, Oak Brook is a very attractive setting for people of means who want to live here, or people who want to build a property here, or for people who want to open a business.”

After all, Oak Brook is a very attractive setting for people of means who want to live here, or people who want to build a property here, or for people who want to open a business. Frankly, the success of Oak Brook goes all the way back to the vision of Paul Butler, who set standards and worked with many people to plan and create an attractive community. This philosophy has continued to evolve ever since.” For all those reasons, developers want to build here. Throughout the pandemic, there was no shortage of developers calling on Oak Brook. And Oak Brook can and does work with the best of the best. As a result, Tony and his department are very busy. As noted, one of Tony’s most important jobs is regular communications with organizations to keep people informed of projects and progress. For example, his department meets with the 28 home-owner associations on a quarterly basis as part of Oak Brook President Lalmalani’s meeting. He meets with the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce on a quarterly basis. And, every quarter, he publishes a summary of progress being made on developments all over the village. Here is a current progress report on some of the pertinent projects:

Oakbrook Center ongoing projects

• Restoration Hardware opening completed
• Lifetime Fitness opening completed
• Lucid Motors opening completed
• Gucci mid-October
• Louis Vuitton targeting mid-September
• Former Lord & Taylor for Arhaus, Sweetgreen, Puttshack
• Blanco Cocina opening completed
• New Commercial/Office Projects
• Senior Lifestyle/Sheridan opened
• First Watch Café in Shops of Oak Brook, completed
• Hub Group, expanding office space
• Oak Point University for Nursing (formerly Resurrection University)
• Costco parking lot expansion
• Hampton Inn expansion
• Fogo de Chao opening 23rd November
• Hines/Oak Brook Commons (former McDonald’s HQ) mixeduse development of restaurants, retail, residential apartments,
condominums, offices, • park and hotel use.
• JPD Oak Brook Holdings/Oak Brook Reserve (formerly McDonald’s campus) on hold
• Jupiter-Butler Condominiums
• GW Properties/Overlook at Oak Brook (formerly Macy’s furniture property) to include a restaurant and retail buildings.

When it comes to residential properties, most subdivisions are built out, and all that is remaining are large lots. In talking with realtors, Tony notes that “we’ve received applications recently for 2 and 3 lot subdivisions, yet still substantial sized lots for single-family homes.” In sum, there is a lot going on in Oak Brook these days. And the Development Services Department is staying on top of it all. As a result, everyone benefits. ■