It’s not even spring yet, but new growth is sprouting in the Oak Park Arts District. Several new vendors have plans to move in, and longer-term tenants plan to expand their concepts.
Breaking ground this spring is Flexhouse, recent winner of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Illinois Charter Award. According to developer Chris Dillion of Campbell Coyle, Flexhouse is “a new type of home that is tuned to today’s buyer.” Dillion explains that these modern and efficient homes appeal to urban lifestyles and foster sustainable choices. He adds that Flexhouse “incorporates live/work functionality [and was] designed with the artist and entrepreneur in mind.” The project sold out in approximately one month, while tenants and buyers are sought for the “bookend” buildings at 200 and 210 Harrison Street.
Flexhouse isn’t the only news. MORA Asian Kitchen plans to arrive on Harrison Street in spring 2018. The concept features tapas-sized plates and Asian fusion cuisine. This will be their third location, following Plainfield and Bolingbrook.
Elizabeth Madden, founder of Rare Bird Preserves, plans to relocate her business to 211 Harrison Street, creating a space that is part commercial kitchen and part retail shop (she is currently working out of temporary kitchen space on Chicago Avenue in Chicago). Rare Bird is acclaimed for its micro-batch, hand-crafted jam made the traditional way: in copper pots, with the best fruit ingredients. Madden says, “We have a strong, loyal customer base, who are excited for our new shop in Oak Park. We hope to bring many new people to the Oak Park Arts District from within the Oak Park community and surrounding suburbs, as well as Chicago fans and customers from all over the United States.”
Soon District Kitchen and Tap, the newest food concept of Patrick O’Brien, chef and owner of the Scratch Restaurant Group, will join other tenants–Happy Apple Pie Shop (open since 2017), Tapster Robotics and more–in the revamped Harrison and Harvey building.
Meanwhile, Stacy Fifer is about to open her doors this month with l’Institut français d’Oak Park, offering university-level instruction of French language and literature. Fifer is an experienced university instructor whose future plans for the institut include organized culture- and language-based trips to France.
Other concepts, like Nicole Sopko’s Nature Yoga Sanctuary, are not new to the neighborhood; their former home was around the corner. In their new and larger space, they also run a vegan café. Additionally, kid and adult birthday parties—which include group yoga lessons and events —are now available.
Similarly, Crossfit Spero, owned by David Greene, is not new to the street, but plans to move to a larger space. Greene says the new location will allow them to offer simultaneous classes for adults and children as well as programming with demands for larger equipment.
With so many dynamic concepts now anchoring the district, growth is already underway. Residents and visitors can find delicious things to eat, interesting places to live and work, and rewarding experiences in the Oak Park Arts District on Harrison Street.