Work on apartments on former Mother Guerin high school site in River Grove expected soon
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
A developer is planning to break ground as early as this week for luxury apartments on 22 acres in River Grove where the former Mother Guerin Prep High School, 8001 W. Belmont Ave., once stood and was demolished in 2021.
Project manager Ray Casali of the Sergio and Banks Group who works with developer Noah Properties said that construction was supposed to begin in October of last year but that there was a delay with permits. He said that construction would take about 18 months for the first phase that would entail work on buildings along Belmont. Casali said construction would begin this week.
“I can’t tell you whether it’s Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, but it’s next (this) week, OK?” Casali said.
Eventually, plans call for 162 three-story luxury apartments within 17 buildings of various sizes along Belmont, 120 residential rental units for people age 55 and older in three three-story buildings each containing 40 units along O’Connor Drive, and 172 privately owned, three-story townhouses centrally located upon the property, according to the village of River Grove.
River Grove president David Guerin said that he didn’t know the “internal dealings” of why the project was delayed since it is a private project, “but we have given them the go ahead to begin construction of the multi-family homes.” He said equipment was coming to the site for the planned work.
“We look forward to them breaking ground and seeing it come to fruition,” he said.
Guerin said that the village is excited about the project, which would be the largest development in River Grove’s history. While he understands that the closing and ultimate demolition of the former high school was bittersweet, he said the project would generate taxes for the village.
“The closing of Holy Cross High School and then Guerin Prep High School have been huge disappointments to the community, as the schools created decades of great religious education to many in the area,” Guerin wrote last year in a village newsletter.
He wrote that after Mother Guerin closed, the land became a burden on the village’s public resources and presented a safety hazard.
“The quarter billion-dollar investment at 80th and Belmont will put the 22 acres of abandoned property on the tax rolls for the first time ever. The property will be self-contained with townhomes, multi-family units and a 55 and over community with a clubhouse, exercise center, and many other amenities.
“The village board welcomes such a significant investment in our community while offering very unique housing opportunities for our present and future residents. The area is long overdue for a 55 and over community, providing maintenance-free living to those who love the area but don’t want the work of a single family home,” Guerin wrote.
A traffic study that was presented to the village last year stated that traffic at the intersection would increase through 2050 from the current 24,400 to projected 27,600 vehicles along Belmont, and from 5,300 to 6,000 vehicles along 80th Avenue.
The class of 2020 was the last to graduate Guerin College Prep High School. The school closed due to declining enrollment over the years and financial challenges. The building was torn down in 2021.
Guerin Prep was founded as an all-girls school known as Mother Theodore Guerin High School in 1962 by the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods. In 2004 the school accepted students from the all-boys Holy Cross High School when it closed and changed its name to Guerin College Preparatory High School in 2005.
Guerin Prep bought 14 acres of the former Holy Cross property in 2005 bringing the size of the campus to 22.7 acres.