At the December 4, 2006 Village board meeting, Jamie Bigelow, President of Bigelow Homes made a presentation giving an update on Legacy Square, Park Forest's newest development being built in the Downtown area.
Mr. Bigelow began with a summary of the work that went into the construction of the models now open on Main Street, “In our original presentation, we said we would have at least three models and one decorated model. We delivered 6 models, and we delivered 4 decorated models. We spent a lot of time and energy decorating these models." Making reference to the former efforts made on the same area, Bigelow reported, "As everyone knows, we were dealing with an uphill battle. This was a failed project from another developer. So, we had to get rid of that stigma that was attached to it. We had [the models] designed by one of the best interior designers in the Midwest, out of Detroit."
Mr. Bigelow acknowledged that there were some residents who did not feel the plan would succeed, “Some of the challenges we faced, there were a lot of naysayers in the general public who thought the project would not succeed. So we felt it was important to get off to a good start. We spent over $100,000 on decorating that overcame the stigma of a failed project. When people walked in they wanted to see that you had your stuff together, that you were professional, that you were presenting a good model. We did not anticipate having to do that many models, but we felt it was money well spent for us”
Mr. Bigelow continued his presentation with kind words for Park Forest, “We came here to a great village and we wanted to enhance the Village of Park Forest.” He referenced the work Bigelow Homes has done marketing the development, “We delivered a very aggressive public relations campaign. Writers like to write about us because we are innovative and we bring innovative solutions and have a reputation for good, quality work.
"And people are talking about Park Forest.”
“There was so much good stuff that had been done years ago by some of the residents and some of the public officials in setting up the Downtown. But we did have to reverse this stigma. So we worked very hard with our PR to get this story out.”
With respect to houses sold, “We have 21 sales. We feel the buyers we have now are very solid people, and they want to close on their home in Park Forest. In our original presentation, we thought we could sell 20 homes by March 31, 2007. We sold 21 homes by October 31st of this year, 5 months ahead of the deadline.” With respect to where the new residents are moving from, he said, "There are some people coming out of Chicago." He also mentioned that some former Park Foresters may be moving back because of the Legacy Square project. He said one person told him, “'I’ve moved away from Park Forest, I always liked Park Forest. And this gives me some good, solid housing to come back to Park Forest.' Some of them bought."
During a tour of the Legacy Square models Sunday, Mr. Steve Augustus, who is buying The Frontier model with the added guest suite, said his house "will be around $220,000 with the extra unit which I can rent out. That will help pay my taxes." Asked what sold him on the home, he responded, "The thing that drew me to these guys was it is a great location for where I work, and it's an energy efficient design, which I like."
Potential new resident Phyllis Jones (left) is seated in a living room of one of the models with Phylicia Jones, Akissa Freund, baby Aniyah, and Joshua Freund.
More pictures of the models on Main St. follow below.