The mystery homes on Oakwood

Chicago, 800 block Oakwood Blvd homes

When I first visited this site, at Oakwood and Drexel in North Kenwood, nearly two and a half years ago, construction appeared to have stopped. The scene was the same on my next two visits, 18 months and a year ago (approximately).

Chicago, 800 block Oakwood Blvd homes

This was the scene yesterday: substantial progress, but still an incomplete mess. The sidewalks along Oakwood are broken and missing in places. The parkways along Ellis and Drexel are not maintained. Only one of the homes appears to be occupied. One has a “for sale” sign on it from a large brokerage firm, but that firm’s site has no information on the home.

A company called RENU LLC apparently bought the property from the city years back. Cole-Taylor Bank recently filed a $2.3M foreclosure suit against RENU on at least one of the six homes, 801 E. Oakwood. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has no record of a corporation with that name. That’s curious because, in the normal course of things, the city and the bank would have required corporate certificates of good standing before entering into a deal.

Looking back only as far as 2004 there are no records online of any building permits. The property, according to the Assessor’s Office, consists of three tax parcels that don’t correspond at all to the lot lines for the six homes. The addresses for the tax parcels are 3952 and 3954 S. Ellis and 3947 S. Drexel. Property tax bills are paid to date, and the bills go to a woman who’s also listed as the recent buyer of one of the homes.

In brief, this scenario doesn’t add up at all. Does anyone out there have any info?

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