Abandoned Oak Park building to become restaurant

An abandoned historic building in Oak Park will undergo renovations to become a restaurant - a sign of big economic growth to come.

In 2017, the old WWJ building on Eight Mile Road will become the newest restaurant by Union Joints.

"We're just proud that we have the opportunity to restore this great ... building," said Kurt Catallo, co-owner of Union Joints.

The restaurant is tentatively named 8MK after the station's old call letters.

The decision to purchase the property was made soon after the formerly dry city decided to allow liquor licenses. Catallo said that is a big part of what makes a project like the new restaurant viable.

"We have been a dry city for decades and there was a lot of fear about allowing liquor licenses and this is an example of what happens when you allow liquor licenses," said Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan.

The city is expecting the draw to be so big, more businesses will follow.

"Four years ago things were really difficult and we've gone from down-and-out to up-and-coming," McClellan said. "Now we have amazing things to report and it's lots more fun."