Thursday, October 29, 2015

CPS Approves Sale of Stewart School, Redevelopment to Include Community's Criteria

Today the Chicago Board of Education announced that it has approved the sale of the Stewart School campus to Morningside Equities Group Inc. for $5,112,000.  The appraised value of the property was $4-4.5 million.

(In comparison, Trumbull School in Edgewater, approximately the same size and vintage, sold for $5,250,000 less than a month ago.)

Regarding the workshops conducted by Metropolitan Planning Council a year and a half ago, the press release from CPS says, "Following an extensive community engagement process to determine the property’s preferred use, the site will be redeveloped to incorporate residential housing, retail and restaurant space, a community plaza and playground."

Specifically, "The bid approved today meets the community’s redevelopment criteria, which specifies that the site must be redeveloped to incorporate residential housing, retail and/or restaurant space, a community plaza or town square, and space for community programming including community gardens, space for a farmers market, community theater space, youth educational or recreational space, or job training. 

The agreement also requires Morningside to preserve the building’s unique and historical character and to seek landmark designation from the City’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks."

Metropolitan Planning Council held three meetings in May 2014 to give residents the opportunity to discuss and decide what they wanted to see developed at the school site.  MCS released its summary of the community input in August 2014, a copy of which is linked on Ald. Cappleman's website.

We wish the building had been able to become the new home of Decatur Classical School, but realistically, a $12-15 million price tag to retrofit a property that sold for $5 million didn't make sense.

It's a pleasant surprise that CPS took the community's desires into account when selling the building and grounds. We are well aware that the cash-strapped school system wasn't obligated to pay any attention to our requests at all, and may have been able to get a higher price for the property if it had sold it without any restrictions on its next usage.

We can't wait to see the renderings of what Morningside has in mind for its newest property.


  1. Please, please, please put a good brunch restaurant in here. Uptown is in need of a great brunch restaurant to have lots of foot traffic down this stretch. Or just make the ground floor another French Market location with many vendors selling good eats. Just make sure something worthwhile as far as restaurant comes into this location. Not another mattress, cell phone, or quicky mart for crying out loud!!!! I'd even settle for a chain restaurant like Pot Bellys, Chic-fil-A

  2. Oh! I love the idea of a French Market, or any kind of European style market at ground level. Fresh bread, fancy little foods, fresh fish. I hope someone from Morningside reads this blog.
    And I agree on the need for more brunch places, especially after losing Magnolia. What others of that caliber are there in central Uptown other than Inspiration Kitchen?

  3. This is a beautiful, substantial building and high end condos will suit it correctly. The neighborhood is screaming for higher end development! An yes, a high quality restaurant is needed--the building surely offers many options.

    1. "high end development?" please read up on the history of this area. The Wilson Yard was a historic feat in the favor of affordable housing. Now institutional racism has resulted in school closings and this property purchase is pushing out the long time residents of the area. These are people's homes, businesses and lives we're talking about and they are worth more than another fucking brunch place.

    2. Helen, Helen is that U? U old wild woman. Or not. Prolly not.

      I heard a rumor that the former aldercritter was writing a book. That ought to be a 40,000 word run on sentence filled with bitterness and vitriol. Just like my first two marriages!

      "Historic feat"?


      Da Feat is what we can look at as the legacy of Ms Shiller. The agony of Da FEAT.

      Keep posting though. Maybe take part in a march. The sight of Shilleristas marching always brings joy to the cockles of my heart. V I C T O R Y. I particularly enjoy the marches in front of Cappleman's office. I always make sure to walk by on my way to Target then walk back again.

      I love the smell of victory in the morning...smells like market rate development.

      If you want to slow development somewhere to keep a nabe shitty I suggest heading to the areas West of Humboldt Park. You've lost here in Uptown. Over time nearly every piece of property that isn't already some type of formal low income housing will become gentrified. For that matter once various contracts run out some, not all, of the formal low income housing will also disappear.

      If Shiller lives long enough she will look around Uptown and cry that her legacy is largely gone. Hell she might be crying now looking at some of the stuff in the works.


  4. It will be interesting to see what happens here. I'm sure the NIMBY hordes will make themselves known. School building itself will likely be either expensive apartments or condos. Vacant land adjacent to school will likely be a midrise with parking. Given the square footage of the school probably 50 or so units in there plus some light commercial/restaurant. Midrise 100 or more units?

    The Capplemaniac will need to make the process go quickly. We don't need months of the manic horde of self satisfied narcissists delaying the start of construction. Get some construction workers in there to bring some dollars to our local restaurants which are struggling with Wilson Station renovation hassles.

    I'd like to see that entire "V" from Sunnyside to Wilson and east end of Broadway to western alley of Sheridan redeveloped. Outside the school I don't think any reasonable person could argue any of the buildings there are worth saving. Now some of the businesses are fine, but they could be relocated.

    Midrise construction with light commercial on the first floors would be great for that entire "V". Remember boys and girls, ladies and germs "V" is for VICTORY!

    The smell of hammers and the sound of sawdust, WTF, makes for a better neighborhood.

    1. What you're describing, this "development," is gentrification. It is institutional racism and it is corrupt and wrong. "none of those businesses are worth saving." They are worth saving. They are people's lives and businesses and they don't deserve to just be relocated because you want some fancy brunch chains.

    2. I see a straw man argument here. You're misreading and arguing over what you are claiming was said rather than what was said.

      Original quote: "I don't think any reasonable person could argue any of the buildings there are worth saving." BUILDINGS. Not BUSINESSES.

      Uptown has plenty of empty storefronts. The decision on whether or not architecturally insignificant buildings are sold to new owners with new ideas is up to the owner of said buildings. Somehow no one ever remembers that. It's not our decision. It's not the new owner's fault. If you want to blame someone, blame the landlord who has made the decision not to own something anymore.

    3. Gentrification, yes! Bring it on!!

    4. The tax payers are drained, and we see lazy people milling about throwing trash on the ground and selling drugs out of their tents... How can we not want you out of here???? Be productive and help everyone!!!