Thursday, November 16, 2023

1101 W. Argyle Rendering Reveal

1101 W. Argyle (Compass Architecture LLC)

We are likely getting a first look at what will soon rise on the SW corner of Argyle and Winthrop at 1101 W. Argyle and it will certainly be quite a change for the corner.

Building permits for the development mentioned a 6 story building with ground floor retail and garage parking for 8 cars. A rendering on the Compass Architecture website seems to check those boxes and will definitely bring density and 16 units of housing just steps from the Argyle red line station. 

The site is currently being cleared for the new development that is being built "as of right" with no zoning change necessary, bypassing any potential community input or aldermanic feedback.

1101 W. Argyle (Compass Architecture LLC)


History Uncovered On Argyle


Wooden structure uncovered during demolition

"I'm a long time fan and reader, just dropping a tip on an interesting bit of Argyle street history uncovered by the recent demo of Hoa Nam Grocery (1101 W Argyle).

See the attached photos for a view of the exposed side of an older building that sits just next to the demoed structure. It looks pretty weathered, and given the brown stained wooden siding, I'd venture a guess it's from the late 1800s to early 1900s. 

An exterior window and door shows this used to be an uncovered side of the structure. There's also an exposed and rusted sign near the streetscape (second photo) which appears to read "Dearling" or "Pearling," on the top line, and "Best By..." (I can't make out the rest). If it's "Dearling" I'm guessing it was a surname of the business owner.

Sign uncovered on the building

I would love if you could share this with readers to see if anyone knows about the history of this building. I did some digging in the Chicago History Museum Archives and found an image of the Argyle Station in 1916 that shows a wooden residential-looking structure just to the east of the tracks (see last attachment).

Argyle station in 1916 with wooden structure visible on the right (Chicago History Museum)

It's possible the uncovered structure in my photos was another residential or storefront building just next to that. Would love to find out more."

Monday, November 13, 2023

Dayton Dumpster Debacle

A frustrated neighbor on Dayton writes in:

"Would LOVE some help getting the Dayton Dumpstergate situation resolved, especially since Ald. Clay’s office doesn’t seem too interested.

I first called on 10/30 and left a voicemail to find out what we should expect in terms of closures and restrictions when the no parking signs went up for emergency sewer work on the 4300 block of Dayton. Didn’t get a callback, nor did we have any advance warning that the street would made inaccessible to access the street for several days as of 10/31.

As part of the work the city moved a private dumpster that was legally located on the east side of the street to the west to accommodate their work. Fine, these are emergency repairs and the street had a sinkhole so we can live with that. But then they just left it. This damn dumpster has been blocking the street for nearly two weeks now. Adding insult to injury parking is only restricted form 9-4 for private residential construction so when people park (legally) as this white car is both the garages and the hydrant are inaccessible. It is such a debacle. I have tried calling and have emailed the alderman’s office twice and only heard back to my first email -after a few days-saying that they’d check with the dumpster company to see how much longer it would be there. WTF? How about NOT ANY LONGER? Also, the number listed on the dumpster is disconnected. There are at least two 311 requests in but we are totally fed up. The city’s barricades are gone and but a memory but the dumpster remains.

We have been joking that perhaps we should put a giant bow on it and invite Alderman Clay to a ribbon cutting ceremony. Maybe that would work to get their attention?"

Friday, November 3, 2023

Another Fire Sweeps Through Lawrence Viaduct


The aftermath of yet another fire on the northside of the Lawrence Ave. viaduct under DSLSD.

Another fire has swept through the homeless encampment under DuSable Lake Shore Drive in the Lawrence viaduct.

CDOT will need to once again assess the damage and the structural integrity of the bridge above. You might recall our story back in September that shared an email from former Ald. Cappleman and the chief bridge engineer that stated that the life span of these bridges has been dramatically reduced from these fires (see below). 

So far, it has been "lather, rinse, repeat" with the city and current Ald. Clay has been very quiet. We fear that the only thing that will cause action is a lawsuit or an unfortunate loss of life. 

CDOT's assessment of the Wilson Avenue viaduct

Roots of Argyle Toppled As Demolition Begins At 1101-1107 W. Argyle

Fencing surrounds 1101 W. Argyle during demolition

We first heard of plans to convert the former Hoa Nam Grocery into a 6 story apartment building back in May. 

Even though demolition permits were issued back in April, the site was quiet until this week when we spotted construction fencing and demo crews on site. 

Hopefully those who enjoyed the "Roots of Argyle" mural were able to pay their respects as it was mostly demoed by Thursday evening.

According to the building permit, 16 apartments are planned in a new 6 story building on the southwest corner of Argyle & Winthrop with ground floor retail.  This is a TOD building due to the proximity to the Red Line station and only 8 parking spaces are included for residents. 

The building remains in the city's permitting process but received a new approval this month. We expect construction soon.

We are excited for more density on this strip. No rendering is available at this time so we are hoping for the best on a prominent corner!


Thursday, November 2, 2023

It's November. What's Happening with the Clark-Montrose TIF?


Way back in the last century (1999), civic leaders created a TIF district covering the length of Clark between Montrose and Foster

The Clark-Montrose TIF is set to expire in December 2023, after which business and property taxes from within the district will go to the City's general fund rather than be held for use in the specific district.

EDIT: After we went to press today, someone changed the TIF expiration on the City website to 2035. Before we published the story the expiration read "2023" and the linked report below still has the old 2023 date:  

We are unaware of when or how the TIF was extended and can find no ordinance to extend the TIF expiration and no communication from Alderwoman Clay's office regarding the change. [Ed. Note: A reader writes "the Clark Street TIF was extended to 2035 by City Council vote on November 1st. It apparently passed the Finance Committee the day before. There was no public notice I could find regarding the TIF extension."]

If we are reading the reports correctly, there are nearly $14 million dollars in the Clark Montrose TIF "bank" that are sitting unused with the expiration around the corner

With two months left on the clock, it's worth asking whether the Clark-Montrose TIF money is going to be used and more importantly, where is that money going to go?

Here at UU Headquarters we have been skeptics of TIFs since our team started this project in 2007. TIFs have a long history of fraud and abuse by public officials and friends who benefit from "access" to those funds. While TIFs can be used for good, it's probably a good thing that this TIF is set to expire. But there is a real opportunity here to use the $14 million dollars for the greater good of residents of Uptown. 

We saw the Clark-Montrose TIF money being used to benefit the neighborhood a year ago when funds were used for the new Courtenay playlot. There was an AIA award winning two year long study of the TIF district that resulted in a plan for the corridor, but nothing has come of the "Clark Street Crossroads" project so far. 

So dear readers, what do you think? As a reminder, the TIF money needs to be spent on capital improvements rather than things like social services

What should the $14 million in Clark-Montrose TIF be used for? 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Clark Street Protected Bike Lanes In Progress

Clark Street south of Montrose (Google)

From Ald. Martin's newsletter:

CDOT’s contractor aims to start construct a protected bike lane on Clark Street from Irving Park to Montrose. This work, which will involve the removal of parking along the cemetery, will create a curb-protected bike lane on the east side of Clark and parking-protected bike lane on the west side of Clark. It will also include several floating bus boarding islands, which will speed up bus speeds.

In related news:

Work will begin late next week on improvements to the intersection of Broadway and Winona, where a constituent was hit and killed by a driver earlier this year. The improvements will include a new refuge island in Broadway on the north leg of the intersection, curb extensions on the west side of the street, and a raised crosswalk across Winona west of Broadway. The bike lane on the west side will be raised up to sidewalk level for a stretch as well. I am thankful to Ald. Manaa-Hoppenworth for her office’s collaboration on this safety project that straddles the boundary between our wards.

"Friends of Brennemann" Needs Your Support

If you would like to support one of Uptown's local schools, Brennemann Elementary (4251 N. Clarendon), "Friends of Brennemann" could use your support!

Friends of Brennemann (FOB) recently received their 501C-3 status and have begun actively fundraising for projects like an atrium renovation (see flyer below) which has been greatly supported by local Uptown business Terrace - Chicago at Wilson & Beacon. They are also helping to raise funds for student field trips and a renovation of the teacher's lounge. To get involved, please email FOB at or visit their website.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Miss Catholic School? Our Lady of Lourdes to Become Apartments

4641 N. Ashland (Google)

The Our Lady of Lourdes school building at 4641 N. Ashland has been disused for many years now. Last home to the "Northwestern Institute of Health & Technology," the building was placed on the market by the Chicago Archdiocese for sale in April 2022.

We first learned that the building was under contract in late 2022 and can now reveal that Honore Properties is the new owner.

From what we know, the existing 20,000 sq ft. school building is being completely renovated into 42 new apartment units. Interior demolition has been ongoing since the first permits were issued in August.

4641 N. Ashland (view from Leland)

From what we hear, the existing parking lot (21,000 sq ft.) will be maintained for the time being as parking for the units. Potential expansion plans may follow in the future that could include one or more new buildings on the site. 

We at UU are all happy a vacant building will now be nice apartments overlooking Chase Park. We have also been keeping an eye on the conversion of the former Our Lady of Lourdes Convent at 4637 N. Ashland (below), which is mid-renovation as we write this. We are happy both properties will now be contributing to the tax rolls!

4637 N. Ashland

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Uptown's "Coast" Reborn

We told you in August 2022 about the ICA "Coast" programming that led the Chicago Park District to rethink an area of Lincoln Park just north of Wilson and south of Lawrence. 

Ohio Spiderwort (Chicago Park District Uptown Natural Coastal Area Website)

Called the Uptown Coastal Natural Area, the ambitious plan sought to replace a long and underused stretch of grass with native plants more typical of the former coast line of Lake Michigan.

Now the Uptown Coastal Natural Area is open to the public. Go and enjoy, and please heed the request that visitors stay on the paths and be kind to the new seedlings as the plants continue to settle in.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Say Hello To 'Solverre' At 4600 N. Marine

We passed by 4600 N. Marine today and noticed a crane is removing the construction elevator on the southwest corner of the building. There is also advertising on the construction fencing with the building's new name, "Solverre."

This is another building that looks more impressive in person than the renderings. The glass really sets off the building, especially on a sunny day!

The website for the building is live and you can check it out here.  The pool looks really cool overlooking Lincoln Park!

You can also follow their Facebook page here.

We can't wait to welcome the building's 300+ new residents soon. This building is so much better than an underused parking lot and after all the drama leading up to it, well worth the wait!

Saturday, October 7, 2023

"An Ode To Uptown" Sneakers Now Available in New Converse Collaboration

Eddie Oppong is a three-decade resident of Uptown and a sneaker designer who loves our amazing community.

He has created a capsule collection, "An Ode To Uptown," in conjunction with Converse, which are now available for purchase. This is Eddie's eleventh sneaker collaboration. (Sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies are also available.)

Check out the full collection here and purchase items here.

(Now that it's hoodie weather, we're definitely doing some shopping.)

Monday, October 2, 2023

Double Shooting On Argyle This Morning

Ald. Manaa-Hoppenworth sent out a public safety announcement via email this afternoon:

"Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 — At approximately 11:12am, there was a shooting incident at 1055 W Argyle. One victim was shot in the foot and another victim was shot in the leg. 

Both victims self-transported to the hospital and are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Seven shell casings were found on the ground. The suspect fled on foot.

Our office takes Public Safety very seriously and is working closely with the 20th District Police Department. 

CPD will be filling the area with additional police presence for the next few days. If you have information about this incident, please contact Area 3 Detectives Violent Crimes Division at 312-744-8261."