Monday, December 5, 2022

Got Ideas to Replace One of Uptown's Ugliest Corners? Attend Uptown United's December 14th eTOD Meeting.

Wednesday, December 14, Uptown United and the 46th Ward office will host an open session to discuss site development in Uptown under the City's new eTOD ordinance.

The session will be by Zoom and takes place from 6pm to 8pm

Attendance is open to all and can be accessed at this link.

In particular, there is interest in the sites around the new Wilson CTA Station, including the, um, uninspired strip mall shown in the graphic above. 

Per their flyer, the Ward office and Uptown United want to hear from the community in shaping a vision for these sites, and the results of the study will be used to help with future development in Uptown.

If you are committed to continuing to improve Uptown for all, please plan to attend!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Entrepreneur, or Know One? Excellent Opportunity Available At 4437 N. Broadway

4437 N. Broadway (@properties listing)

One of Uptown's most interesting (and beautiful) buildings at 4437 N. Broadway is on the market for just under $750,000.

The building, which is just a block and a half south of the upcoming Double Door and a short walk from The Baton, Green Mill, the Riviera and the Aragon, comes complete with an existing restaurant / bar build-out. 

Old-timers might recall this space as several different restaurants and bars, most notably "The Spot," which was a real loss when it closed. It was later known as Decibel Bar (the current sign) and a few other names, all of which closed. 

The building was built in 1919 and was originally home to Skeeles Biddle & Rockefeller, undertakers, and J. Weinstein & Son, undertakers.  The faint outline of the word "CHAPEL" is still visible above the entrance.

This was on the market several years ago for a short time, but nothing came of the sale. The building was recently foreclosed on after multiple months of trying to locate the owners, leading to the current sale. 

According to the listing, the space has a full commercial kitchen with 2000 square feet on the first floor with an additional 2,000 square feet on the second floor. The Spot used the upstairs space for comedy and music shows. The basement features an additional 1350 square feet of storage space (or other, you decide!).

You can view the listing here. 

Be sure to pass this along to any entrepreneur you know! This is a beautiful building and a space we would love to see filled with a restaurant or bar!


Help Local Students Get Holiday Gifts This Year

The teachers and staff of Courtenay Language Arts Center, Sheridan Park's K-8 school, are trying to make sure that each of their students gets a gift this holiday season, and are asking for your help!

  • You can take a look at the school's Amazon wishlist (here) and order from it, OR
  • You can show up at My Buddy's (4416 N Clark) this Saturday between 2pm and 6pm and read through the students' requests, take a letter, and "adopt a student" for the holidays.

Sadly, the majority of students at Courtenay come from low-income families, and about a fifth are homeless. There's absolutely no guarantee that there will be gifts for them during the holiday season. If you would like to help the faculty and staff make a difference for their students, please reach out and help if you are able.

Thank you! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Munno's Going Away... And Coming Back

We've so enjoyed having the wonderful Italian cuisine of Munno right here in the neighborhood. The fact that it's been Michelin-rated twice is a testament to its good food and good value.

Nothing goes on forever, and Munno is no exception. We were sad to read it will be closing -- but relieved to read it will be re-opening just a few weeks later with a new vision and a new manager.

Hurry by before Christmas to eat the food you know and love, and check it out in 2023 to see what's new!

Monday, November 28, 2022

It's Petition Day!

We have a better look now at who's interested in being our next aldermen and members of the community who form three-member police councils at our local police districts.

Monday, November 28th, at 5pm, was the deadline for candidates for City of Chicago offices to file their nominating petitions with the Board of Elections to appear on the ballot in February's election.

This is who's filed in Uptown (in alphabetical order by ward/district):

46th Ward

47th Ward
48th Ward

Council Member, Chicago Police Department, 19th District (all of Uptown South of Lawrence)Council Member, Chicago Police Department20th District (all of Uptown North of Lawrence)Once the petitions are all in, the Board of Elections will check them to make sure they are formatted correctly and adhere to the BoE's standards.

But wait, there's more! It ain't over until it's over. 

Any citizen in a ward can challenge a candidate's petitions or eligibility. For example, a candidate can be challenged if s/he owes the City of Chicago any money (old parking tickets, etc.) Petitions can be challenged for having too few valid signatures (people who signed multiple petitions for the same office, for example). 

The deadline for submitting challenges is December 5th, and then they are ruled upon by an independent arbiter.

It's always exciting to see what the final ballot looks like in comparison to who's filed petitions. Stay tuned!

The Heat Is On! Chicago Fire Returns To Buena Park To Film. Note Parking Restrictions

Friday, November 25, 2022

Going Up! 73-Unit All-Affordable Rental Building Is Being Built At Record Speed

Projection of finished building
Brinshore / Landon Bone Architects

Stephens Commons, the 100% affordable apartment building for seniors being built at 835 West Wilson, has been a lot of fun to watch due to the speed at which construction is progressing.

It's made of precast concrete slabs, assembled on-site, which are being formed into an L shape.

It will consist of 73 units, all classified as affordable. 20 units will be set aside for tenants earning 30% or less of the Average Median Income (AMI), 34 units will go to tenants earning 60% or less of the AMI, and 19 units will go to those earning 80% or less of the AMI.

The building will be six stories tall, and will have 10 studio apartments, 49 one-bedrooms, and 14 two-bedrooms.

The lot on which it is being built has been vacant for nearly 50 years.

Stop by next time you're in the area. It's fun to watch it come together.

"ICold Tea & Coffee" Opening Soon At 1122 W. Wilson

1122 W. Wilson (Uptown Update)

The retail space at 1122 W. Wilson that hosted Uptown Donuts and was most recently home to the short-lived (but good!) Uptown Underdawg will reopen soon as a new concept featuring Vietnamese coffee and food. 

Despite a lot of promise given the presence of the Truman College Campus and the Red Line station steps away, COVID has hit the businesses here hard with the normal student population way down and only slowly returning to prior levels. Things should tick up a bit with new residential and retail on its way soon in early 2023 at 4611 N. Broadway and 4600 N. Kenmore,

Not much background available on the new venture, but judging by the signage, "ICold Coffee & Tea" will feature banh mi sandwiches, Vietnamese spring rolls and smoothies, as well as coffee and tea. It also looks like the interior has been freshened up a bit. 

No social media presence as of now but keep an eye on this space as according to the sign, opening day is imminent! We look forward to seeing a business flourish in this space long term!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Sale of Weiss Hospital Approved, Transition Expected to Begin on December 2nd

It was announced today that Resilience Healthcare and Ramco Healthcare Holdings, LLC has reached an agreement to purchase Weiss Memorial Hospital from Pipeline Health System, LLC, with the effective date of the first phase projected to be December 2nd.

In a process that was slowed by community fears of Weiss being closed and Pipeline declaring bankruptcy, the transition of ownership will take several months.

On December 2nd, Resilience is expected to take over the operations of Weiss Hospital and the medical office building adjacent to Weiss. This will ensure no break in the continuity of care for patients, hospital employees, and physicians.

According to a statement announcing the sale, "Phase two of the sale contemplates Ramco purchasing the real estate associated with the Chicago medical facilities and is expected to close in the next few months."

The entire announcement can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Double Door Finally Ready to Take Flight

If we only had a nickel for each of the messages we've received on the Double Door since we broke news in December 2018 that the iconic club/music venue was reopening in Uptown, we'd be pretty rich by now! 

There has been intermittent interior work over the last year, but courtesy Urbanize Chicago, we now can share that the rehab plan for the Double Door was finally approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which means rehabilitation and construction can start in earnest.

1050 W. Wilson (Urbanize Chicago / Double Door / Barker Nestor Architects)

Some of the details here were known, and others only emerged as the proposal moved through Landmarks. We warned back in July 2021 that things might take time, and nearly a year and a half later, here we are.

The building is the former Wilson Avenue Theater, which opened in 1909 and became a bank in 1919. The location housed various banks for close to 100 years, and has been empty as the Double Door's owners have negotiated the permitting process. The building sits in the Uptown Square Historic District and was subject to review by the landmarks division.

Plans (photos above and below, details at the Urbanize link above) show a restored front facade and entrance, with significant rehabilitation being done of the original details along with new windows, a reworked Double Door sign that pays homage to the original*, and a marquee canopy in front. 

While you're here, check out great photos of the old theater and bank at the Cinema Treasures "Wilson Avenue Theater" link as well.

1050 W. Wilson (Urbanize Chicago / Double Door / Barker Nestor Architects)

It's been a long time, but this plan looks amazing and will be a great addition to the gorgeous new streetwall on the north side of Wilson between Kenmore and Broadway.

*We are aware that the original sign is in good hands and remain optimistic that it will play a role in the new theater.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Ald. Cappleman Responds To "Bring Chicago Home" Ordinance Criticism

On Monday, the City Council put on the agenda a vote on the "Bring Chicago Home" Ordinance, which if passed would put an additional tax on the sale of high-priced properties in Chicago. The money raised would support shelter and support for unhoused people in the city.

With 25 aldermen missing the special meeting, the vote did not take place as there was not a quorum. One of those missing was Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward), who was roundly criticized for his absence. In today's newsletter, he explains his non-appearance and his feelings about the ordinance (of which he is a co-sponsor)


On Monday, a few of my colleagues used Rule 41 to force a vote on the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance that would place a referendum on the February 28 ballot that calls for a raise in the real estate transfer tax for properties valued at $1M or more. 

The use of Rule 41 is unusual because it skips being heard in its assigned committee and goes straight to the entire City Council body. When this occurs, a 2/3 vote is required to have it pass, which would be 34 City Council members. 

I was not able to attend Monday’s meeting due to a prior appointment, but a vote was not called because the City Council did not reach the minimum 26 Aldermen for quorum. At yesterday’s City Council meeting, this ordinance was not brought up for a vote. 

I have been a co-sponsor of this ordinance because I agree with my colleagues that we need to find ways to fund additional units for residents experiencing homelessness. I have been frustrated that this matter has been in limbo for over two years, with neither side compromising to allow this ordinance to move forward. 

I also strongly believe that every proposed ordinance needs to be assessed for unintended consequences. When analyzing this ordinance with colleagues, I recently learned there’s a 19% vacancy rate in our downtown office buildings due to COVID, and now 10% of these buildings are in foreclosure. I have also heard concerns that these fees will be transferred to renters in residential building sales, causing their rents to go up. 

This goes directly against the intentions of this ordinance, which aims to improve housing access and stability for all Chicagoans. My colleagues and I have an obligation to understand the full picture of Chicago’s fragile real estate market before we make any decision on where we stand. We need a comprehensive study on the exact revenue and potential consequences this increased real estate transfer tax would have in a post-Covid working world before any decisions are made.

I believe that this ordinance has the potential to be a win-win solution for both our City’s housing needs and tax base, but that requires negotiations and further investigation to address the possible serious unintended consequences. 

Good legislators must be good negotiators, so I will continue to encourage my colleagues to negotiate in good faith to make this a win-win solution. Housing is a human right, and we must do everything possible to help those who have no place to call their home."

ICA Greenrise Building Gets Funds For Major Update

photo courtesy of the website

From the City after Wednesday's City Council meeting:


Uptown’s century-old ICA Greenrise building at 4750 N. Sheridan Road will undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation through $2 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance approved by City Council today.

The $20.7 million project will include HVAC and mechanical system replacements, terra cotta and masonry repairs, lobby improvements and ground floor tenant upgrades.

The project is anticipated to create more than 110 permanent jobs and retain 250 existing positions employed by more than a dozen tenants. The 130,000-square-foot, classical revival style building was  built in 1921 as the headquarters of the Mutual Insurance Co. 

Designated a City landmark in 2013, it is today the largest social service center in the Midwest, home to multiple nonprofit organizations serving more than 1,000 clients weekly."

If you go way back in Uptown, you may remember it as the Kemper Insurance Building. Kemper donated the building to the Institute of Cultural Affairs in 1972.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Thanksgiving Healing Corner Returns November 24

An annual tradition continues. A message from The Healing Corner about the upcoming event:

Every year, The Healing Corner partners with UBC to host a brunch for the community. This event traditionally comes together like a potluck style, so if you want to bring something, please let us know! We also need boxes of joe or hot chocolate. In addition, we distribute winter gear and toiletries. If you have any gently used winter coats, especially mens, we will gladly accept the morning of or can coordinate early drop offs. Just message our page.

We look forward to seeing new and returning volunteers who can make it out Thanksgiving morning!

Please RSVP here if you can make it:

Here's a wish list below as we still need many of the items we plan to distribute Thanksgiving morning!

Thank you!