Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Major Changes Afoot As POAH Acquires 11 Voice of the People Buildings in Uptown

Longtime Uptown affordable housing provider VoP (Voice of the People in Uptown) has largely cashed out of the Uptown market, selling multiple buildings to Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a Boston-based "non-profit apartment investor," for $2.4 million plus $33.6 million in debt relief.

Last year, VoP also sold its long-time holding at 4431 N. Racine to a private developer for $950,000 after taking out a $1.6 million mortgage just three years prior.  The developer has since converted the property to market rate housing.

Ald. Cappleman is pleased with the latest sale, telling RE Journal "we are excited that POAH is preserving long-term affordability and bringing decades of experience to the Uptown community."

While VoP's website terms the sale a "Sponsored Development with Partners," and the press release says VoP "will remain an investor in the properties," it is unclear what that means in real terms.  The REJournal article suggests VoP will continue to provide "resident and community engagement services" for the buildings.

VoP will continue to own and manage three of its buildings (22 units) at 4861 N Kenmore, 4927 N Kenmore and 4409 N Racine. 

The eleven buildings, totaling 192 units, that are being sold to POAH are:
  • 4416-26 N Clifton (35 units)
  • 4431-41 N Clifton (18 units)
  • 4416-22 N Magnolia (24 units)
  • 4130 N Kenmore (14 units)
  • 4426 N Magnolia (6 units)
  • 912 W Montrose (6 units)
  • 847-49 W Sunnyside (12 units)
  • 852-54 W Sunnyside/4509-11 N Hazel (12 units)
  • 927 W Wilson (41 units)
  • 900-02 W Windsor/4534-40 N Hazel (18 units)
  • 4813 N Winthrop (6 units)
For its part, POAH adds these buildings to a portfolio of Chicago acquisitions, including buildings in Austin, Bridgeport, Grand Boulevard and Woodlawn, as well as two suburbs, Harvey and Elgin.  The article references that POAH has remained viable despite the pandemic, collecting greater than 90% of rents due.

Long-time residents may recall that VoP received Wilson Yard TIF funding of $5.9 million in 2011 for preservation of five of its buildings, and was designated as a TIF project manager for several other buildings in 2006.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Dock At Montrose Beach To Open This Week

photo courtesy of Enjoy Illinois

Some good news for fans of sun and sand: The Dock At Montrose Beach has gotten permission to open, as early as this week. Fingers are crossed for Thursday or Friday. 

It will, of course, adhere to all of Chicago's social distancing and COVID safety measures.

Bad news is, there are still no plans for the beaches to open.

But, you can be near the sand and waves, enjoying a cocktail or a meal.

Keep your eyes on the Dock's Facebook page and website for details.

Monday, July 27, 2020

First Annual 'Uptown Art Weekend' July 31- August 2

Join us Friday, July 31 - Sunday, August 2 for the Uptown Art Weekend!  This FREE event features over 100 pieces of public art including new works going up on walls around the neighborhood, art exhibits being hosted by local businesses, live paintings, and interactive art experiences for all ages.  You can use the event map to do a self-guided tour around Uptown featuring over 100 works of art:

We encourage all participants to wear a mask and remain socially distant while enjoying all of the public art Uptown has to offer!  Click here for a reminder on the steps you should take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.   This event has been designed to spread participants out over various parts of the neighborhood during each of the three days so that our neighbors and visitors can safely enjoy the artwork without gathering in crowds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

"Crema" Coming Soon To Wilson & Dover

1401 W. Wilson (Google)
If you were looking for a local shop in Sheridan Park to buy things like lotion, soaps, body scrubs, bath bombs you are in luck. If you would love some of those items to be infused with coffee, you're really in luck!

We'd like to officially welcome "Crema" who will be taking over the quaint retail space at 1401 W. Wilson, right on the SW corner of Wilson & Dover.

Crema's owner Fran Matos was born and raised in Puerto Rico and wanted to combine her love of soaps, scrubs, and great coffee and initially started her business online but has now decided to make Sheridan Park Crema's home. Three locally roasted coffee blends, including an "Uptown" blend will also be available with complimentary grinding.

Follow Crema on Facebook for an official opening date at 1401 W. Wilson or check out their website for a preview of items that will be available in their store.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Carlton Apartments Awarded Federal Tax Credits To Create Homeless/Special Needs Housing

Today the State of Illinois revealed the names of 21 developments that will receive federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to fund affordable housing throughout Illinois.

One of them is in Uptown. The Carlton Apartments, at 4626 North Magnolia, is a 1920s building that has been owned and operated by Mercy Housing since 1993.

According to the announcement, the vintage building "will be rehabilitated from 70 single room occupancy units into 68 studio apartments for individuals struggling with homelessness and/or residents with special needs. ... The credits will be used to modernize the units in the building, especially kitchens, bathrooms and common areas."

Each year, many organizations apply for the federal tax credits. This year there were only four developments in the city of Chicago that received them (and only 21 statewide). All units created by the program must remain affordable for a minimum of 30 years.

The tax credits awarded this year will create or preserve 1,188 units of  housing for low- to moderate-income families, seniors, veterans and persons with special needs.  In the past five years, the program has financed more than 18,600 units of affordable housing in the state and generated $1.7 billion in private capital.

You can read more about today's announcement here.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Still Many Questions, No Answers, On What's Happening With Uptown Fitness

There are still a whole lot of questions, and no real answers, about the future of Uptown Fitness.

What we do know is that the "business for sale" real estate listing has been removed.

WGN did some investigating and posted a story entitled "Uptown gym remains radio silent to members during pandemic."

It concludes: "WGN was finally able to get a hold of the owner. He’s been in the fitness industry for decades and didn’t give up any information on what’s going on.

He did ask us if we wanted to buy the gym. 

As the gym remains closed, some members are filing complaints with the attorney general."

Kahn Job! Meet The New Maynard

A reader sent in these photos and says, "What a difference a bit of TLC makes. The former Kahn building is now The Maynard at 5101 N. Sheridan Apts."

While there's not a whole lot that can be done to change the looks of a 4+1, this is a very nice job of updating the exterior.

You can read more about this renovated property at its website. It is owned by CLK Properties and is in the 48th Ward.

Dispensary 33 Gets OK For Zoning Change That Would Enable Expansion

from Ald. Martin's latest newsletter:

"5001-09 N. CLARK - APPROVED.  Alderman Martin is approving the rezoning of the property from C1-2 to C2-2 to allow Dispensary 33 to expand into the next storefront to the north.

The zoning change is necessary pursuant to the city’s Cannabis Ordinance, which requires C2 zoning for recreational dispensaries, whereas Dispensary 33 opened as a medical dispensary and was grandfathered in as a recreational dispensary with the existing zoning at the start of the year.

This zoning change will not lead to any change in the footprint of the building itself.

Indoors, the business will increase their square footage from 2,100 sf to 3,400 sf, allowing them to expand their in-coming waiting room and add an outgoing waiting room as well.

This proposal received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community, as well as support from the local block clubs and chamber of commerce.

Alderman Martin’s office continues to explore solutions to traffic safety concerns at this intersection, in partnership with local groups and the Department of Transportation."

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Sunnyside Mall Makes "Fetch" Happen

If you have a "very good boy" or "very good girl" who enjoys the Sunnyside Mall, it just got even better!

Pick up or donate a good throwin' stick at this new box located west of the intersection of Malden and Sunnyside.

Update: Our good neighbor Wayne Johnson is responsible for this! Check out his video.

Missing 32-Year-Old Woman Last Seen in Uptown (Update: LOCATED)

Update: CPD released a statement on Sunday, July 19th, that Ms. Bravo has been located.

Original Post: Emily Bravo, age 32, was reported missing on Thursday, July 16th. She was last seen around 2pm in the area of Argyle and Broadway.

She is 5'8" and weighs 200 lbs. She was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt; brown pants with pink, yellow, and grey stripes; and pink gym shoes. Her hair was in braided pigtails.

She has brown eyes and black hair.

If you can help the detectives locate her, please call 911 or the Special Victims Unit at (312) 746-8255.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Building Demolition on Argyle For Next Two Weeks

Starting Tuesday, July 14th, and running through Friday, July 24th, CTA will be demolishing the building at 1124 West Argyle, as part of the Red/Purple Line renovations.

Work will run 7am to 5pm daily, and will impact Argyle and the alley behind 5001-5069 Broadway.

According to CTA, local impact will be felt in these ways:
  • The alley behind 5001-5069 N. Broadway will be closed (24/7) for the duration of the work activity.
  • The sidewalk on the north side of W. Argyle Street will be closed within the work zone and a walkway will be established for pedestrian access. 
  • The parking lane on the north side of W. Argyle Street will be closed within the work zone.
  • The contractor will maintain garbage pickup.
  • The contractor will implement the necessary dust mitigation procedures.
  • There will be noise while work is being performed, including:
  • General demolition noise
  • Running air compressors, excavators, and generators
  • Use of pneumatic and gas/impact tools
  • Truck traffic
  • Beeping from backup alarms on maintenance equipment and vehicles
  • Materials disposal

Learn About The Prep Work For The Three-Year Red/Purple Line Rebuild Plan Tuesday Night

CTA will holding a virtual Town Hall on Tuesday, July 14th, 6pm-7pm, to inform residents about the prep work for the massive three-year rebuild of the tracks and stations between Leland and Bryn Mawr, beginning in early 2021.

The prep work involves the areas around Montrose and Thorndale.

"Join us for updates on pre-stage Red and Purple Line track work happening in 2020 near Thorndale and Montrose.

Learn what we are doing, how it will affect CTA service and the local community, and ways we have planned work to be efficient and ease some of the impacts on you.
  • Project updates
  • New condensed schedule for pre-stage work
  • Impacts to Red, Purple Line service and the community

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CDT

Click Here to Register"

Monty and Rose Now Have Offspring: Hazel, Esperanza, and Nish

"Hazel." -- Photo is from the Chicago Piping Plovers website,
which tells you all you want to know about Monty and Rose and their adventures.

Monty and Rose, the rare and famous piping plovers for whom Montrose Beach was partially vacated last year so their babies could hatch, are once again new parents. They returned to the beach in 2020, and four new plover-ettes hatched on June 18th, three of whom have survived.

The Chicago Audubon Society, the Illinois Ornithological Society, and the Chicago Ornithological Society sponsored a contest to name the newbies, and the winning entries were announced this weekend:
  • HAZEL, in honor of Hazel M. Johnson, an environmental activist who lived in Altgeld Gardens. Along with a young activist named Barack Obama, she fought and succeeded in having asbestos removed from Altgeld Gardens. She is known as the Mother of the environmental justice movement.
  • ESPERANZA, meaning "hope," is a reminder that even in troubled times like 2020, there is still perseverance in the face of long odds, like those faced by the piping plovers. Monty and Rose have added five new plovers to their species' dwindling numbers, which is a pretty hopeful sign for a group that was down to only 70 or so mating pairs last year.
  • NISH, "to honor the Potowatomi heritage of our region. Nish was selected to highlight the direct relationship and contributions of The Council of the Three Fires (Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Odawa) to what is now modern-day Chicago.  Nish is a colloquial expression for Nishnabe’k (Potawatomi) and Anishinaabe (Ojibwa and Odawa)." 
All the chicks have been banded so they can be tracked through their migration.

You can read the press release by the CAS here.

The summer is still young, and who knows? Monty and Rose may just add to their winning streak and have another nest full. It's not like anyone is there to interrupt the love birds.