Friday, September 14, 2007

Lawrence House on the Block

The once-beautiful art deco building known as the Lawrence House in the 1000 block of West Lawrence is being put up for sale by its current owners. The current owners indicate that the building is in need of significant renovation.

Read about it in Crain's Chicago Business.


  1. That's awesome hope it gets renovated in condos or torn down. I am so glad I am so close to lawrence.

  2. Yep... we need change in that area! Let's hope this is a good sign of things to come!

  3. I think now Jim's development might move forward with CVS. They had expressed interest in the groud floor lease.

  4. I live about a 1 1/2 blocks from the Lawrence House, and have for the last five years. Personally, I've never had problems with that building or its tenants. I've met some rather nice retired folks who live there, and it has a pretty good pharmacy.

    Communities do need a mix of rental properties and owner-occupied properties, so I wouldn't mind seeing it remain apartments. Besides, I'm not sure how you would convince people to buy into a condo building without parking.

  5. Tear it down and build a new condo development we have enough damn rentals/old folks/sro's.

    Should old people move to the burbs?

  6. "Should old people move to the burbs?"

    No. They should live wherever they are comfortable and choose to live, within their means. It's sad that so many of them will have to find new apartments, but you can't blame the owners for getting out of a bad financial situation.

    By the way, lots of condo buildings don't have parking. Maybe people who need parking should move to the suburbs.

  7. It's easy to say "go live in the suburbs if you need a car," but it's not always practical.

    I drive my car about once a week, if that. Uptown's very walkable, so that's how I get to places like Jewel. I'm at the point where I'm considering getting rid of it altogether and using Zip cars for errands. But honestly, I do love my car, and most of my family lives outside of the city, in far suburbs and towns not accessible to public transportation, so on those few occasions when I do need my car, I'm glad to have it.

    It's true lots of condo buildings don't have parking. It's also true that new condo buildings in Chicago must create parking to accommodate the residents. Older buildings being converted aren't held to the same standard. But if you convert a building such as the Lawrence House, currently at 372 units (although it will probably have fewer after a conversion), you're going to have to realistically anticipate the addition of hundreds of cars to the neighborhood, and plan for where they're going to go.

  8. If you accomodate cars, you will get more cars. This conversation never comes up in New York, where parking is rare in all new development. I think the city should ask developers for donations to the CTA in lieu of parking requirements.

  9. And they also pay millions of dollars for 1200 square foot apartments and pretend that that's something all because it's on some smelly Manhattan street.

    I'm sorry, but this is Chicago. And this is Uptown. Unless you are going to offer people an incredible bang for their buck, I just don't see how you do any sort of upscale conversion on this place without addressing parking in some way.

    Now they have that little park space between them and St. Thomas, but I'm not sure if that could really support a small structure for the building.

  10. There will be parking right across the street on the surface lot where the Aragon people park. Jim that owns it is builidng a few hundred car garage. So parking would be a non issue. A lot of the high rises have parking structures and the tenants never own the parking it alway a monthly lease.

  11. There is no way that Jim's project is being approved to be parking for a condo building.

    I can't believe that that is even being suggested as a solution. There is no way that it could support the parking needs of a 300+ unit high rise.


  12. Another rather large, mostly empty lot is directly across the street from St. Thomas. The church could make a nice penny selling or leasing the land for a parking garage, and arrange to have parking set aside in the structure for church services.

    Of course, I'm not sure how people would feel about a parking structure right on Kenmore. Just throwing it out there...

  13. For the record his project is being approved for a few hundred spaces. Not specifically for that project. I was just saying with parking in the area they would be more likely to approve zoning for that building to go condo with out parking.


    And the building hasn't even sold yet so it's all pre-mature at this point to really get that upset about it or care.

  14. And all I am saying is that whomever would approve that building to go condo with no parking on the basis of Jim's parking lot (a lot where the spaces are designed to serve the Aragon and traffic to the stores and movie theaters, not residents of a new condo building) would be an idiot.

  15. Were you at the meeting for Jim's new development? He talked about having some of the parking leased monthly.

  16. It's hard to tell who's arguing against who with all of the anonymous posting... It almost seems like one of our metally ill Uptown neighbors having a conversation with himself on the street, since each post is labeled "anonymous". I agree with the Uptown Updater that allowing anonymous posting has certainly added more activity to the site!

  17. Uptown is what it has always been and always will be. It is a place that has homeless, mentally ill, panhandlers, etc. You knew it when you moved here. Not one of you can say you did not notice the neighborhood when you came to look at the house/condo. Now you want to change it all because "those people" lower your property value. Uptown is one of the most diverse communities in Chicago and I love it for that. If you don't like it---MOVE! You have the resources that the other people (homeless, mentally ill, etc) don't. I am so sick of seeing great building being torn down to make more overly expensive condos. Soon we will have to change the name of our city from Chicago to ChiCONDO!

  18. How did a story about the possible selling of a beautiful architectural building and the possible displacement of over 200 people turn into an arguement over parking? And for the person who wrote to tear it down and build condos because there are enough rentals/Oldfolks/SRO's ---WHAT!!!??? How do you get to choose who lives where? What would happen if they banded together and stated that you are to snobbish to live there? I know a lady there who has lived there since 1969. You have more right to ask her to leave her home because why???--Condo owners should not be mad at the true people of Uptown because they got caught up in the double speak of Helen Shiller. She has been talking out of both sides of her mouth sinec I knew her in the 80's. She tells COndo buyers what she is doing to "remove" the homless from Uptown BUT on election day, she is the one sending out her volunteers to take the homeless as well as the mentally ill that live in those buildings to vote. I like what was said above---Chicondo!

  19. Uptown is what it has always been and always will be. It is a place that has homeless, mentally ill, panhandlers, etc.

    Um, no. It is YOU who needs to learn a history lesson, little buckaroo.

    Who do you think built all these beautiful hundred-plus-year-old buildings, like the Bridgeview Bank, Lawrence House, the Uptown Broadway Building, what is now Borders, and all the lovely old apartment buildings? The homeless? The mentally ill? The panhandlers? Helen Shiller?

    No, my short-sighted friend, the hardworking immigrants (mostly German) who settled this area built them.

    Why do you think the biggest, most ornate movie theatre in the entire COUNTRY was built here in 1925? (That would be the Uptown, since you don't have any sense of history.) Why was this area known as Uptown, a synomyn for "classy"? Why were the Green Mill, the Aragon Ballroom, and six other theatres/ballrooms all here and drawing folks from all over the city in the 1920s? Because Al Capone and his gang were homeless panhandlers?

    Nope, Uptown was the glittering place to be seen and spend your hard-earned money.

    Who lived here in the 1930s and 1940s? Hardworking families who respected the neighborhood and made it a great place to grow up.

    Uptown started to decline economically in the late 1950s and became affordable for Appalachians and American Indians, then immigrants. Still, hardworking folks who took pride in their community (see Argyle Street for an example of that).

    It wasn't until the 1970s, when landlords started to burn their properties for profit, and then exacerbated by Reagan releasing the mentally ill from government care, that we got the lovely mixture of panhandlers, mentally ill and homeless come in.

    Then, of course, Alderman Shiller ("give me every single person who's needy in the entire city of Chicago so I can keep them oppressed, use them to keep me in office, make myself feel needed and keep them dependent on the government teat for the rest of their lives... or until I'm out of office") swept in to complete the picture in the late 1980s.

    Neighborhoods change. It would be weird and anomalous if Uptown didn't. When I was growing up, Wrigleyville was a creepy place. Lincoln Park was full of gangs. Clybourn Corridor was empty lots and abandoned warehouses. Old Town was hippie-ville, then porno-ville. 20 years later... completely different.

    So, my little history-challenged friend, hold onto your hat and watch Uptown change. Again. And, if you live long enough, again. And again. And again....

    Even Helen Shiller's proletariat theories can't stop the flow of capitalism.

  20. I agree with CARING NEIGHBOR on the history lesson for the anonymous poster of "Uptown is what has been and always will be..." but as a I just finished commenting on another subject on the Uptown Update, I believe then name calling was uncalled for. Did they need a history lesson? YES! Did they need to be called "little buckaroo", "short sided friend", or "history-challenged friend"?? No, they just needed someone to help educate them. I am just trying to get people to not ridicule others for their opinions, but educate them. I love that people are commenting and getting involved and would hate to have someone not comment for fear of others responses. Thanks Caring Neighbor the the history lesson though---very insightfull