Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gill Park Co-op Fire

The Gill Park Co-operative in the southern part of the 46th ward at Broadway and Grace caught on fire this afternoon.

See the story in the Chicago Tribune, photo from
Update: According to ABC7, many residents in this building reporting hearing NO FIRE ALARM and one resident found out his building was actually burning by seeing it live on the news.


  1. Last year, all highrises were required to turn in documentation that showed they met fire safety standards per the Fire Safety Ordinance. Now how the hell did no alarms get missed?

  2. Isn't 810 Grace that section 8 hi-rise that has the infamous Hotel Chateau as it's next door neighbor on Broadway? That block of Broadway is pretty funky for being south of Irving.

  3. the City needs to mandate Sprinklers in all buildings at least in the hallways and stairwells.

  4. As a condo-owner...I really don't want to have to pay the cost for sprinklers. That would be a HUGE special assessment. It's enough that we have to install alarms by 2012.

  5. condo owner:

    I guess you would rather die or have other's die in fires.

  6. Gill Park Coop was originally a HUD-bullt rental property. Then, it became a HUD owned Section 8 project property, i.e. an entire building 100% devoted to Section 8 rental tenants. Then, HUD sold the building to the tenants who now own the building in co-op form.

    HUD provides 1% loans for the tenants to buy their units, thus keeping mortage payments locked down to $400-$500 per month. Co-op form allows the bylaws to exclude ownership by all persons above a certain income level, thus keeping out market rate competition for the property.

    The City of Chicago provides additional annual funding and tenant training.

    Thus, the low income tenants as joint coop property owners are the parties liable for fire ordidance violations. And, the Federal and City agency lenders and investors who finance the property dropped the ball in not making sure their financing in the Co-op was not at risk.

    Want to bet all these fire violations get swept under the rug?
    It will be hard given that tenants were on TV saying that there have never been fire drills or training and none of the alarms when off, but I bet the City won't let itself get embarrassed by this.

  7. Too bad it wasn't the building where the old Marigold Bowl was. That thing is ugly.

  8. Yes, I never understood how two highrises (Gill Park and the Marigold replacement)could be built so close together under local zoning when they are that far from Lake Shore Drive.

  9. I didn't say I wouldn't WANT sprinklers. We don't even have alarms right now (other than the stick up kind) as the developer who converted the building to condos did absolutely nothing to improve the building that wasn't cosmetic. I know that we are required by the city to put in a central alarm system by 2012, but there are no laws for sprinklers in older buildings. Actually the alarm system is something that is only required now because of the county building fire downtown several years ago. This as well as upgrading elevators for better fire control, etc. Believe me. I want alarms...but everything costs money and a lot of it. Something that everyone doesn't have.

  10. Well the biggest problem with sprinklers costing so much in Chicago is the corruption that will come with them.

  11. The Gill Park Coop received nearly $2.3 million federal dollars in 2006 in the form of HUD Direct Payments (both specified and unrestricted).
    The HUD funding was in the form of 14.195: Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments / Program_Special Allocations $2,346,549 and 14.197: Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act Funds $-53,933

    Similarly, in 2006 Twin Towers on Clarendon and Wilson received $$2,407,632 adn 4640 N Sheridan received $1,544,638 in HUD payments.

    By comparison, Cook County only received $1,926,114 in Federal Funds in 2006.

    With that kind of federal financial support, one would think that the coop would have working fire alarms.


    That makes Gill Park Coop alone a larger recipient that all of Cook County, which only received in Federal Funds.


    Fiscal Year: 2006
    Federal dollars: $2,292,616
    Total number of recipients: 1
    Total number of transactions: 5