Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Wilson Yard Dream

A blighted neighborhood in Washington D.C., Columbia Heights, recently became home to the first Target store in the District. A renewal and redevelopment project for the neighborhood, named DC USA, created a pedestrian-friendly development for the neighborhood.

This is the description from the developer: "DC USA is a 540,000 square foot retail and entertainment complex being developed on the west side of 14th Street between Park Road and Irving Street in Columbia Heights. The dramatic three-story complex will be anchored by the 2-level Target of approximately 180,000 square feet and will include high quality specialty retailers, larger big box uses, restaurants and various other entertainment and recreational uses in an architecturally distinguished structure. Other large tenants will include Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Marshalls, Staples and Washington Sports Club. DC USA will enhance the shopping and entertainment opportunities currently available in the District. DC USA is a pedestrian-oriented retail destination where most of the stores will be entered directly from the street. The 4.9 acre site has 500 feet of frontage along 14th Street, 225 feet along Park Road and 500 feet along Irving Street."

See an article from Forbes about the significance of this project.

The most startling aspect - it was proposed in 2004 and completed in early 2008! Wilson Yard - proposed in 2003 and construction not even started in 2008 with 2010 as the latest projected opening date.


  1. Bravo, Uptown Update! For anyone interested in learning more about TIFs (and related issues) check out www.ncbg.org. (Neighborhood Capital Budget Group.) I haven't read everything on their site but from what I read they are doing some high-quality research.

    On another note, I am thinking about organizing some kind of community conference here in Uptown that would bring expert speakers who could address some of the issues that we are facing. We really need to get residents more educated about the issues so that we can work together for change. Knowledge is power. Any topic suggestions?

  2. I just dont think that Schillerbeast has it in her to, even acidentally, do anything that benefits or improves Uptown. Unless it's another liquor store or day labor company, something as great as a Target and all that comes with it will be snuffed out by her blackened corrupted soul.
    The day we get a Pam Zeckman type to crack open the vault of corruption that is her entire family - Uptown will rejoice.

  3. Great idea! How about getting the politicians who want to crack the nut open on TIF abuse? Mike Quigley, Ald. Scott Waguespack and State Rep. John Fitchey are working for TIF reform. That would be a huge victory for TIF-paying citizens!

  4. Quigley, as passionate as he is, will NEVER step on any alderman's toes. Never, not ever.

  5. MJ - I'm sorry to report that the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group is no longer doing any research. It ceased operations in February 2007. However, the website is still live.

    For folks interested in learning more about TIFs, the Clerk's office also has info on line. Mike Quigley's report, "A Tale of Two Cities" is A1. Mike will be at the Lincoln Park DFA meeting on March 13 to talk about TIFs.

    There is an archive of really good articles about TIFs written by Ben Jovarsky at the Reader.

    Finally, there is a meeting tonight you may be interested in — Eminent Domain: Another Year's Experience Under Kelo

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008
    Lincoln Restaurant
    4008 N. Lincoln Avenue
    6:30pm: Cocktails and/or dinner
    7:30pm: Program starts

    Imre Hidvegi, founder of Save Lincoln Square and co-owner of Chicago Soccer
    John Tillman, CEO, Illinois Policy Institute
    Alderman Gene Schulter, 47th Ward (invited)

    The host, Christina Walsh of the
    Castle Coalition, requests that you please RSVP by sending an e-mail to TownhallChicago@aol.com

  6. You're leaving out the BIGGEST part of Shiller's vision for Wilson Yard. What's on the corner of Montrose and Broadway in Shiler and Holsten's personal plan?

    What should be the showcase for a remarkable retail setting becomes...

    Towers of low income housing.
    The low income housing starts at Broadway and Montrose, then snakes it's way all the way up to Sunnyside. On Montrose, the low-income housing is all there is to the El tracks.

    Two very good senior housing providers saw the problems and said, no thank you, we're out.

    How does a community survive when low income housing has to be part of every single development?

    We tear down Cabrini Greene, we tear down Robert Taylor Homes and yet we somehow lose sight of how these monstrocities destroy people and their communities when you come to Uptown.

    Shame on Shiller, shame on Daley.

  7. I have been trying to find the actual data from the referendum on affordable housing. Does anyone know where to look?

    Some people eat raw fish. I eat raw data.

  8. What does the community want enough so that they would be willing to engage in a boycott of the Target at Wilson yards? Although many people shop at Target, one of their most lucrative types of shopper is someone who can afford to shop elsewhere but comes in for toilet paper and ends up buying some Mizrahi shoes and a Thomas O'Brien lamp on a whim. Given that during the process of this development Target has opened successful stores on Peterson and in the South Loop, they have to be counting on a certain amount of local demand from those types of shoppers to justify opening up another store. What would happen if those shoppers suddenly disappear from the equation? As for me, I do shop at those other stores and have found them (as well as Target's online shopping) to meet my needs for those kinds of purchases.

  9. For Condo Maki. Check out www.uncchicago.org and look under Wilson Yard. Ton of documentation.