Thursday, August 28, 2008

Time Out Chicago Visits "Fix Wilson Yard"

Permission to land? The years-long debate over the redevelopment of Wilson Yard heats up.
By Jake Malooley Photograph by Matthew Taplinger
Time Out Chicago / Issue 183 : Aug 28–Sep 3, 2008

Though the flames that destroyed Uptown's Wilson Yard bus barn were quelled in 1996, the debate over the redevelopment of the semivacant land bordered by Broadway, Montrose Avenue and CTA Red Line tracks south of Wilson Station has never been more fiery.

Following an appellate court ruling in July in downstate Belleville allowing citizens to sue municipalities for abuse of tax-increment-financing (TIF) districts, a determined group of Uptown residents called Fix Wilson Yard has begun hosting community meetings to raise money for a lawsuit against the city, citing abuse of the TIF plan that's funding the Wilson Yard redevelopment.

Read the rest of the article here. (Bonus points for seeing just how many seconds it takes Jamiko Rose of O.N.E. to play the race and NIMBY cards!)


  1. Correctly name the movie this line comes from and I'll whip out my checkbook for Wilson Yard....again.

    First commenter only. Make it count.

    IrishPirate: [on grandstand to the torch and pitchfork carrying townfolks]

    "Excuse me while I whip this out."
    [reaches into waistline as crowd gasps and screams; IrishPirate pulls out checkbook, they sigh with relief]

  2. Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little.

    It's Headley.

  3. "My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention."

    WE have a winner ladies and gents.

    Now onto the donation..............

  4. It is nice to see some coverage. I continue to wonder, though, if there will ever be a way for reporters to cover this story that goes beyond point-counterpoint. To do that, you have to get further into the nitty gritty of the history of affordable housing here in Chicago and in Uptown in particular. You also need to delve deeper into TIFS and the CHA plan for transformation. I have yet to see that story but it would be a good one. Someone, do us proud. Butternut and I will offer you the Uptown Update Pulitzer Piece Prize. (hee hee...sorry dude!)

    As for the article, I think the Shiller staffer's comment really reveals why we are in this mess. She says, "the trend in Uptown is certainly not a lack of market-rate housing.” What she is lamenting is the former market rate housing that existed before so many of the condo conversions. Although it may have been affordable rent, this is what you get when you only have a market-based approach to housing in this country. As affordable housing advocates they should know this and have have seen this coming. But all they did about the decrease in affordable rental units was trot out the old NIMBY stuff that we hear from Ms. Rose over and over again.

    Uptown could have tried to put in place some mixed-income projects as the storm gathered. But it seems to me that these folks are inherently biased against incorporating mid/upper income people into the picture because they think they will show up on their own. It is so clearly a "here's something for you (since we can't stop you anyway)" and "here's something for us" mentality. This is not what allows you to think outside the box so that the financing for more affordable rate housing will work in the market. So, you go to the government (which itself has moved to a hybridized market approach) and then you are stuck having to solve some of CHA or HUD's problems. You get low, very low and extremely low housing because they have money for it and need to put these units somewhere.

    I know this blog is well read. Someone get on here and tell me that Holsten will not be giving priority to people on the local housing authority's (CHA) waiting list and tell me that the income criteria are not as I have indicated. I support low income housing. I do not support what I believe to be going on at Wilson Yard.

  5. irishpirate, your mouth is pertier than a $10 wh... (lady of the evening)

  6. Saskia,

    What you're asking for is something I like to call, journalism, and unfortunately in the interest of "balance" in America, journalism died. So instead of any investigation, you call both sides of the argument, let them make their point and simply print the quotations in a newspaper.

  7. Saskia,

    As a libertarian, I have to take you to task for simply claiming that market rate housing can't work and can't be affordable. Thats a completely bogus claim and unsubstantiated by any evidence.

    Poor people who pay market rate are going to actually take care of their property. Poor people who pay next to nothing in rent are going to let their turns turn to crap and become a blight on the neighborhood.

    If you want to build market rate affordable housing you need to go taller and smaller. Taller buildings and smaller units. If the evil condo owners want 1500 sf in their 2bd/2ba, then you can build a unit for almost half the price for 750 sf and put two of them in the same footprint. The bedrooms won't be as big and the kitchen may not be granite, but it'll be a roof over someones head.

    AND, one of the biggest problems for doing this are these brownstones that every liberal on the northside is determined to save. If you're going to have affordable housing, some of these brownstones are going to have to be torn down and replaced. They're just not feasible structures for anyone but evil condo owners.

  8. I agree that "journalism" in the most part is dead. To many shareholders to answer to. It's all left vs right but no common sense.

    I read this article and was so excited to see the headline, then poof same old song and dance. Im afraid the only way to change Chicago politics is not through "journalism" but through good old lawsuits and federal raids.


    Saskia you had such a good spirit when you started posting on this blog, I hate seeing you loose it from us grouchy old bastards. I have Blazing Saddle qoutes bouncing in my empty skull.

  9. I have a question for Peter Holsten . . .

    Would he EVER spend $400,000 per unit if it was his own money and he had to turn around and try and sell these things for a profit?

    Also, does the $400k per unit include Mr. Holsten's profit? I mean does it really cost $300k per unit and then Holsten gets $100k?

    Was Holsten's income figure on the project predetermined? Is he robbing us for his own gain by going back for more of our TIF $$$?

    Okay so that's more than one question.

  10. Hey, windycity. We're not as far away from each other than you'd think. What I was referring to is that, as a country, we have a market based housing policy for everyone. It doesn't work so well for poor people in terms of producing housing that is near good jobs, transportation, amenities for families. It is not so hot at producing mixed-income communities. I mean, have you ever tried to order a pizza in Winnetka? Some restaurants can't keep delivery people. Folks will only pay so much for a standard delivery pizza. I mean, who can afford to live in the area on a pizza delivery person's income? And few parents there are keen on letting their kids have a PT job when Stanford is on the line. The mismatch that comes from homogeneous housing patterns is felt in many ways.

    Overall, I think our approach is a problem but in the end I am a pragmatist. We've got what we've got and rather than rallying against the overall system and constantly spinning our wheels, there are things that we can do to improve the lives of people at the bottom. That is why I come down so harsh on the local establishment. For good or bad we've got a market system. Therefore, how can you work it to produce what you want it to produce rather than what it is inclined to produce? But in order to do it sustainably, you have to be willing to abandon class-based hatred. I can because, in reality, the folks who are being accused of taking housing from the poor are not wealthy and powerful themselves. Even if we did two truly mixed developments here we wouldn't replace the numbers of affordable units that we have lost. That is one of the reasons why they are trying to pack a bunch of them in at WY. They're after numbers.

    I wish we could shift the focus to what would produce sustainable and quality affordable housing for Uptown and not just an increase in the absolute numbers. We'll never get the Shilleristas to make that shift.

  11. I think it depends on how you define Market-Rate housing.

    What Shiller considers Market-Rate housing and what I consider market rate are two different things.

    To me market-rate housing all housing available that is listed for rent and figuring in the average of that.

    Here idea of market-rate housing is a figure her and her cronies pull out of the air that is actually below the lowest of the market rate.

  12. And Helen and company could buy a lot of for sale condos for what they are spending per unit on WY.

    In fact I would sell my condo in a heart beat in this economy so I could walk.

  13. how myopic can the posters on this blog get? uptown is already a mixed-income community, and fewer than 200 units won't change that. go two blocks south, or a few blocks east and tell me what kind of housing you see.

    furthermore, 21% of these units are designated for people who make 80% of the area median income. any guesses as to what that means? it's more than $60,000 annually for a family of four, and it's about $15000 higher than the median income for chicago families. better yet, half of these units are for seniors.

    do some research.

  14. Looks like Andy took a sip of the Shiller kool-aid.

  15. Andy,
    Are you at all concerned about the cost per unit to build? The numbers seem outrageous on their face.

  16. Again,

    If you have not signed up on and/or on the "Fix Wilson Yard" facebook page, please do so! We need your support!

    Molly Phelan

  17. Memo to Andy and to all the public housing pros...


    You are right though, I go two blocks south I see failed housing models, same east. So here is a novel idea, remove Helens hand from the back of your shirt and think for yourself.

    Senior housing? You going to place your grandma in there? I hope she gets a good lock for her door.

  18. Andy,

    First off, nobody is complaining about the senior housing. Thats always the Shilleristas defense. Oh, won't someone think about the seniors! We have, and we're cool with it. Grandpa ain't gonna go around tagging my house and selling drugs.

    And , contrary to what you say, have done our research. 215 of the project is going to people defined as "low-income".

    You claim that someone earning up to 80% of the median income will qualify, but wait, I did a little research and check out Alderman Shiller's website

    Andy is a big fat liar

    Oh, it says 60% of the median household income qualifies. Sorry Andy, you can't float your lies here.

    Why don't YOU go do some research.

  19. do some research.

    All anyone has is what has been obtained through FOIA requests so it is hard to do research when there is hardly any publicly available information.

    21% of these units are designated for people who make 80% of the area median income.

    Is there a floor for this 21% or is it that they can accept people up to this point. If priority is being given to people on the CHA waiting list doesn't that negate the ability for the property owner to go that high? It is like it is an option and not really part of the plan.

    uptown is already a mixed-income community

    The point isn't that we are counting on WY to make us a mixed income community. We already are.
    The whole purpose of a TIF is to create economic investment in the community that wouldn't happen BUT FOR intervention via a TIF project. Affordable housing is a reasonable component of a mixed-use commercial development. But as the project stands right now these 200 units will be yet another example of concentrated poverty in Uptown. It is clear to many of us that this 200 units for you and 200 units for us thing is not working to build connections between people that will enhance the quality of life for people who have less. Yes, careful tenant selection and management could be a way to maximize number of units for low-income people in the project and still get that overall benefit. But it is really hard for me to believe that we will be able to do that given where the preference to leaseholders will go.

    Uptown deserves some quality redevelopment rather than more of this slipshod get-the-housing-at-any-cost approach of the past. Even if the good intentions are there, where is the oversight and the accountability to the community-at-large?

  20. windycityeagle

    funny that you are taking shiller's website's word while zinging her every chance you get... seems odd.

    anyway, look at the ihda tax credit application that links to, and you'll see what i'm which is that 21% of the units in the 84 unit development have an income ceiling of "low income" which means 80% of the area median.

    also i'm honestly wondering where you're getting your numbers. the department of housing in 2006 quoted the per unit development price of the 99 senior units as ~$230,000. the plan then calls for 84 units of affordable family housing. can someone please tell me where these numbers came from?

  21. "funny that you are taking shiller's website's word while zinging her every chance you get... seems odd."

    Her and her buddy Pete are building it. Who's website shall we go off?

    Just admit it didn't do your homework and Windy dimed you out. You thought you could sneak in an untruth but got called on it.

    Once again I ask..why come on Uptown Update and blog when all of us are so whats the"myopic"

  22. The Tax Credit application doesn't say anything about income thresholds, only that 21% are reserved for low-income(the highest income brackt allowable at WY)

    Shiller defines this as 60% of the median income, yet you claim she's wrong. Shiller is only wrong when she's lying, and I can't imagine that she would lie about this, or that very least, she would lie and give the impression that the income distribution will be skewed much lower than will actually happen.

    She's much more likely to be lying about the incomes to the positive side. I.e., as Saskia has pointed at that this may mean that AT MOST 21% of the renters will have an income of 60% of the median. If its less than that, then thats how it turns out. Given that current CHA waitlisters will be given preference, its hard to see how this won't happen.

  23. I've got a lot of respect for ONE, but who are we kidding? This has absolutely nothing to do with making Uptown diverse.

    If the goal was racial diversity, we'd be building affordable housing in Helen Shiller's neck of the woods (1248 W. Carmen), which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is less than 5% Black and less than 14% Latino.

    According to the U.S. Census, the Wilson Yards site is 41% Black and 23% Latino.

    ONE and Shiller should think twice before playing the Race Card. Like a big yellow dog, its only gonna come back to bite them in the butt.

  24. Andy,
    The per unit cost of came from the revised budget Exhibits J-2 and J-3 approved by city council last spring as part of the second amendment to the redevelopment agreement.

    As Saskia said whether the top level is 80% AMI or 60% AMI it’s all moot. The Wilson Yard project is replacement housing for those displaced from the housing projects being torn down throughout the city. The ceiling of 80% or 60% will never be realized nor come into play. These number are meant to be distractions just as the phrasing “teachers, policemen and firemen” were distraction until the community realized the fallacy.

  25. Who all goes to FWY meeting? is it all condo owner, are there any low-income people at those meeting. Is it just all condo owner because if it is, know wonder people think that FWY is condo owner not wanting low-income people in uptown.

    If the TIF money was lower and not so much per unit will you still have a problem with WY?

  26. I have a problem with WY because this is not what TIF money was meant for.

    Had the CTA sold this lot for market price to a private developer and not used any TIF money you would see one nice development or a few different developments on this land.

    This is a substitute for displaced CHA people plain and simple.

    And Shiller has never been honest about this project.

    Any private developer would had this project done by now and paying in property tax to help the schools.

  27. North Magnolia - these units could cost taxpayers $100 each and I would still have a problem with the current Wilson Yard Plan. Its just poor urban planning - aka: Concentrated Poverty.

    This type of housing has been a failure all over Chicago and is currently being demolished. What makes you think it will magically work in Uptown?

  28. North Magnolia...

    Are you serious? Meetings for FWY are open to the public. They do not check mortgage slips at the door.

    Same with CAPS, TOWN HALLS, ECT.

    I know how this works with you. You type an ignorant post that looks like your twelve and your computer is missing keys, then Dacutestbabiesmommadaddy or one of her other names on here pops in and defends you like were all picking on you.

    That act is old. Come to a meeting before you ask an ignorant question. Or at least visit the FWY website.

  29. For clarification, if someone would like to pass this on to Ms. Jamiko Rose, Fix Wilson Yard is not demanding more market-rate housing. Fix Wilson Yard is not attempting to suffocate diversity in Uptown.

    Fix Wilson Yard’s goal is to stop Wilson Yard in its current form because the Redevelopment Plan promotes a failed housing model and does not serve the purpose of promoting effective development in the Wilson Yard area.

    Both HUD and the Illinois Department of Housing recommend that a thriving neighborhood has no more than 20% low-income housing. The census tracts surrounding Wilson Yard already has 36% low-income units, almost double the recommended percentage. Such a proposed development goes well beyond any reasonable level of concentrated poverty.

    This Redevelopment Plan ignores modern urban planning models, is a complete mis-use of taxpayer dollars and utterly disregards the intent of the TIF laws. That is why we need your help. If you have not done so, please visit and donate to the Fix Wilson Yard Legal Fund at . Additionally, please invite others to the “Fix Wilson Yard” group on Facebook to show their support. This is a case that has serious ramifications for all citizens both in and outside of Uptown! Spread the word!

    Molly Phelan

  30. *Who all goes to FWY meeting? is it all condo owner, are there any low-income people at those meeting. Is it just all condo owner because if it is, know wonder people think that FWY is condo owner not wanting low-income people in uptown.*

    Who put this catch phrase in your head? Very uneducated statement. What you don't know is that the people who put this in your head are people that want to keep poor people poorer, and all in one place so they can get elected. Pull your head out of the sand. *Evil condo owners* Crazy. People who own condos are not evil. Grow up and open your eyes. You sound brain-washed.

    I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but that is just crazy talk.

  31. Again, I apologize for type-o's no time to edit.

  32. Likening a 174 unit development to the 4100 unit Robert Taylor Homes or the 3500 unit Cabrini-Green is innappropriate here. That is what concentrated poverty means. These developments, while subsidized, are mixed income, as is the neighborhood around them. Let's stop fixating on one tree and look at the forest here.

  33. Just as much as Shiller and Couraj are Condo haters I am a section 8 poor income housing hater.

  34. Before anybody loads up on North Magnolia anymore, I'll defend her. It's all about perception, no more so than in ShillerLand. She has created the perception of the 'evil condo owners' pushing out the lower income crowd in the attempt make another LP. It's utter rubbish but people have bought it because of the disinformation campaign and full on lies. It is my understanding prior to UU, it was difficult if not impossible to get much information regarding the neighborhood that wasn't a loaded pig from Shiller's office. For some, that was the only source of information. But to dismiss North Magnolia's statement in such a manner, I think, is completely rude, totally unjustified and an utter rush to judgment.

    North Magnolia is a recent poster here. Suspicion is warranted sure because of previous trolls but I, for one, completely disagree with the treatment s/he has received at times. If you think this person is ignorant, teach or direct. Don't ridicule.

    Before you go attacking me, I plan to donate to FWY and disagree with the plan as currently laid out.

  35. North Magnolia,

    i went to one of the f.w.y. informational meetings to hear what they had to say (and for the record i am a low income person and do not support the "fix wilson yard" cause). the women who presented talked about how much crime will increase with this project and how it won't bring the much-needed retail development to the area along broadway.

    regarding the retail comment, the usual point was brought up by one of the presenters about how north of Leland along Broadway (in Mary Ann Smith's ward), there is a lot of retail and places to shop while on the 4600 block of Broadway south of Leland (in Helen Shiller's ward) there is no retail. Yet someone at the meeting (who is NOT part of the fix wilson yard crew) made a good comment that he actually does a lot of shopping at the stores and restaurants on the east side of the 4600 block of Broadway. He mentioned the corner store at Leland and Broadway that he shops at, Gigio's pizza, Thai Uptown, the Dollar Store, and at least two other places that i can't think of (not to mention the many places that are on that block that he didn't mention...). In saying this he said that the statement that the area north of Leland is "viable" while the area south of Leland has no retail options is a classist one. He said that he is a low income person so he really doesn't have the money to shop at the more expensive places north of Leland that cater to people with more money (i.e. Borders, the sushi bar, the fitness center, starbucks) but he frequents many of the places south of Leland, because they cater to people like him, people with less money. Then people started yelling at him and he had to stop talking...

    i agree that the point that there is no retail south of Leland on Broadway is a classist one. i thought he made a good argument.

    This point about retail is one being put out time and time again by the people who oppose W.Y. and i think they should rethink that one. yes, there are vacant store fronts along Broadway (including the uptown snack shop that closed because the rent was rising on them), but to say that there is no retail is not accurate. Maybe no retail that caters to people of a higher class.

    and one of the women presenting also said that many low income people in Uptown are opposed to Wilson Yard, someone in the crowd asked "Where are they?" but nobody emerged. there might be low income people oppsed to it but i think your inclination to think that the fix wilson yard campaign is mainly championed by people who have money to spend is an accurate one. i mean, they raised $25,000 in 3 meetings according to that article!

  36. fyi, the presenters (who said that they strongly support diverse, mixed-income housing) also refused to answer my question of whether or not, as an alternative to buildings like WY, they have thought about trying to find a way to open up some of the many vacant condo units in Uptown to people and families who are low income. it seems like that may be a mixed income housing model to consider that i'd be willing to work on with people.

  37. Huh? Im sorry you feel people are going to "attack" you. If you really are that sensitive then maybe a hard place like Uptown is not right for you.

    North magnolia has made numerous blanket statements regarding issues in Uptown. How long can one claim ignorance? It is not my job to teach her about issues. Even if i tried (I have) she would choose not to listen. She has the internet, she can do a little research before she decides to come participate in the conversation.

    Is that to much to ask? Why hold her to different standards just because she types like a kid? First lesson of a teacher, treat all students the same. I hold her to the same standards I hold you.

    These are serious issues we face in Uptown. They affect our families, friends, business, and investments. If she does not want to add anything constructive then move out of the "evil condo" owners way to we can get things done.

  38. North Magnolia:

    "Who all goes to FWY meeting? is it all condo owner, are there any low-income people at those meeting. Is it just all condo owner because if it is, know wonder people think that FWY is condo owner not wanting low-income people in uptown."

    seems like a valid question and comment to me. is it wrong to just ask that question?


    "North magnolia has made numerous blanket statements regarding issues in Uptown. How long can one claim ignorance?"

    oh, now chip has a problem with blanket statements! like i said before the double standard on this blog is toughto miss. If you're talking about people in white tee shirts, anything goes, but as soon as you talk about class, you're reprimanded by the "teacher" for making blanket statements.

    yeah chip, the issues are serious, and call for a little introspection, not just name calling, ego inflation and double standards.

  39. "fyi, the presenters (who said that they strongly support diverse, mixed-income housing) also refused to answer my question of whether or not"

    That is because you are a cancer on the area Ron. They didn't answer you because your whole purpose is to disrupt. You have no substance, you just disrupt. Your like herpes, it won't kill you, it just bugs you a few times a year.

    Please get a blog Ron, Im sure you will get a half million hits around..I don't know...never.

  40. Chip,

    Thanx for your apology but I neither asked for it nor want it. Re-read my post, I gave my point of view/opinion after I said "Before you go attacking me..." It was an FYI. I'll try to be more explicit next time. Calling me sensitive and telling me Uptown's too tough for me kinda proves the point anyway.

    There's no time limit one may cite 'ignorance.' But if somebody doesn't know the wheres or the hows to acquire the knowledge, time can be infinite.

    Before I go further, I do agree that WY is a freakin' debacle of urban planning. A four year with Lincoln Logs can do better. Practically anything would be better than what is there. I agree with your message here but I vehemently disagree with how the message is given.

    Look, Chip, I'm not going to get into a bloggy fight with you and this will be the my last comment on it. Over the last several months, I've notice a declining standard in the way people comment. Much of it seems to coincide with the emergence of new commentators. It seems I'm just too sensitive. There's no reason to say North Magnolia types like a kid. Perhaps she doesn't have the same computer experience you or I that so much of a stretch to believe? Maybe keyboarding wasn't a requirement for this person education.

    Too much animosity has built up here over time. Time to check out for awhile...

  41. huh? said...

    Over the last several months, I've notice a declining standard in the way people comment. Much of it seems to coincide with the emergence of new commentators.

    I'm reminded of my comments a week or so ago, and responses ranging from "find something else to whine about" to regret that I "lost my home." To me, they were very telling responses (and extremes) after an obvious assumption that I must be either low-end, a renter, (or both?) because I was lamenting the loss of some rental buildings that have gone condo.

    However, I'm neither high income nor low income, but pretty much right in the middle, the median Chicago income, in fact - but condo prices have more than doubled since I purchased mine 10 years ago. My salary has not kept pace nor, I bet, have the salaries of people who work as firefighters, teachers, and social workers.

    This entire argument about WY appears framed between the extremes of high income owners and no income renters. Where are the voices of "the median"? Just Artists?? Market rate housing in this city is becoming completely unaffordable for anyone who earns just the median income.

    For that reason alone, I think I think WY should contain a number of units, perhaps even the majority, that would be OWNED by such income earners.

  42. Kenny...

    This will be my last post on the subject but here is a novel idea..get a better job..or like the rest of us get another one. Earn some cash on the side. Do what it takes.ONCE AGAIN, LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

    Move or work harder. Life is a bitch. We "condo owners" don't make the rules we just play by them.

    My grandfather worked two jobs most his life to live in a neighborhood where his kids could feel safe. Did he cry that he couldnt afford it? NO HE WORKED HARDER. IMAGINE THAT, WORKING HARD! WOW!

    Try it sometimes. An please don't give me the sob story about people with kids. Why have kids if you can't afford them. KIDS COST MONEY. SO IF YOU DON'T HAVE MONEY FEEL FREE TO HOLD OF ON HAVING KIDS FOR A BIT.

  43. chipdouglas said...
    Move or work harder. Life is a bitch. We "condo owners" don't make the rules we just play by them.

    Are you really suggesting I sell my condo because I only earn the median Chicago income? Are you suggesting that I "work harder" at my 12-hr days, 20-year career because I only earn the median Chicago income?

    "Maybe they want to live in Lincoln Park, that's not what this is" has caused so much outrage by those who claim they want a "mixed-income community" but when contemplating your response to my post, perhaps Ms. Shiller wasn't so off the mark, after all.

    Good night, and good luck.

  44. Wilson Yard is a mess and the only way we can get the attention of our elected officials is to sue. I may not always agree with another person's motivation but I do agree with this needed outcome. That's good enough for me.

  45. I am neither ignorant nor am I unformed about the issues regarding to WY. I have lived in work here for 20 years and I am over 21. I have internet access I been to FWY and Helen site and read it. I Still don’t agree with FWY, does that make me uneducated to you maybe . I just ask a question I live in uptown in low-income house I just wanted to be informed because it's a issue especially because I do live in a CHA building and you are calling this the next projects which I don't agree with but that my opinion not helen or my mother it's mine. You probably are talking about low-income house at these meeting which is why I ask if only condo owner go to FWY meeting and if any low-income people attend these meetings, is it that hard of question to answer. If group was having meeting to stop a condo from being built in uptown you would ask the same questions that I did. I have not met anybody that lives in low-income that has attended the FWY meeting I was hope somebody that lives in low-income would come on this blog and tell me that they have attended. If you are mad at for my opinion and questions about WY so be.

    Don't defend me if they what to call me names and down me because of what I think and how I type that's sad when half the people on here don’t use corrected english when typing please chip. I type like a kid but you can read it LOL. But I have not once called anybody on here an "evil condo owner" or "troll" are down any ones opinion’s on here. But I have been repeatedly been disrespected on here. And whan I say something is poor people talk, no it people in uptown talking. I ask me self what will JC do, you know christ, he will love you no matter what even if you hate he so I will do same even to chip.

    You can't teach or inform me about anything that going on in uptown I have ears and eyes and like you I do have the internet and I can read. I see WY slightly differently then you do. This is the point of view of somebody that lives and works in uptown. Ron thank you for info about FWY meetings I will probably be attending one meeting, you did more then anybody on here to persuade me to go to FWY meeting.

  46. Vacant condo units?

    Yes, condo owners in Uptown are so incredibly wealthy that they buy condos and leave them empty, hoping to flip them in 6 months for a 15% return on investment. But they can't, because of the specter of Wilson Yard.

    Damn that Wilson Yard!

    Can you say "Out of touch with reality?"

    I thought that you could.

    Now, back to the land of make believe!

  47. I can see some mistakes on my post, you can call me a kid, uneducated, just another poor person in uptown that is uninformed.

    Quoting katt williams: feel free to hate on me.

  48. Over the last several months, I've noticed a declining standard in the way people comment.

    I tend to agree. What a shame this would be if these threads start looking like the Tribune threads. I avoid those like the plague. So predictable. We can do better. I know it.

  49. Saskia maybe the post have got "So predictable." because it seems to be a revolving pattern of progress then *poof* we spend all day defending North Magnolia because we feel sorry for her.

    Her is what I think. I think North Magnolia is a plant. Everytime she comes in a types, soon followed are people defending here. Go back, look at all her post. She has mastered our system and developed a way to tug on our guilt strings. She is just over 20 years old yet has a photo from around 1990? Do the math. My gut instincts tell me she is not real.

    Im sorry if what I said to her came of as harsh. I stand by the fact that she made an ignorant statement before doing any research. (Are low income people invited to the FWY meetings)

    Oh, did anyone catch how many times M. Obama said WORK in his speach yesterday? Wow was my earlier post on point. How hard we all have to WORK for that American Promise?

  50. My partner has said I avoid confrontation, that's true. In an attempt to understand premise and build consensus... can we all agree that Uptown should not be 100% "owner class"? Can we also agree that Uptown should not be 100% "low, very low, and extremely low income? If we can accept this premise (and I'm not sure that's the case)then we can discuss, calmly and rationally, the balance that should be targeted. I would bet dollars to donuts that there is more than one study which addresses income distribution and community health. I would further bet the esteemed developer of WY has read these. How much poverty can a community carry? Is it 75%, 50%, 25%, 10%? I'd honestly like to know. The last census had the 60640 zip in the 25% poverty range. If a community with a 50% poverty rate would support a Target or Trader Joes don't you think they would have jumped at the chance to develope in a community with half that level of poverty? Does Helen really believe that increasing the neighborhood's poverty rate is going to improve Uptown? Englewood, an acknowledged more dangerous community, was in the 45% poverty range as I recall. Is that where we'd like Uptown to go? It would appear to me that Helen, Ron, and others say "yes, bring it on!"

  51. I wasn't saying that UU had got as bad as the trib but I was fearing that we are getting there.

    I don't spend too much time thinking about whether people are "plants" or not. Frankly, if Shilleristas are here I think that is a good thing. There is a chasm about a mile wide on a lot of issues in Uptown and we're not talking about things is person so we might as well try here & exchange information & have fun from time to time.

    It does bother me when the conversation is purposefully disrupted and it causes casual readers to back away in disgust. (The fallout from the rally being the all-time lowpoint of that.) But unless the trolling has gotten much more sophisticated, as you claim, I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. I mean it is not like people who have a different perspective from some of our more conservative commentators don't have any points at all. If Shiller herself started blogging it is not as if she wouldn't have a perspective that is worth considering. To me, it is all in the delivery, how open people are willing to be as they share their viewpoints and if they are willing to concede some points that might result in something positive happening in our real world community. It seems that people are trying (at least I hope they are).

    I've been told that I wear my rose-colored glasses too much. But, this is what I think.

  52. I agree that posting standards have deteriorated somewhat. Imagine if UU still allowed anonymous posts. It would probably be un-readable.

  53. On that note, we are going to be more diligent in removing comments that are not on topic or become malicious. These issues are far too important to be clouded by name-calling and immature retorts. The Great Oz has spoken.

  54. In that case I would like to request that Chipdouglas's first response to Northmagnolia be removed on the basis that it was malicious and unintelligent in that it was full of venom and name calling.

  55. "secretsquirrel"

    in response to your post, many developers have built condos that have never been bought or inhabited by anyone because of the high prices and downturn in the market. the people from fix wilson yard claim that they want to help low income people find housing in Uptown but that it should be done through mixed-income developments.

    so, if this really is a motivation of theirs i suggest that they (or we) try to find a way working with each other, the owners of these condo buildings and whoever else we need to work with to figure out a way of making some of these vacant units available to low-income people. doing this may be a good alternative to the wilson yard as it would be mixed income, what the fix wilson yard group wants. it would help the cause of fix wilson yard in backing up their rhetoric of caring for low income people if they at least would consider this or any other ideas that include low income housing. i'm only proposing this because at the meeting i was at one woman from fix wilson yard claimed that they do care about helping low income people find housing in Uptown. but if helping low income people find new affordable housing units is not really a priority of theirs, then they should not say that it is.

  56. There are two units in the scatter site housing on my block that are vacant and have been for a few years because the previous tenants trashed them so badly that they're uninhabitable. I'm sure it's not the only instance of this in the properties managed by HRC.

    Why not take some of the $$ used to build new towers of housing in WY and FIX, yes I said it, FIX the existing housing stock that Uptown already has?

    As far as buying units in condo buildings, I don't see anything wrong with that. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper for the CHA to pay market rate condo prices than to build Wilson Yard.

    In fact, the rental housing in WY is costing much more per unit to build ... than it would cost to buy a luxury condo in the area surrounding it.

  57. Ron:

    I'll have some of whatever it is you're smoking.

    On second thought, maybe you have a good idea. They should approach the subject of renting out empty condos to low income households.

    Then, they should abandon it completely while still putting up the facade that they are working on the suggestion.

    Taking a page right out of Helen's book!

    Bait and switch, shuck and jive, duck and cover, rope-a-dope.


    I like you now, as you give me so many good ideas.

    Rock on, my friend, Ron "The Bull" Durham!

  58. BTW, TSN...

    HS did give TIF funds to rehab existing low income housing. To the tune of either $3 or $MM. I've forgotten the number, but I'm leaning toward $6MM

    Units on Hazel, Wilson, and Clifton all got TIF $$.

  59. I occaisionally visit this site and find myself slightly confused by the amount of vitriol that this issue brings out. Honestly, I don't fully understand TIFs or even why everyone is so against this. I'm pretty informed when it comes to national politics, but frankly Chicago politics kind of baffle me (I've lived in uptown 2 yrs.)

    It seems like the main complaints from the Fix Wilson Yard people are that Target may not actually be part of the deal, and that there will be to large a concentration of low income units. My initial reaction is that I also here a lot of people complaining about homelessness and street people and I haven't heard anyone present specifically how Wilson Yard should be designed and if there are fewer low income units how do we address what seems to be a housing crisis.

    I can honestly say that I haven't formed a strong opinion re this issue, mostly because I'm not an expert in housing policy. I will say that in my work in a hospital er I deal with a lot of homeless people and/or people facing homelessness. Also, it seems like when people disagree on the comments that they are automatically called a Shiller troll and castigated for the views. As an undecided, it makes me suspicious of claims of altruism and denials of classism.

  60. Colin-

    The principal reason people are against WY I believe is because the alderman lied about the project and continues to do so. As for TIFs in general, they've simply become out of control. While they may have initially been meritorious they degenerated to an over used patronage waste.

  61. Please everyone, do not fall for ron durham's factoids and fuzzy statistics. Using vagaries such as related to developers building condos says nothing. It is a fact that Uptown has had one of the hottest markets in Chicago for condos during the past several years. It can be denied by those with an axe to grind, but cannot be dis-proved.

    If Wilson Yard was truly meant to help the poor, the plan would require background checks and routine spot checks to ensure that gangbangers and other drug dealers were not infiltrating the units. It would also require true mixed income, not merely a mixture of various levels of low income. If the goal were to integrate the community and bring people together of various income levels (high, low, and in between) then the plan would call for such a structure. It does not.

    Wilson Yard is little more than a means for someone living at 1248 W. Carmen to profit by perpetuating continued poverty, not allowing those with low income an opportunity to buy property and pitting renters against owners.

    Perhaps, our Andersonville alderman could prove me wrong by agreeing to live in Wilson Yard for a few years. Oh wait, she makes too much money to live there right!?

  62. Bradley, et al. Ok, I guess I'll take your word on Shiller lying. More importantly, though - What's the plan? If UU was the dictator of WY and could do anything, what would you do?

  63. Shillsgangs-

    With all due respect...please let me know where you found the "fact" that Uptown had one of the hottest markets in Chicago. When we bought ours about 18 months ago that wasn't the case. In fact, the speculative aspect of our purchase was that James would be elected and the market would rally. In the past several months, I had read that Uptown specifically had not ridden the wave which led to the current real estate debacle (which is a good thing).

  64. There have been several real estate surveys during the past few years that have noted Uptown (and specifically, Sheridan Park) as one of the hottest markets in the City. Realtors who contribute to such surveys can confirm this fact. I am sure that certain portions of Uptown may be hotter than others, but believe it or not, investing in Uptown property is not all about speculation. Ask a realtor to confirm what I am saying.

  65. shillsgangs-

    I still can't find the surveys you mention and I've been looking. The Tribune real estate section has data for the last five years which shows Uptown is in the middle (about 24% increase) of the second lowest category (0-59% increase.) For the record, I never suggested that buyers where being primarily speculative, just the opposite. By not being in a super heated speculative market Uptown largely bypassed the the real estate crisis.