Sunday, November 30, 2008

All The Answers About Wilson Yard

The Graceland West Community Association had some questions about Wilson Yard (don't we all?), so they had a dialogue with Don Hohenadel from Planning and Development. Let's just say that our eyebrows shot into our hairline several times while reading Don's answers.

Besides the fact that the people who are paying for this "project" are forced to go to the city for information about it, rather than hearing about it from the developer or the person who supposedly represents our concerns, we are appalled to hear that a nail salon and a Subway are being touted as answers to Uptown's retail blight.

And that, supposedly, Peter Holsten's name was forged on the infamous "Section 8 housing" document and no one really has any answers about why or how the forgery came to exist (in fact, no one seems to care, not even a little bit).

And that despite the fact that a legal commitment - on Holsten company stationery! - was signed (or not signed) by Peter Holsten, Don seems to think no such commitment exists.

Read it all for yourself:


  1. Forgery? Holy criminality, Batman!

    If that's true then perhaps George W. Bush is actually a tremendous leader and I am mistaken about my opinion of him.


  2. Background/drug testing for persons "... over the age of 18".

    So, it's possible a good hunk of the residents won't be tested or screened, at all?

    Well ... that's ... that's just wonderful.

  3. What a joke of a project!

  4. Uptown residents,

    None of this is true.

    Still working on it.

  5. A few quick thoughts:
    1. Drug testing: Does this mean that if someone tests positive for drugs, the person would then be disqualified to live there? (We remember drug testing being required at 1207 Leland only to find out they had to be addicted in order to qualify to live there.)
    2. The IHDA letter that gives the proportion of extremely low, very low, and low income differs from what's now being said. Please explain why this difference exists. Was the prior document a forgery as well?
    3. Is the City Inspector General aware that one city document (now possibly 2 with the IHDA document) was forged and is he doing an investigation?
    4. Target usually has very strict guidelines about what retail can go into a planned development. Hair salons are typically one such restricted retail. Could the public see a copy of those guidelines that Target is requiring?
    5. The proposed "business incubator": please give more details.
    6. Please name the social services that also are in the preliminary stages of possibly moving into Wilson Yard development.
    7. Is this Italian family restaurant possibly Leona's, whose owner financed Helen's home? How is this possible conflict of interest being handled?
    8. For anyone associated with the Wilson Yard (store owners, social services, developers, attorneys, prospective residents), could we get a listing of how many have "donated" to Helen's campaign or "donated" money to Helen's favorite charity which is the Chicago Low Income Trust Fund?

  6. "Has Holsten committed in writing to impose criminal background checks..."

    Our friend Don Ho never answers this question. I bet you one leftover turkey we all know the answer.

  7. Don also manages to duck and feint the question about whether or not the Wilson Yard apartments will be occupied by people on the CHA wait list.

    At least he didn't try to trot out Helen and her staff's famous old chestnut (read: bold-faced lie)about the apartments being built for the benefit of Uptown's firemen, teachers and policemen.

  8. It's sad how accustomed I am to being lied to.

  9. thanks to GWCA for this meeting and these notes

    this is very unusual, getting a City spokesperson on the record on a TIF project

  10. "Target usually has very strict guidelines about what retail can go into a planned development. Hair salons are typically one such restricted retail. Could the public see a copy of those guidelines that Target is requiring?"

    you can read the restrictions Target put on their neighbors in the mall in the operating agreement between Holsten & Target, available as document 0829440163 from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, see page 20, pdf page 24, "Uses"

    Target prohibited movie theaters. This gives the lie to what we were told: that the movie theaters backed out because it was not economically feasible. If so, why did Target & Holsten bother to specifically prohibit a potential tenant that is not financially feasible? No doubt if Target did not want a movie theater, Target and Holsten working together could make sure their deal was not attractive. The operating agreement documents that it was Target that did not want a movie theater.

    Also, sorry IP old man, there is a "NO HOOTERS" clause:

    "No Restaurant use shall be allowed that requires personnel to wear a uniform that a reasonable person would consider to be sexually provocative (e.g., so-called hot pants and short shorts, shorts not covering the entire buttocks, tight-fitting or otherwise revealing tank tops or halter tops).

    Toy stores, liquor stores, and dollar stores, and drug paraphenalia are also prohibited, so don't look for Azuza Liquors to be moving across the street or for The Smoke Shop to be moving next door.

    But conspicuous in NOT being prohibited are body art and body piercing emporiums. Will WY's biggest apologist be making another move?

    Also if this has not been blogged already may I be the 1st to predict the alderman will move her ward office in.

  11. reading this over more carefully, "dollar" stores are NOT specifically prohibited

    prohibited are flea markets, pawn shops, resale shops, and surplus stores

  12. read about all the decisions being made about WY without you

    link to Target-Holsten Operating agreement

  13. The alderbeast sat on the board that awoarded Leona's space in a south side TIF and Leona's got BIG BIG $$. Why wouldnpt she het her paramour into WY? Ex-alderman Troutman wisely said "They {alderman} are all HOs.

  14. oh, yeah, massage parlors are right out, too

  15. FYI, Target doesn't like to have movie theaters in the same strip center because they require too many parking spaces.

  16. I thought the movies & the target were inextricably linked

  17. the above-linked operating agreement grants exclusive use of the underground level of parking to Target

  18. So basically, I can get my nails done, trade a video game and have an Italian BMT from Subway.
    What a wonderful way to spend my day.

  19. Watch the video.

    Helen started backing away from the movie theaters way back in 2003. It's taken them 5 years of the developer and Target dancing around each other to figure out how to do this project without the theaters, because Target never wanted the theaters in the first place.

    Folks, you're getting screwed in every which way, and these people are walking away with all your money.

    Get that lawsuit filed, and at the very least, shame them into making some sort of concessions before it's all water under the bridge.

  20. Hugh, you are on to something.

    Maybe Paul can get in on another $300K or so of relocation money.