Friday, January 23, 2009

Business Partners' Response To News-Star Article

Although many of Uptown Update's readers felt the recent article about "Two Uptowns" in the News-Star was spot on, Business Partners had a different take on it. They sent a Letter to the Editor that's printed in the current News-Star:

Regarding News-Star's editorial "A Tale of Two Uptowns" (January 15, 2009), we urge you to consider the following developments, all south of Lawrence Avenue: the attractive redevelopment of The Phoenix (Borders Building), the landmark Uptown Bank Building, the newly redeveloped Uptown Broadway building and The Riviera Office Building, MDT's award-winning rehab using green technology, Agami Sushi, Alma Pita, Magnolia Café, Café Too, Pegasus Players, Black Ensemble Theatre, and unique entertainment venues like The Spot and the Tattoo Factory Gallery. Consider also brand new businesses like Fontana Grill, Light Speed: Chicago and Kahawa Coffee House, and the scores of sustainable businesses that have operated in Uptown for decades. We could go on and on.

We acknowledge that there are safety concerns to be actively addressed, and this is happening through CAPS and the newly formed safety committees. Is there a lot to do? Of course. But to divide the community as you describe does not serve any of our businesses or institutions well. We need to build on Uptown's strengths and work together proactively to enrich the business community.

The board and staff of Uptown United and Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown


  1. I wish Business Partners would put the same effort into helping area businesses and encouraging development that they exert getting defensive about it.

    Alderman Shiller (even though almost all of the buisineses they named in their letter are in the 48th ward) arguably has a lot of influence over their board and executives, but the rest of the community is also watching and patiently taking note of their activities.

    The position they hold is an honor granted by the community, not the other way around.

  2. The defensiveness of Business Partners is a bit embarrassing. News Star only pointed out the big white elephant in the room. Is anyone really surprised by this so called revelation from the press?

  3. I was thinking the same thing, as ZM's comments.

    Shiller's policies and way of thinking (if you can call it that) no doubt hold any progress at bay, especially south of Lawrence to Montrose.

    There is so much potential in the 46th ward....we can't get much lower on the scale. But then again, like so many of her donors, she doesn't even live in the immediate area.

  4. Kenny, am a bit confused by your comment.

    We want any business to thrive up here.
    I.E. not get broken into, or run out of town by Shiller.

    What businesses are you referring to that 'cater to the poor'?

  5. See Kenny from Helen's office you just cant turn it off can you? It always is about class warfare with you.

    Also Business Partners I would love to see this post one year from now. Several of your listed businesses are in real danger of closing. While we must put blame on the economy as a whole and not just Helen, she does tend to exacerbate problems with lack of support.

    When this bailout fails, and it will as it is now (It doesn't fully address the initial problem of the toxic loans), more businesses in Uptown will fold and Helen will be able to build her vision with TIF funds.

  6. Kenny: Do you have any guesses as to why Uptown Business Partners did not mention any of the merchants you mentioned?

    I can't get on or off the L at the Wilson stop without noticing Family Dollar and City Sports. These are focal point retailers in the community and the Uptown Business Partners cannot even mention them.

  7. For economic prosperity to occur and flourish in UPTOWN, you have to do only one thing:

    for HOPE and CHANGE

  8. So what happened to Kenny's original comment?

  9. I'm not sure what happened to Kenny's post, but it was blatantly anti-poor, giving Helen's gang ample evidence that UU is a blog for bigots who hate poor people. Remember, Helen, Marc, neighborlady, Ron, Jon, JP, Karen et all attack an idea by first dismissing the person, organization, or blog as a group of bigots.

  10. The ULI, Urban Land Institute, study was commissioned by Smith, Shiller,etc to evaluate and create a comprehensive plan for balanced retail/restaurants/entertainment in Uptown.

    Some of the key recommendations were...
    ~ Streetscaping with new lights, building lighting, sidewalks and landscaping
    ~ Rehab Lawrence and Wilson El stations that are "dilapidated and dangerous. Find new retail tenants."
    ~ Build consensus with the residents since the community is polarized.
    ~ Improve the range of retailers to offer resident a better selection. "Most Uptown residents leave the neighborhood for most of their shopping needs."

    Mary Ann Smith seems to have followed the recommendations and Bryn Mawr and Broadway now have bustling, safe, pedestrian filled streets enjoying the shops.

    I recommend Shiller dust off her copy and read it.

  11. Thanks Katharine. I'd like to read it. Where did you find a copy of the report? I'd like to read it later this afternoon, but first I need to leave the neighborhood to do some shopping.

  12. Dear Just Wondering,
    Hope you're back from shopping outside the 46 ward. To answer your question about reading the ULI, Urban Land Institute, study on
    "A Strategy for Redevelopment of Uptown District".

    UNC has the highlights of this detailed study on their website.
    Go to and click on Sensible Community Development.

    ULI brought in a slew of urban development experts, who actually walked the streets, conducted interviews, etc. to come up with their recommendations.

    Read it and weep.

  13. this is govt propaganda

    "The board and staff of Uptown United and Business Partners, The Chamber for Uptown"

    By terms of their contract BP should be including:

    Funded under contract by the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, Mayor

    Article 3 Your Duties

    3.12 Acknowledgement of Funding Sources

    "You will conspicuously acknowledge the co-sponsorship of the City on all promotional materials including, but not limited to, brochures, flyers, written or electronic public notices, news releases, public service announcements, ... "

  14. "The position they hold is an honor granted by the community ... "

    the position they hold is due to the generosity of property tax payers

  15. "Most Uptown residents leave the neighborhood for most of their shopping needs."

    Unfortunately I'd have to agree. About the only thing I do regularly in Uptown is visit CD Drycleaners ... and that is North of Lawrence. Is that the 48th Ward?
    I do go to Magnolia, Agami, etc. every now and then, but honestly, more often I end up going to Andersonville or Lakeview because I can also have a pleasant stroll, window shopping etc. through those areas before or after a meal/drink.
    It's ironic, the reason I want to live in the city is to be able to walk/shop/enjoy my neighborhood and I rarely do that. It does sadden me, but my time off from work is prescious and I want to enjoy it. What to do??