Wednesday, February 11, 2009

News-Star: "Shiller Pushes Recycling, Retail"

News-Star has an article about the Luncheon with Ald. Shiller sponsored by Business Partners on February 4th. We'll let you read all about:
  • her "green" Uptown plans

  • how hard she's worked for the past ten years to create vibrant retail corridors

  • how she feels federal stimulus dollars will affect Uptown

  • how misguided the local blogs and FixWilsonYard are

  • how Wilson Yard will unite Uptown
Click here for all the exciting details, but we must point out our favorite quote:

"We've worked very hard over the past 10 years to create retail corridors," Shiller said. "We're getting to the point where we have enough critical mass, that if [commercial spaces] were all full they would create their own critical mass for a walking population to use. There are things we have to do to enhance that, like making sure that the Aon building gets used."

Two uses of "critical mass" in the same sentence! Impressive, Ald. Shiller. If we'd heard you say "lazy lanes" as well, we could have won the 46th Ward Rhetoric Drinking Game.


  1. I hate the green bait and switch, which is not engulfing America. Forcing some building regulations about recycling isn't creating any idustry. It simply creates more red tape and people on the dole.

    Nationally we're talking about solving America's energy problem, NOT recycling. The two are, at best, tangentially related.

    I think FWY should start making references to Obama that vaguely imply he supports the lawsuit since Shiller has opened this up as a valid method of argument in Uptown.

  2. So it has taken Helen TEN YEARS to deliver the corridor between Montrose and Lawrence and she calls that progress? It's no wonder Uptown is such a mess, her bar is set so low there no room beneath it for anything BUT better. And what did she do the FIRST ten years???

  3. With all due respect, what retail corridor?

  4. With all due respect, what retail corridor?

    Resident - you read my mind!! Maybe she is confusing Uptown with Andersonville? They are so similar, no?

  5. No Target sign due to city permits? Huh? BS!

    Also, what is she mentioning the Aon building for? Its not even in her ward! How about cleaning up Wilson and Broadway Helen? Concentrate on your own ward by your own office!

    Another thing that she mentioned is troubling - the stimulus plan. She's like a pig at a trough. She's going to try to get more money for "housing preservation" which means more low income housing and more money to line her pockets. Unreal.

  6. Not enough businesses within the Wilson Yard TIF District are applying for the Small Business Improvement Fund, which provides matching grants to commercial building owners and business tenants to make infrastructural improvements on commercial spaces.

    Anyone up for a neighborhood survey of businesses?

    1) Have you applied for monies from the Small Business Improvement Fund? If not, why not? If so, were you approved?

    2) What is your greatest impediment in growing your business in Uptown?

  7. As for "green" growth mandated by government and how this can potentially wreak havoc on an economy, check out this article from New Geography.

    California's housing market is killing the California State budget because of the combination of a housing downturn, the credit crunch, and how "greening" has attacked the supply side of housing.

    California has a 45 BILLION dollar deficit for this year.

  8. The AON comment threw me too. Is there another AON building or AON owned building in Uptown.

    Because there's no problem getting the one downtown (Old Amoco/Standard Oil building) utilized. I worked in that building for years and it's pretty well used. During 9/11 they told us it was a target because it had the highest population of any building in the city outside of the Mart.

  9. "d" -- I think she's referring the Combined Insurance/Aon Building at 5050 Broadway.

    Which may or may not be in the 46th Ward. Someone stated earlier that it's in Mary Ann Smith's ward.

  10. d - she's referring to the one at 5050 N. Broadway. This used to be the Combined Insurance building until Aon bought them. Aon is now in the process of vacating the building.

    I don't understand why Shiller is mentioning it because its in Mary Ann Smith's ward - correct me if I'm wrong?

  11. Back in Dec. 2007, the Sun-Times interviewed Mary Ann Smith about Aon moving:

    I think Shiller has the east side of Broadway and Smith has the west side (the side the Aon building is on).

  12. thanks. I guess I've just gotten used to thinks making no sense.

  13. can someone remind her that the only "retail" corridor that has seen any improvement is the "corridor" found within Mary Ann Smith's Ward.

    She is an absolute fool.

    PS: This is Jim Osborne - don't want Peter and Helen wasting time finding me.

  14. "President Obama's economic stimulus plan can also bring much needed dollars into the 46th Ward to addresses schools, housing preservation and infrastructure."


    Ms. Shiller,

    We wouldn't need this money if you weren't wasting MILLIONS on Wilson Yard, MILLIONS that you have directed AWAY from schools and infrastructure so that you can build low, very low, and NO INCOME housing in an area that is already saturated. And if you really cared about schools you would not have allowed TWO methadone clinics to open up within 500 feet of an elementary school.

  15. I'm not sure about a retail corridor.. I've been dieing for some place to walk to in this community that isn't a coffeeshop or a concert hall. Sheridan is all vacant storefronts from Wilson up North to Foster. No store can survive the # of panhandlers in the area and they actually deter me from walking along the street altogether. I'd rather walk the lakefront.

    Broaway is empty after the Post Office. With Aon vacating the building, there isn't much there either besides a laundrymat and a game store.

    So far, I've been very unimpressed with what little retail we do have. And a walkable corridor, we definitely do not, any stores that are open usually have a barricade of people asking for money.

    We do not need anymore affordable housing in the neighborhood. We are so deep into it, we can't walk the neighborhood without being harassed (especially in front of convenient and/or liquor stores).

  16. Is this Aon building really in the 48th?

    This is ridiculous. Shiller spends more time talking to the press about issues outside of the 46th Ward then she does about her own Ward.

    Residents of this ward are completely underserved by this incompetence. I don't know how the businesses here survive. Thank god there's enough capital not in total control of the political forces in Chicago or this would hell on Earth.

  17. "I don't know how the businesses here survive."

    Some exceptions to the rule (between Clark and the lakefront from Lawrence to Irving Park):

    Popeye's at the Wilson el
    Carol's Pub at Clark and Leland
    Borders at Broadway and Racine
    The Jewel at Broadway and Montrose
    Gigio's on Broadway near Wilson
    McDonald's at Wilson and Sheridan

    Im sure there are many more I cant think of off the top of my head. Meaning that as bad as things appear to be here, Uptown still ain't nearly the "stone cold
    ghetto," with scattered, security-gate-wrapped retail establishments like one sees in areas on the city's west side.

  18. You're right Phred... it's not as bad as some areas... yet. If left to Helen and Peter it won't be long.

  19. Phred, strong rumors tell tale of Border's closing when their lease is up. It is something they are strongly considering because business is not good at this location. And that Jewel? I don't know how it survives except for the fact that there are so many "evil condo owners" south of Montrose and the few north of Montrose. This grocery store has the highest amount of annual loss by theft than any other grocery store in the country. In my humble opinion I don't consider either of these stories a success tale.

  20. All of a sudden, we have the potential for a time when the market is really down to actually create industries that reuse so much of our goods

    Complete and utter horsesh*t!

    Maybe our beloved alderman should talk to aluminum recyclers about their backlog of stock since the price of aluminum is so um ... high.

    When industry is down, recycling will follow. You won't CREATE anything but a stock pile during a down economy.

    Who in the hell does she think she's talking to?

    She said that federal stimulus money could also be used an additional resource for local business.

    Really? HOW?! How in the hell is the stimulus package going to help local retail?! 'splain that me.

    And .., why would local businesses even NEED the stimulus plan when there's a TIF?

    Having Target open puts the lie to everything


    This isn't a game, Helen.

    Enough with the taunting and playground tactics. Grow the hell up, and grow a set so that you can address all of the people in your ward and stop hiding behind the likes of Greg Harris and Heather Steans.

  21. This is all just a ploy. She is pretending to address the needs of the community in hope that some of these things are taken care of by election time.

    However, with her follow through capabilities and her ability to lie, it seems doubtful that anything will come to fruition.

    It is just to try to buy some of the gullible votes in the community.

  22. Who in the hell does she think she's talking to?

    To whom do Marxists typically address? Themselves.

    Really though, Target is supposedly anchoring the site and will open in June 2010. That's 14 months out.

    Is this the state of the ward planning? We take 7 years to lay the first brick on a project that will be ready 8 years from announcement.

  23. Does ANY part of this paragraph make sense to anyone that has lived in Uptown? The entire paragraph itself makes zero sense. I hope that eventually the folks on the south end of the 46th Ward start to get their senses about current leadership and move towards some kind of change locally.

    "We've worked very hard over the past 10 years to create retail corridors," Shiller said. "We're getting to the point where we have enough critical mass, that if [commercial spaces] were all full they would create their own critical mass for a walking population to use. There are things we have to do to enhance that, like making sure that the Aon building gets used."

  24. Phred,

    Carol's Pub and Borders are not in Shiller's ward. Shiller oversees the the swath of empty store fronts along Broadway that begins north of Stratford and ends miserably south of Leland. I do not think it is a coincidence that the businesses are far more vibrant at either end of this corridor.

    There are successful businesses in Shiller's ward (Unique so Chique, Alma Pita, Pollo Loco, and the others that you mentioned), but from what I have seen and read they are successful in spite of -not because of- the alderman's best intentions.