Saturday, November 7, 2009

LEN: Fix Wilson Yard Lawsuit Takes A Recess

Fix Wilson Yard Shelves Lawsuit … But Keeps the Door Open


Blaming limited financial resources, Fix Wilson Yard withdrew its lawsuit against the City of Chicago and a private developer on Thursday, putting further litigation on hold for one year.

[...] Fix Wilson Yard President Molly Phelan told an audience of 30 supporters gathered at the Holiday Club in Buena Park on Thursday evening that it was the neighborhood group that had initiated settlement talks with the city and Holsten to bring the lawsuit to conclusion.

The neighborhood group had asked that rental housing in the development go back to the 80/20 mix of market rate and affordable housing that was originally presented to the Chicago Joint Review Board back in 2004. Fix Wilson Yard also asked that an independent community review board be established to have input into management of the senior and family housing, and oversight of how TIF funds were spent within the Wilson Yard TIF District.

“We wanted to talk about possible solutions for the community to rally around the Wilson Yard development and move forward,” Phelan said. “We wanted to have a dialogue with the city where they understood that mistakes were made and the issues that the community had with developer and the TIF … Unfortunately, both the city and developer told us to go fly a kite to put it nicely.”

Read the entire story, including Peter Holsten's reaction, and what happens next, at Lake Effect News.


  1. “Had the real estate market been stronger when we were looking at condos, we would have done it,” Holsten said.

    “It wasn’t strong then and it’s not strong now. We can’t resurrect it now and we won’t consider converting [the housing to condos] in the future.”

    Did Peter hear the "ping" of the irony meter needle slamming against the peg when he made these comments?

    What I gleam from them is:

    - Holsten's main priority is profit. Not community, or the effect his need for profit has on the community.

    - Holsten is being disingenuous regarding the state of the real estate market at the time WY was being planned. Cuz ... I could have sworn during the planning for WY, there was this real estate boom-thing going on.

    The kind of boom which prompted City Council to tie the fortunes of CTA on an increase in the real estate transfer tax.

    The kind of boom which fueled fears of out-of-control gentrification throughout the city.

    Granted, this article may not comprehensively represent everything the man said during the interview; but, what I don't see is any remark which denotes any sort of appreciation for the concern(s) of the community - those pesky folks who are footing a large hunk of the bill to help Peter realize this profit he desperately needs.

    Further, I'd like to know who this "we" is, to which he refers.

    And then this gem:

    “I have financial guarantees out there and it wouldn’t be wise for me to do.”

    A property owner in Uptown has obligations which are intricately connected to the value of the property purchased.

    I get that. I really do.

    Actually, a lot of the people around here are intimately familiar with how important the value of their property is to their lives.

    Must be nice to have the support of the city to help protect your real estate investment, sir.

    I'm jealous.

    While putting the suit on hold is disappointing, I do understand the realities.

    Simply put: FWY become entrenched within, and then deluged by, legal and political "finangling" to the point, predictably so, where Holsten and the city simply pummeled the suit into submission.

    So much for any sort of claim of "public input".

    Anyway - go on with your bad self, Mr. Holsten. You go get this profit which you need, which the property owners ... your new neighbors, helped you generate - while the city leans on us and forces us to take it.

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  3. We need to take this effort and money and put it behind the 2011 election. time to get rid of Shiller and Daley.

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  5. I woulda donated more money, but after donating on their website and thanking them for their hard work, I never recieved a thank you back. Money wasted anyway.

  6. Realistically, given the obstacles of a financial and political nature it was unlikely this lawsuit would be successful. That's if you define success as stopping the construction or turning it into a true mixed income development.

    It was a success in the sense that it brought some light to the screwed up TIF process in this city.

    It was also a success in that it makes it less likely Shiller will be Alderman after the 2011 elections. Just wait till the bevy of aldermanic candidates spread the word about the $400,000 plus taxpayer funded housing units.

    It won't be good for Shiller.

    Think of the lawsuit as not only adding to the foundation of the oust Shiller movement, but being the first real salvo in a long term TIF reform fight.

    Shiller ran for aldercritter two times before finally winning on her third try in 1987. Now it's clear at least three people plan to run against her. Whether the ultimate candidate is the Capplemaniac or someone else they will still be building on the base Cappleman created in 2007.

    All kinds of things add to the momentum of the oust Shiller movement. Her reaction or lack of reaction to the gunfire in our community. Her votes or strategic non votes for the parking meter deal and other controversial issues. The reality that come next November folks in the 46th Ward are going to see double digit increases in their property tax bills because of the recent reassessment and rising taxes.

    The election of 2011 is 15 months away. Not that long really.

    I donated to Fix Wilson Yard. I don't consider the money or the effort wasted.

  7. I guess your right IP. Her ramrodding the low income through is essentially political suicide. I guess the silver lining in all of this will be knowing Uptown can move forward without Helen Shiller at the helm in 15 mos. If it would have been a true mixed income development like she initially sold us, getting her out of office may not have been as easy.

    Another silver lining is that Daley and his secret piggy bank is finally starting to be exposed. Helens terrible management of her ward and her secret agendas have caused a lot of grief for Da'Mare. One can only imagine what city hall thinks about the mess of a ward she has created up here in Uptown.

  8. "This isn't the big great City people think it is and certainly not comparable to other world class Cities."

    If you make a sweeping generalization such as this please qualify it. Personally I respectfully disagree. I have friends in NYC, Boston, LA, London and Paris who all deal with similar issues. Just like most of our "problems" don't make local news (How many of the shootings have been covered by the Sub-Times and Trib? What about coverage of the WY Lawsuit?) much less national news, many of the issues they are dealing with are not publicized. I would hope that you would consider most of these cities World Class (or else I don't know what you mean by world class.)

    Now, that does not mean we should ignore the problems. But most of our problems can only be solved through collective action. You cannot improve the city by withdrawing from the fight.

    Moreover "vote the damn incumbents out even if the candidate scares you" is one of the stupidest ideas I have heard in a long time. In theory the desire for re-election should force our representative to listen to us. If they know they won't be re-elected what incentive do they have to actually represent the views of their constituents? (Have you heard the crap R. Burris has been spewing in Washington?) Now some aldercreatures attempt to game the system by turning their constituents on each other, rewriting ward boundaries, moving people to their ward and busing voters to the polls. I do think your statement should apply to almost any representative who does the above, but not to all representatives.

    Ok....I'll get off my high-horse and cede the floor. I just get rather irked by sweeping generalizations. IMHO they are what got us in this mess in the first place.

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  10. A,

    if crazy is what you want I'll run for Mayor.

    I meet all the requirements.

    I'm male, Irish Catholic, born on the south side, barely speak English, alcoholic and criminal tendencies..............I am so the next Mayor.

  11. I'm always amazed when people cheer irresponsible governance.