Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please, Sir, May I Have Another?

Because the Wilson Yard TIF proved so popular, we're getting another.  Read all about it in the Lake Effect News:
  • New TIF Coming To Uptown.  "A TIF eligibility study is now underway for the former Columbus-Maryville campus at 810 W. Montrose Ave. that falls within the Wilson Yard TIF District boundaries in Uptown. Plans are to create a new, self-sustaining TIF that includes the roughly four-square block Maryville property and a portion of Clarendon Park that will go toward financing a private $500 million, mixed-use development of up to 856 residential units on the Maryville campus."
  • Developer Says Community Won’t Lose Parking To New Uptown Development.  "Sedgwick Properties and Development Corporation has been meeting with neighborhood groups and organizations to address community concerns about its mixed-use development that will include two towers of market-rate condominiums and rental housing, a 10-story affordable senior building, five-story townhomes, a boutique motel and 100,000 square feet of new retail at the corner of Montrose and Clarendon Avenues."


  1. For those of you who don't understand the "Animal House" reference I offer this.

  2. Anyone else feel like we just stepped back to the year 2000, when the same WY script was being read to the hood? Shiller must have wrote a book "steps to voter farms"

  3. The silver lining in this is that she has not learned a single thing about her constituents anger. This blatant disregard will help even more people along the lake understand what she is really up to. PRIME LAKEFRONT PROPERTY DOESN'T NEED TIF MONEY TO BE DEVELOPED!

    Psssst...Helen.....its more than just a couple of upset residents. And you are helping us spread the word.

  4. I'm beginning to wonder whether Shiller will run again or not.

    This is a stupid move if she does plan to run.

    I do believe that Daley will run again. He's making the moves of someone planning to run with his "ticket amnesty" and tax rebate plans.

    My source within City Hall, Deep Sausage, says Daley is worried about a real challenger this time. Jesse Jackson Jr. has emerged from hibernation recently and some others are talking about running. Mostly talk I imagine.

    My guess is that ultimately Daley runs and wins against some non-entity, but they are planning for a real campaign.

    In case of a real campaign every vote will be fought for and Shiller can expect "da mare" to toss her aside. Daley recognizes "toxic" and Shiller is toxic. Better to get her out and let some less controversial machine hack get elected.

    Can you say "Greg Harris"? I knew you could.

    Assuming he hasn't moved from Winona(Ryder)he does live in da fighting 46th Ward. Barely.

    Hell, Greg's gay and he gets to live on Winona. I would like to live on Winona Ryder and allegedly I'm straight. It's for the best anyway. She would probably filch my CTA card and collection of Guinness glasses.

    Oh's for the best.

  5. Whatever IP,

    I have to call you out.... the Mayor is not so dramatic.

    However, this does look like the same WY stuff.

    This is just bad policy in the ward. Shiller is not evil, she just doesn't understand why it is bad.

  6. A seperate TIF? Didn't Shiller expand the original Wilson Yard TIF to include this area and double the amount from $54 million to $100+? Now this area gets its own special TIF on top of that? And since when does property that close to the Lake need a TIF in order to be developed? Smells like a rat to me.

  7. MCG,

    The Mayor ain't dramatic?

    You better define dramatic because I have seen him "dramatic" many times.

    The guy gets teary eyed easily. Angers easily. Pouts publicly.

    Sounds dramatic to me.

    As for my Harris comment I have no idea whether he will run or not. Just stirring the pot because of something I was told weeks ago. Harris may not run. I just like to annoy the Shilleristas.

    Annoying them completes my otherwise meaningless little life.

  8. IP,

    I think you are secretly the mayor.

  9. MCG,

    You figured me out. I am actually Mayor Daley and I like to dress up like John Belushi from Animal House.

    Pirate Belushi at the end. I rampage around City Hall and swing around while my bodyguards try to get a hold of me.

    Go to 1:10 to get an idea of what I mean.

    I have to call YOU out.......the mayor is dramatic.

    I mean he doesn't break out into show tunes, as far as I know, but I bet he could sing any number of White Sox related songs.

    I picture him among this crowd singing

  10. I oppose this project because it encircles the Clarendon Park community within the final segment of the "Great Wall of Helen." In a uproar of city planning criticism after the new McCormick Place addition cut off the final link of the near South Side and Chinatown neighborhood to the lakefront and park, the city vowed to never do this again. Yet, Shiller has slowly walled this community off from any lakefront greenspace by giving (without any community notice) Leland Avenue to Weiss Hospital to build over and by ignoring the Wilson TIF study recommendations to open pathways from Broadway to the Western side of Truman College.

    The result of the walling off of Sheridan Park and Clarendon Park from foot traffic and vehicle flow is increased crime pockets. The result of walling off areas west of Clarendon Avenue from Lincoln Park is loss of usable green space for a community that is underserved by and constantly losing green space, per Dept of Environment studies.

    No developer should be allowed to have his own "Special use" zoning district to operate as a means to do things that would otherwise be forbidden in a purely residential area.

  11. how many mixed units are going on come in Uptown! There has to be a max if there is a min required. This is getting out of control.

  12. This TIF would be a huge loser for Helen. Without public housing in this development, she isn't going to be able to sell this project to anyone who still listens to her...except one deep-pocketed developer that is.

  13. I think I'm having that strange feeling of vuja da. You know, that feeling you get when you know you've seen this all before and again, and again, and again.

    So I called the developer with some questions.

    Question: What is the definition of Market Rate?
    Answer: What ever the developer can get in rent plus subsidies.

    Question: What is the definition of Mixed Use?
    Answer: Seven-Eleven, Nail Salon, Subway Shop as anchor tenants.

    Question: What does it mean that "the community won't lose parking?"
    Answer: All those free parking spaces on the street you don't have to pay for will now be in the developer's garage and will cost you $100+ per month in rent.

    Question: How many low income senior citizens get apartments in prime lakefront property and why can't they be located west of Clark Street where it may be cheaper to build?
    Answer: Grannies that want high styling lakefront property but can't afford it should be able to live better than you at the taxpayer's expense. What do you have against Grandma?

    Question: What is a boutique motel?
    Answer: Many of Uptowns former hotels, like Somerset Place house the mentally ill, felons and mentally ill felons. It adds culture, class and excitment to our streets. If an operator for a boutique motel can't be found, we can always turn it into a halfway house. You people in Uptown will never know the difference.

    Question: Why should my tax dollars go to underwrite a TIF so you a private developer can do this deal and reap tremendous financial rewards?
    Answer: Why not. All you need to do is call yourself a developer, get cozy with the pols and you hit the jackpot. Who says gambling in Chicago's not legal.

  14. In exchange for TIF money, Sedgwick plans to withdraw a loan of $6 million against the new TIF which will go to the Chicago Park District for renovation of Clarendon Park’s aging field house and other park improvements, including resurfacing outdoor areas and the creation of new softball fields, night lighting, a football field and running track. Sedgwick is looking to demolish the buildings starting in May, and beginning construction something in late summer or early fall of this year.

    There's an important item missing in that list.

    So, really, what this is saying is that the TIF is req'd to get the development moving, and TIF money will be used (they'll borrow against money that they don't quite yet have, yet .. Ms. Elder? Comments?) for park improvements to quiet the unrest.

    Of course, park improvements aren't possible outside of this plan since the park district doesn't have the money because of all of the TIFs throughout the city sucking up the funds.

    Ironic, ain't it?

    To add to that irony, the city's general revenue fund (which is at -$500M, currently .. oddly matching how much the city skimmed from TIF districts, last year) will only get pennies on the dollar from any new tax revenue in this area for 23 years.

    “The [proposed TIF district] has zero impact on residents other than the park district which has the opportunity to realize the benefits within itself,” Feeley said.


    1) How can he possibly say that w/o releasing the results of the traffic study until February?

    2) Even the smallest uptick in foot traffic will be an "effect". Couple this with the increased traffic w/Target, et al, and Jay Feeley has just been exposed as talking out his a**.

    Oh, and don't forget how this might affect the CTA on that route.

    Also - where are the designs for this development?

    Is it going to be another architectural abhoration that Holsten slapped up on Montrose?

    Why are people so quick to support, and fund, things they haven't even seen?

    Again - where are the screams against gentrification? Where are those who pop on this site to besmirch gentrification and the influx of evil, dirty, condo owners?

    We're looking at a massive development, across the street from another tower of housing ... can the corner take the weight?

    But, don't fret fellow neighbors, this will all have to go in front of the Dep't of Community Development - and we all know much they value the opinion of the citizens over those of the alderman (if they actually decide to attend, and stay awake for the meetings).

    Can't wait for that CDC hearing, though. Will the same folks who showed up to talk about how awesome WY was with regards to affordable housing (which wasn't a component of the amendment) show up again to talk about how awesome Shiller is for throwing proper civic planning out the window, once more?

    Lorraine should speak to the folks of the Clarendon block clubs and find out what the price of their support was.

    You'd be surprised at how low it was.

    My question, again, what is Shiller gaining from this?

    Maybe she's simply trying to do with her ward what we should do with city council: flush out the old, and bring in new/better people.

    Oh ... and just think what would happen if a fire broke out in a 30+ story tower, on a busy summer Saturday afternoon, when LSD, Broadway, Montrose and Wilson are blocked with Target and Cubs traffic.

    As an aside, if Heather Steans wants me to even consider me voting for her, she'll go on record with her thoughts on this.

  15. Ummm...if you were trying to do a hip/ironic "Oliver Twist" pop-culture reference with your headline, you'd better go back to the original and do a revision:

    Young Master Twist actually asked for "More!"

  16. There are going to be a few candidates running against Shiller this time.

    Not just James.

  17. Hey Gayle,

    We were aiming for a more S&M theme than Oliver Twist. Seems more appropriate given the context.

  18. Yo mentions "where's the screams against gentrification?" Exactly.

    Shiller's peeps aren't protesting this huge "market rate" development, but they will go up in arms about Borders, and a condo here and there, and anything else that remotely looks like home ownership - but not this.

    Something stinks bad.

  19. Gayle et al..."Animal House" had a line in the frat house initiation scene which went "Thank you sir...May I have another?" The pledge was being paddled by the brother.

  20. Wow. New TIFs are in full bloom.

    "No public monies will be expended on private developments. They will only be expended to the extent necessary to bring basic public infrastructure and ready the site for private investment."

    That's not an un-arguable concept, are we seeing that here?

    I do like this:

    Molly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Community Development, said the development is not guaranteed all of the projected $162 million; a final amount will be determined in the next few months.

    At least the cretins on the CDC are consistent in not knowing what they're approving until after they approve it.

  21. Ummmm.... Gayle.... we know our English lit. We also know our "Animal House." Read comment #1 and click, or get thee to a Redbox.

  22. OMG another TIF??! sell the property off! More mixed income for the 46th? this is insane.

  23. Yes, Yo, you called? :-)

    I'm pretty sure you know I'm no fan of TIFs but I'm not sure what you'd like me to comment on here.

    Is the loan surprising? Loans are made on expected revenues, TIF or general, on a regular basis. If there's an approved plan in place, financing a project in this way makes some sense especially in the current climate with liquidity effectively nil, especially for construction loans.

    TIF guarantees are, theoretically, market-makers, so to speak. On the other hand, I don't know if the private sector has been tested on this site. Are there developers willing/interested in a project without the TIF incentive?

    What doesn't make sense are those TIF districts that have taken out loans but have never planned, produced or parked anything.

  24. Ah .. but it is not a construction loan.

    It's loan to pay for park improvements (the sweetness, if you will, before the bitter pill).

    To rephrase:

    The developer (a private entity) is lent money (tax dollars) from the city (a public entity) to pay for public improvements which are not direct revenue streams, right?

    The developer (a private entity) then gives that money (tax dollars) back to the city (a public entity) via the park district (whatever the hell they are) to pay for improvements (historic province of the district); but, they (park district) can't make these improvements since they (a public entity)lack the funds (tax dollars) due to the general revenue being in a state of deficit (due in no small part to TIFs).

    I was really just curious if I have that process correct.

    Your comment on testing by the private sector poses a good question I doubt we'll see answered.

  25. I wonder how anything got done in Chicago before a TIF came to the rescue?

  26. I’m just home from luscious dinner party so my head is a bit foggy.

    Correct me if I’ve got it wrong but isn’t this essentially the same question I have about Wilson Yards? The public piece-- housing, parks, schools --is married with a private interest, creating a financing “beard” to access public dollars otherwise unavailable from traditional, private sources. At WY, the beard is affordable housing, here at Mercy it’s parks and/or parking, yes?

    The thing about loans, Yo, is when you’ve got money, it’s easier to get them, which means it may not matter whether this money is for a construction loan or for a lifetime’s worth of Pirate bikini waxes; if it’s liquid, it can be leveraged.

    What makes this possible---if there really is a “this”---is how squishy to non-existent the reporting requirements are (both in statute at the state level and in practice at the city level); it affords an advantage to those who rely on/prefer silence and subterfuge.

    Just Wondering: Ask some of your older neighbors about the patronage system under old man Daley.

  27. The public piece-- housing, parks, schools --is married with a private interest, creating a financing “beard” to access public dollars otherwise unavailable from traditional, private sources. At WY, the beard is affordable housing, here at Mercy it’s parks and/or parking, yes? Suzanne Elder

    Suzanne, the point is that we don't have to settle on a TIF or patronage to make needed improvements in Chicago. The assumption is your use of the words "otherwise unavailable from traditional private sources." I wonder how many Chicagoans have been duped by Daley and City Council into believing that TIFS are the only funding source available for making improvements. My sense is that number is rapidly dwindling.

    As of now, we're borrowing money from Peter to pay Paul to help Peter. In the process, Paul is making a huge profit from it all. I'm not opposed to TIFS, but Peter and his relatives are getting worse off with each TIF that's passed. Meanwhile, Paul, who claims to love dogs and poor people, is pouring a ton of money into Helen and Richie's campaigns so that they keep granting Paul the right to take Peter's money. Helen tells us not to worry though because the money grows on trees, but she forgot to mention that the trees were growing in Peter's yard and the trees are dying because someone keeps pulling off all their leaves.

    Ironically, Paul in this scenario really exists and he goes by the name of Peter who hails from Hinsdale.

  28. The idea of IP freshly waxed might actually be more disturbing than the city's curious financial processes.

  29. Sorry, I'm more of an English Lit person than an "Animal House" person. But come to think of it, the people at the orphanage treated Oliver et al pretty sadistically, right?

    Come to think of it...much of Dickens', Hugo's, and other "social protest" novelists' works are still pretty relevant to conditions in Uptown and elsewhere even today.

  30. There are just some discussions that offend the Almighty.

    "Waxing" and mentioning me in the same sentence..........the Lord is pissed.

    I'm talking Old Testament wrath of God annoyed. Not that poofy New Testament "Love Thy Neighbor" crap.

    Pat Robertson is just waiting for a natural disaster to hit Uptown, besides Helen Shiller, so he can point out how this discussion led to all the ills we will suffer.

    You have been warned.

  31. So when I finally sit down and write "Uptown the Musical," I can use Dickens' work as a foundation for the plot, themes and character development?

    That's a pretty good idea, Gayle! :)

  32. I know I might be in the minority based on the comments left here, but I am personally excited about what this development will bring to the neighborhood. This will increase property values and clean up Clarendon Park. I'm a little shocked by the extreme negativity of people in here.

  33. Nicholas, I wonder if you were here when we were hearing the grand stories about how wonderful the Wilson Yard was going to be?

    What we were promised and what we got was the impetus for filing a lawsuit. I'm delighted that you happy about this, but I think you're a bit naive if you believe what's promised is what we'll get. Because there have been no open meetings as required by law, something tells me that someone is being sneaky. My experience with Helen is that she alone makes the rules when it comes to TIFS in this neighborhood. She does not play well with others.

  34. How can planned development zoning be used for this property development? Year ago the area was zoned as a planned development solely for hospital/medical use. That is why the Holy Sisters routinely lied-through-their-teeth in telling the community that they were running a hospital program for cocaine addicted babies and baby mommas (permitted in the planned development zone) instead of really running a shelter operation with Maryville and DCFS kids living in a windowless basement former morgue. The real use for the past 20 years violated both the existing planned development zoning code and the building code, which Shiller and most politico's in this neighborhood fully knew.

    So, the hospital has now formally gone bye-bye. The planned development zoning status should go bye-bye with it and the property should revert to the zoning status of the surrounding properties, which I think is RM-5 to the west, and RT-4 to the north. Montrose Avenue has an adjacent B3-5 property west of the 850 Montrose building. None of this suggests that the area could jump up to heavy commercial or business use (hotel and small business) on the Clarendon side.

    So, is that the purpose of trying to slide this monster project through as a "planned development"? Does anyone know if they are claiming that this is a continuation and modification of the old planned development or whether they are saying that this will be a new planned development?

  35. Hey Just Wondering,

    Your right I wasn't here for the Wilson Yard thing. I've read/heard about it though. It sucks when people over promise and then under deliver.

    I just try not to be pessimistic about things. If the developer sticks to the plan, I think that this will be a HUGE plus to the neighborhood and will provide benefits to all of us.

    More condo owners will mean more eyes looking out windows and more well to do people walking around which will have a dramatic effect on crime in the park and general area.

    I am trying to remain optimistic and positive about this. If done properly this would really improve the neighborhood.