Saturday, February 6, 2010

Azusa Was Here

The terracotta from the former Azusa Building at Montrose and Broadway is now making its first appearance on the corner entrance of the Wilson Yard project in the same spot. While it is great to see the tiles restored, we can't help but notice that it does not match the rest of the retail facade. We wonder if this will be the extremely ornate entrance to the nail salon, Subway Sandwich, AT&T, or Game know, the vibrant retail that is going to save that stretch of Broadway.


  1. I noticed yesterday that it didn't match, too, but then I realized that the bright white of the new facade will probably start to get dirty and worn and match the old ornate entrance within a year or so. I think it's nice they put it up... if only the ugly brown brick of the residences above was prettier. Man, that top part of the building is UUUUUUUGLY!

  2. The combination of the new terra cotta, high-rise slum tower brick, and a patch of 1920's vintage salvage is visually confusing...but that's just me...

  3. people, please. settle down. the building isn't even done yet. if you dislike your neighborhood that much that you resort to dissing it before it is done, then move.

  4. I noticed that last week as well, but am fairly new to the neighborhood. I did spot that same terra cotta in Google StreetView though. Do we know how much was salvaged and where it's all going? If it's just that one bit on the corner, I'm stumped, but if it's a whole wall, like along Broadway, I can get with that.


  5. Arehart, you are in freeking Colorado..LOL ... (see his blogger profile).... what, did the Wicked Witch of Andersonville, Shiller, finally start running out of flying monkey minions in Chicago and had to recruit 5 states away?

    Why dont you concentrate in things in your own backyard, or your own state even, before commenting on OUR neighborhood

  6. Have we heard what type of retail storefront are opening at the Wilson Yards, ASIDE FROM TARGET.

  7. Pablo-
    Check the original post. The confirmed tenants are listed there.

  8. Don't be so cynical - they haven't even leased that spot yet. And no, I'm not kidding.

    larrynow: are you sure that the newer part is actually terracotta? The use of terracotta these days is rare and usually only in luxury buildings. And are were sure that only that corner was salvaged, or is it possible they'll reattach the rest of the old facade too?

  9. Our guess is they will reattach salvaged pieces above the retail windows as there is nothing there yet, just a small strip of exposed insulation surrounded by more white tile.

  10. "The use of terracotta these days is rare and usually only in luxury buildings."

    Do $480.000.00 per unit apartment construction costs qualify as "luxury?"

  11. Putting that terra cotta there is like putting a silk hat on a pig.

    Not like I expected much more from this project anyway...

  12. I just expected a unified aesthetic for that price tag!
    The patchwork result looks like a feeble effort to appease the masses.

  13. And how do we know they aren't goiong to continue adding on the rest of the old terra cotta to the rest or other parts of the building?

  14. I can't believe the level of animosity here. Sometimes this site is filled with good information, but the sarcasm, and the negativity just reek.

    Now on to terracotta, bricks, Shiller, and Smith. Out tax money, in the way of TIFF's, went on to renovate the old Goldblatt's building, which now houses Borders, several other retail spaces, and several upscale condominiums, some which were made available to low income families. The building is a success. It has, without question, revitalized the Lawrence and Broadway area. Without it, I doubt we would have a Bank of America, Crew, Wild Pug, Uptown Lounge, Annoyance Theatre, etc.

    I know some of you complained at the time it was being built because it was going to house low income families, brick with terracotta, it was too tall, and not tall enough, etc. And now you even advertise for it here. You use it to blanket your self and your anger against Shiller. Well, guess what, she was instrumental, as was Smith, in bringing the revitalization to the old Goldblatt's building. So if you think brick and terracotta, wealthy and poor don't go together, then have a second look at the triangle of Racine, Broadway, Lawrence, let your anger simmer down, and let some common sense kick in.

  15. Because they didn't save most of the old terra cotta. There was a disappointing pile of fragments left after they saved what we now see.

    Not to be Negative Norman, but it never seemed like they were doing much about preservation.

    I'm willing to be wrong, and I'm still positive enough to hope some paint color, once it warms up a little, will hopefully unify the space (on can dream).

  16. CARLOS,Carlos, Carlos....learn about a subject before you talk about it..

    EVERY ONE of the businesses you mentioned are in SMITHS ward...if you want and example of Shiller...just go under the el bridge 20 feet south of all that great stuff...See all those abandoned storefronts or rundown buildings? THAT is where SHILLER's ward starts...

    Again, please educate yourself before you bother to comment.. thanks buddy!

  17. Wow Carlos - "she (Shiller)was instrumental, as was Smith, in bringing the revitalization to the old Goldblatt's building."

    Are you freaking kidding me?!?!

    That project wasn't even in Shiller's ward, but she and Couraj pissed and moaned about it so much that Joseph Freed agreed to renovate the hotel at Racine and Leland (Shiller's ward) just to shut her up. And why did Helen want it renovated? So it could be used to house drug addicts and O.N.E. could have a new office space.

  18. Uptown Superwhat?... Thanks for the condescending tone. Glad you can spell my name correctly not once, twice, but three times. I'm impressed you can spell a Latino's name so easily. Oh, and no, I'm not your "buddy". But on to the issues. Shiller pushed for some of the TIFF money to the Goldblatt's building, which as you correctly stated is not on her ward, to be fairly awarded so that small businesses would not be pushed away, and so that some of the condos were made available to low income households. And as we all know the outcome the building is ridden with drug dealers, hookers, child molesters, etc, etc... NOT!

    All you have to do is google "Helen Shiller Goldblatt's" So, yes, superhero sir, I know my neighborhood, I know the issues, I know the people, andjavascript:void(0) I'm not an angry, condescending, belittling, close minded, uninformed person. I did my research, did you?

  19. Carlos Borders is closing by the way at some point.

  20. What does "a Latino's name" have to do with anything?

    Race baiting - nice. Typical Shiller supporters' tactics.

  21. Borders is not necessarily closing, A. It is, however, shopping its lease. Not uncommon. Sometimes used as a renegotiation strategy.

    Odds of this lease being transfered? Low. Odds of business picking up and Borders renewing by the end of the lease term. Slighter higher but still not good.

    The thing about more desirable retail? We have to support them for them to stay.

  22. under the Daley administration, preservation means facade preservation

  23. Carlos, interestingly, you completely avoided addressing the facts. Hmmmm

    NONE of the businesses mentioned are in Shillers ward. That, my dear friend, is a fact. Shillers ward, which starts immediately south of that IS filled with , and I quote you.. "is ridden with drug dealers, hookers, child molesters, etc, etc" (FYI, it is riddled, not ridden)

    So, lets talk about that part of Broadway that is a pit...oh yea,, Helens Broadway...

    ((Sigh)) God forbid we were to have some actual facts brought up without a Shillerista like Carlos slamming out the race card..

  24. FYI:

    Page 133

    SubjExhibit "N".

    (To Uptown Goldblatts Venture, L.L.C. Redevelopment Agreement)

    Public Benefits Program.

    Developer will work with the City, Developer's Tenants, Other Developers, Local Community Organizations to support and to improve the physical, social, cultural and other environments in the Greater Uptown Community and within the immediate vicinity of the Uptown Square Redevelopment Project site at West Lawrence Avenue and North Broadway.


    Support to the Leland Apartments Project at West Leland and North Racine Avenues.

    Developer will donate funds to the Leland Apartments Redevelopment Project in the amount of One Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($1,250,000).

    These funds may be from Developer's cash resources or may be borrowed by Developer from a lending institution of Developer' s choice with Developer paying the
    debt service (principal and interest).

    These funds will be placed in an escrow account for use in the redevelopment of Leland Apartments by the Leland Apartments owner/developer in accordance with agreements to be established between Leland Apartments Developer and the City, all in accord with the provisions of this Redevelopment Agreement.

    Developer will structure the support to Leland Apartments Project and cooperate with the Leland Apartments Developer to ensure that the donation qualifies as donation under the State's affordable housing donation tax credit program and that the Leland Apartments Project receives one hundred percent (100%) of whatever proceeds can be realized from the transfer to and sale by Leland Apartments Developer of the state tax credits.


    Oh, and Carlos you've brought up some excellent points; but, compare/contrast:

    Thanks for the condescending tone. Glad you can spell my name correctly not once, twice, but three times. I'm impressed you can spell a Latino's name so easily.

    I'm not an angry, condescending, belittling, close minded, uninformed person.

    2 out of 5 ain't bad. ;)

  25. Carlos, as long as you're giving out spelling points, let me give you a pointer:

    TIF is a Tax Increment Fund, which is what we're discussing.

    TIFF is a silly argument, which is what you've started by playing the race card.

    Here's another pointer, Latina to Latino: One can debate a point here without using one's ethnicity as a shield. One can also make one's point without calling others names. Rad.

  26. I must say I'm a bit concerned about WY and the neighborhood support or lack there of. I know the story behind the funding and the money that was spent and the controversy of it all. However, when people move in will they be hesitant to tell anyone in the neighborhood that they live in WY because of the possible back lash they may receive? I've lived in Uptown for 11 years so what if I decide that it is better for me to live in the WY building than where I currently live, will I have to "hide" my address from my neighbors that do not live there? Should I feel "unsafe" because the community is not welcoming the building?
    With Shiller as alderman, there is no community say-so as to how money gets spent so once she wanted this project, the people that tried to stop it were unsuccessful. We may not be happy with the cost and specifics of the project but will this bring a backlash in the neighborhood when the apartment building and Target officially open? Will everyone that bad-mouths the project not be shopping at Target then?
    I voiced my opinion to the alderman's office and did what I could to try to make a difference in how much money was being put into the project but like I said before as much as everyone tried what they could, Helen was doing what she wanted, not what was best for the ward.
    So, should residents thinking of making the move into the building think twice about it because they will be shunned from their community?

  27. It may be true that just about anything Helen does will be harshly criticized. That's the excuse she uses for not attending CAPS meetings. The difference, Carlos, is that you blame the community for this. I see it as Helen paying the piper for her past misdeeds.

    There comes a time in some relationships when it's time to end it because it's been too heavily damaged. Helen's relationship with the community has come to that point. I think Helen will run again, so we need to get serious about getting her out of office. I agree with yo and say she is still a major hurdle in the next election.

    One other thing. Any candidate who has endorsed Helen in the past has some serious explaining to do.

  28. So, should residents thinking of making the move into the building think twice about it because they will be shunned from their community?

    It'd be a sad day if the folks moving into WY were to be shunned.

    I say we welcome them without prejudice, with the hope and expectation that they be productive members of the community.

    I'm sure a lot of those folks would prefer a different lot in life; but, that's not really how life works.

    No reason to fault someone for being in circumstances that any of us could be in.

    It is highly fair to attack Shiller's wholly unacceptable tactics as related to how she'd financed WY, but the residents are people, too, and deserve a shot.

    Any candidate who has endorsed Helen in the past has some serious explaining to do.

    I'd asked Greg Harris' chief of staff about the Shiller endorsement a couple of years ago, and recv'd an embarrassed shrug.

    I doubt he'll be endorsing her any more.

    Nor do I see Steans giving Shiller any public support.

    Any candidate worth their salt realize that she's toxic.

    As for who else endorsed Helen in '07:

    Ald. Tom Tunney
    Attorney General Lisa Madigan State Sens. John Cullerton and Carol Ronen (*cough*)
    State Reps. Sara Fegeinholtz
    US Rep Jan Schakowsky

  29. Carlos! Wipe the brown of your nose. You just have to vote for the woman.

  30. yo- you said it very well. I hope everyone else follows suit and has an open mind about the residents moving in WY. Thanks.

  31. "I'd asked Greg Harris' chief of staff about the Shiller endorsement a couple of years ago, and recv'd an embarrassed shrug.

    I doubt he'll be endorsing her any more.

    Nor do I see Steans giving Shiller any public support."

    I think Heather and Greg's drafting of "Helen's Law" has put a bit of a wedge in their relationship. (About time.)

    Many Uptown/Andersonville/Edgewater politicians united for MLK's Day of Service last month. One glaring exception -- Ald. Shiller, who managed to glom onto Alternatives' Day of Service and sent out an email blast about it with less than 24 hours to go before the event. Not sure who's shunning who, but it's appears that any public servant who wants to be re-elected is steering clear of Ald. Shiller.

    What's going to be interesting is to see if there's a chill between Daley and Shiller in the upcoming election season.

  32. I have to give mad props to the architects who designed this marvelously planned developement. They were asked to design a warehouse for poverty and crime and we got WY. From the prisonesque Aldi with no windows or entrances to the street to the vestigal massive door rails along the top of the housing.

  33. The more I look at it, the more I think this is all we'll be getting. As is, this is a hodge-podge of at least three different parts of the original as the Azusa was never that tall and the openings weren't that width, so they've added more to the height, formed a new middle and filled that opening out with another section of terra cotta. It's gonna look Very out of place I'm sure, but hey, at least we got SOMETHING, right?


  34. I drove by this "hybrid" facade today and to be perfectly honest I was not nearly offended by this attempt to blend vintage and modern, than by that monstrosity known as the rehabbed Soldier Field. Now THAT's an architecural abomination!

  35. In the many hours of my life I wasted in the planning charettes for Wilson Yard, it was stated as a universal community goal that the existing, terra cotta (not tiles) clad building and its businesses be kept intact at all costs. Not working around the businesses and not keeping the building or at least all of its facade is a rip off. This postage stamp sized preservation FAIL is really, really disappointing. The same can be said for the city-subsidized wrecking of the really nice polychrome moderne terra cotta cladding that once adorned the NE corner of Argyle and Broadway. You and I paid to make it look worse for all time. Go figure.