Friday, July 23, 2010

Fixed Wilson Yard?

By Jake Malooley, Time Out Chicago
In December 2008, a small but very vocal group of Uptown residents filed a landmark lawsuit against the city. The suit cited abuse of the tax-increment financing plan funding the redevelopment of Wilson Yard, the tract bordered by Broadway, Montrose Avenue and the CTA Red Line tracks south of Wilson Station. Comprising mostly white condo owners, the group called itself Fix Wilson Yard. It wasn’t against the plan’s Target store (opening Sunday 25) or the (as-yet-unoccupied) retail shops along Broadway. What tripped its litigious trigger were the proposed multistory affordable-housing structures (80 units for families, 98 for seniors) that Fix Wilson Yard supporters likened to Cabrini-Green, the Robert Taylor Homes and other Chicago public-housing failures. Continue Reading


  1. If you google the writer ( ) you will see he is about 25 without a clue... and if you google his other articles, they include how to get kicked out of public restrooms, the inventor of a vibrator, etc etc... not saying those are not interesting topics, but I hardly believe he would be the person one would chose to write about Wilson Yard without a bit of an anarchist twist... search for yourselfs...

  2. Holsten has generally done a decent job of managing low income properties. For the foreseeable future these properties will likely be well managed. At some point though a different company may buy the buildings and manage less effectively.

    When Cabrini Green was first built they were well managed. Then policies changed and it became a series of high rise slums.

    I am happy they have a live in property manager.

    My main complaints with these units is the enormous costs to the taxpayers for subpar units, in terms of size and finishes, and "what could have been".

    The TIF money should have been used to build a new EL stop at Montrose. Said El stop should have run one block north to connnect to the college and directly to the Target.

    Then the corner of Broadway and Montrose would have been open for entrances and exits from the Target. Alleviating the traffic problems we are likely to see here.

    Hell, if you had a new EL stop the movie theater companies would likely have fought one another to get in.

    By the way the "House Beautiful" line was overdone. Please.

    Perhaps next time we can spend even more money per unit to give a truly House Beautiful motif.

    Say oh I don't know.........$600 grand per unit.

  3. Jake is an engineer. He constructs narratives in his stories. You can review the history of his reporting to see the trend.

  4. As nice as it would be to have the el link up to target and as much as I feel the stops are a bit oddly spaced out, it never made any sense to move the station to Montrose.

    A) The cemetery interfers with accessibility and offer no space for supportive retail
    B) The current El stop is convenient for Truman, a vital contributor to a healthy community - There is more to this 'hood than Target
    C) The original station is a landmark
    D) It would make Wilson worse, reducing foot traffic (and eyes), encouraging more loitering, and effectively killing the businesses that are already struggling in the area

  5. That article was pretty upsetting. I wanted to post a comment on the Time Out site, but three attempts later and all I got was an "unable to post comment" message.

  6. The author of the article should go back and see what residents were saying about Robert Taylor and Cabrini Green the day they opened. The comments were eerily similar to Wilson Yard.

    I also don't think the author realized that his tax dollars were being spent on 400K dollar units of low income housing, when most "white condo owners" in the ward live in units that cost much less.

  7. Clearly, the author does not have a real feel for the war zone going on up here, or the failed model that this housing block represents.

  8. As a probation officer for many years , I never cease to be amazed at some of the beautiful places my families live in or are relocated to.There's nothing like seeing a family of criminals who have never worked , gone to school or done anything productive living in beautiful new apartments and townhouses, nicer then where I live, and worth probably well over $400,000 to $500,000. And the real kicker is to see the deterioration over the years , usually fairly rapidly. As a small business owner as well as a probation officer I feel like the city has no real interest in people like me .My business has virtually been destroyed by the increased parking rates , I have had to pay $720 in nitpicking city violations on my business in the last year as well as $750 in parking and red light tickets , most of which were related to either my business or probation job. It really is getting to me to see criminals being held virtually uaccountable for anything they do and if the case even goes to court they walk out with no consequences . No fines or penalties for them, just a nice new apartment or townhouse.

  9. A pundit once gave the definition of a Puritan as "one who is terrified by the idea that somewhere, someone is actually having a good time."

    Some UU's seem to be a variant of this: "One who is terrified by the idea that, after all is said and done, Wilson Yard may actually be a success."