Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hush-Hush Target Grand Opening Today

In an invitation-only "Grand Opening" today, Mayor Daley, Ald. Shiller and Peter Holsten cut the ribbon on the new Target at Wilson Yard.  (We commoners can enter the store on July 25th, when it opens to the proletariat.)  You can see a photo on Business Partners' Facebook page, and we're sure our favorite hyperlocal reporter will have something up on her news site soon.

Our favorite part of the whole thing?  Daley doing the humminna-humminna-humminna, deer-in-the-headlights thing, trying to explain that the city has no money to hire new police officers and that taking those salaries out of TIF funds is so uncool, man.  All this while standing in the middle of one of the most unnecessary, money-wasting TIFs in history, standing next to the people who managed to spend $400,000 per unit on cheesy rental housing that will bring no economic development to Uptown (except if you count Peter Holsten's and Walsh Construction's bank accounts).  Read all about it here, in "Daley Says 100 More Officers Needed, But No Money."  Our favorite part is that if he hires more police with TIF funds, it's the Target employees who will suffer for the rest of their lives.

Nicely done, Helen.  You played the game, you got your Target, and your low-income housing.  We're still waiting for the Crate & Barrel, the movie theaters, the ownership component, the mixed-income housing and the Panera Bread you promised us.  But we guess that's the whole point of TIFs and why you sold your soul to get one of your very own.  You got what you wanted, and we got to pay for it.  Nicely played.

Update:  Here's Mayor Daley's press release about Wilson Yard being the most fantabulistic use of TIF funds EVER!  See how he says it created 350 jobs at Target?  Compare and contrast with Target's own press release, which says that 300 jobs were created.  Guess it's just inflation, eh, Mr. Mayor?

More Updates:  Here's the Tribune story on it.  And CBS2's.


  1. Direct quote from the Daley press release (emphasis mine):

    "Mayor Daley today joined residents, elected officials and members of the business community to celebrate the grand opening of Wilson Yard, a mixed use development that brings 350 permanent jobs, a new Target store and other retail shops and affordable housing to the Uptown community."

    Seems to me the 350 jobs number isn't restricted to the target.

  2. Yeah, let's talk about that, Jon. There's an Aldi that got rebuilt, and a Subway and a nail salon that are allegedly moving into Wilson Yard from previous locations in Uptown. That's zero new jobs created. And then there's... what? We broke the news that ATT is coming to Uptown. Name one, just one, new business that will make up the balance of those 50 new jobs allegedly created by Wilson Yard.

    If Daley and Shiller know, they're sure not telling anyone in the community.

  3. Well CN, mind if I call ya CN?, there will also be some jobs related to the two towers of housing. On site property manager and assistant. Maintenance staff.

    Say 6 people or so.

    Now it's a mere deficit of 44 jobs.

  4. Being I see alot of young women pushing baby strollers and little kids going in and out of the senior building, Montrose side, I wonder if the mixed income and senior building share the same lobby. I yet to see any retail stores unless they are behind the cover spaces that have for lease signs on the white covered windows other then Target.

  5. CBS2 covered it online as well here

    Decide for yourselves if there's a curious note in there.

    I'm not sure if Daley realized how drippingly ironic this statement is:

    To balance your budget, you just can't borrow, because if you do, all these people here behind me, they're going to pay the rest of their life

    1 - Borrow ...? Does he mean like .. in order to pay for services which are essential to the role of the city we shouldn't pull money from the fund he's using to pay for non-essential services, which drew from the fund which was originally designed to pay for those essential services?

    Is that what he considers "borrowing"?

    And, let us not overlook Helen's role in enabling the mayor to make such idiotic fiscal discussions which are killing this city.

    2 - He is right though, you shouldn't borrow to balance your budget. I guess the better idea is to sell off city assets to pay off the deficit created by pulling money from the general revenue fund which created the deficit in the first place.

    Oh .. by the way ..., how much do we have left over from the parking meter deal, Rich?

    Oh. Right.


    Oh. Right.

    3 - Those people standing behind him , and the rest of us are already paying for the next 20 some odd years.

    Considering the state of public safety Daley has created with the help of Helen and her ilk, 20 years may as well be the rest of the lives of some.

    That, and considering TIFs are sucking cop and school money, that deficit is creating other problems.

    Very expensive problems.

    Wow, Rich. It's a damned good thing that we don't have any decent journalists in the major media who can ask follow up questions or you'd look like a damned fool and a liar.

    That said - I'm hopeful of Target and Wilson Yard; however, anyone who stands there and justifies the use of TIFs to lure Target while starving our childrens' education and the city's public safety are either moronic or evil, or both.

    As an aside, I look forward to hearing Target, Hizzoner, Shiller and Holsten all thanking us tax payers within the TIF area for making this happen.

    Not like they'd asked us or anything, or cared about our input; but, still ...

    As for the "permanent jobs" ..., does that include the part-time positions which will likely have (as any part time position will do) a fairly decent amount of turnover, and rarely lead to an actually career.

    Also, let's not overlook that Walmart is forced to pay their employees a living wage ($11/hr), while Target is free to pay their employees $8.25/hr, which - if memory serves, doesn't quite fit the referedum which "passed" a couple of years ago.

  6. I was at the press conference this morning and it was pretty sad. A lot of politicos patting each other on the back, Helen speaking "near" the microphone so once in a while we heard her, other times talking over applause for someone she just mentioned so again we couldn't hear her, etc. She really does ramble on when she speaks. It was also supposed to be OUTSIDE the front doors. Instead it was held inside at the front of the store. You had to get past a guard if you were invited, though he wasn’t checking credentials as long as you told him you were there for the press conference.

    The MOST INTERESTING PART: Helen said she started going to the "retailers convention" held annually in Vegas so she could "try to run into" someone from Target to build us a store. She said she's been going (and still goes BTW) since the mid-90's. Nice "free" vacation at our expense instead of just picking up the phone to call Target. I guess none of that should shock me but basically admitting that you've wasted all that money?

    Same basic story with the movie theaters. After a 5-minute tangent about what could have been built she admits that after all the time and money was spent they finally asked the theater companies and they said no to ever being in a mixed-use development. All that time and money was wasted because they were never coming here if the Target and apartments were included.

    I also thought Helen said the retail space was rented? Daley said that 4 leases were being negotiated and that 3 others are still available. I thought there were already a majority of those spaces leased and coming already, not in negotiation.

    At the end of the news conference everyone was supposed to go out and explore the store and shop but that didn't happen. It just kind of ended and people stood around not sure what to do. So much for seeing the store today except from just inside the front doors. I will say it looks nice from what I could see. Is that parking underneath? I didn't know there was a basement but there are escalators going down just inside the front doors.

    There is a sign at the service desk to take a tour to see how it is LEED Certified but the sign only talks about Target's policies in generic terms, no specifics on this store and no info on a site-specific tour.

  7. Thanks for the info Worried.

    In additional to your Vegas comments, I find it hard to believe it difficult for Helen to find a Target rep to speak with considering how active Target is in the city.

    Did she even need to pick up the phone? Couldn't she just ask another alderman who's given Target a sweet deal to have them give her a ring?

    Point: she's full of crap.

    Again: I don't mind the Target, so much - what is most insulting is how Helen expects anyone to accept her balloon juice as anything even remotely factual.

  8. Fun quote from Daley in that Clout St article:
    "The issue dealing with violence is not just dealing with police officers, it's silence. You cannot have silence in the community when anything takes place," he said.
    Was he speaking directly to Shiller?

  9. Mike as much as we'd like that he's most likely talking about the "no snitchin'" attitude held by some...nice excuse Daley

  10. I just drove by @540 and they're still having a partaaay in there!

    I love how the street construction barrels are all magically moved and all lanes are open.

  11. Lets count down the days until there is a major crime either inside of, or in the front of the new Target.

  12. Wilson Yard and this new Target store will serve as an anchor for the Uptown community

    The Mayor's press folks really should be more selective on their wording.

  13. I am happy about Target and Starbucks and the nice street lights. Sheesh...A lot of griping.

  14. Fairly New - this site is great for information about Uptown, but it's also a constant bitchfest about Shiller.

    I went to the grand opening today. By the way, most grand openings are invitation-only. They're press events, so you want a known quantity there.

    It was a typical grand opening with everyone thanking each other. I learned that there are 17 or so layers of financing in the project. I'm pretty confident that the time put into this effort included a lot of give-and-take with community input, and rolling with the punches in terms of the housing market/economy. It's really too bad the project was developed in an economic downturn, making market rate housing and for-sale units infeasible.

    That said, the Target looks great and I'm stoked to have it in the neighborhood. Shiller has a transparency problem just like most politicians in Chicago, but this Target is a good thing and the inclusion of affordable housing is not the tragedy that people are making it out to be.

  15. Gee, Tara, why do you think this is a constant bitchfest about Shiller? Is it just that all the mean, bitchy people on the north side live in the 46th Ward?

    Poor Helen! What a terrible disaster that she ended up the alderman of a place where all the mean people live!

    If you can name another ward where the citizens have to effing sue their alderman three times just to find out what's going on with their money, please enlighten us.

    No one is pissed about Target. What we are pissed about are the lies and big bag of horse manure about Wilson Yard that we were fed then and are still being fed.

    I'm glad you got to go to the opening. How much money have you paid into it? I've got 23 years of property taxes in that building, so I'm glad you were there to tell me all about what I paid for.

    Well, we'll only have Helen to kick around for another few months. Her legacy, however, will endure.

  16. Tara,

    gee whiz golly. You were invited. I guess you were a "known quantity".

    At around $400 grand per housing unit it's amazing Holsten was even able to build ANYTHING. Poor darling. During the boom developers were able to build more for less money. Now the cost of building has actually dropped slightly in terms of materials and some labor.

    The police should wrap a big yellow tape all around Wilson Yard.......it's a crime scene. The taxpayers were violated and no one even told us they loved us. They just suggested we move to Lincoln Park and then they ran away.

    Peter Holsten probably sings this song when he thinks of our dear Alderman.

  17. I'm pretty confident that the time put into this effort included a lot of give-and-take with community input

    I'm sure you're right ... to an extent; but, the proper way to define "community input" is to narrow your definition of "community".

    You're ignoring a lot details in when you make that statement, quite honestly.

    Such as: (cherry-picked) ballot issues, quietly announced "public" meetings and a very curious display of "support" during a CDC meeting to amend the TIF.

    Please note: the FWY lawsuit was suspended due to "laches", or the statute of limitations to bring the case having expired (which is another argument entirely).

    For better or worse, the merits of the lawsuit were never officially addressed.

    Point: the main cause of the bitchfest is based on whether your assumption actually holds water, or not.

    Some would say that it doesn't hold water, and the alderman rarely provided valid information to dispute or dispell the criticism. That is, when she bothered to provide any information to the general community, at all.

    It's really too bad the project was developed in an economic downturn, making market rate housing and for-sale units infeasible.

    Correction: the project was constucted during an economic downturn.

    The actual planning and development occured prior to the housing market collapse.

    Another point to keep in mind regarding the FWY lawsuit, the court decided to allow construction to continue specifically due to keeping the construction workers employed since the collapse had recently happened.

    So, considering all of the layers of financing required and planning related to such; as well as getting the "proper" authorization from the city, barring the use of a time machine, there's no possible way that the development of this project transpired during the economic downturn.

    No offense, but that portion of your argument isn't valid.

    Additionally, a main thrust of the FWY argument was that the city quite simply couldn't afford to pull $54M away from the general revenue of the city.

    Considering Daley's comment that there's no money for a properly funded police force, and the $900M CPS budget deficit, it's tough to argue against that.

    Also note that Target isn't getting, nor was provided, a lot of TIF money.

    The argument that the Target is a good use of TIF money is a lark - if you look at the facts.

    Shiller has a transparency problem just like most politicians in Chicago

    Not according to her she doesn't.

    Even still, transparency issues from politicians, especially when dealing with the use of public funds, should not be cast aside in such a cavalier manner, nor should they be tolerated.

    The fact that voters have this thing in their head that it's acceptable to excuse politicians' curious behavior since other politicians have the same issue, or that "it's just the way it is" has lead us into the public funding mess that we're in.

    but this Target is a good thing and the inclusion of affordable housing is not the tragedy that people are making it out to be.

    I hope you're right. I really, really do.

    Problem is that history and the recommendations of HUD aren't on your side.

  18. How much did this cost and how much did we pay for each of the 350 jobs? If all that money was left to the tax payers we would have spent it far more efficiently and effectively. However, that wouldn't give the mayor the power to dole the money out as he sees fit. Its all about power. The stimulus of this goes to Peter Holsten.

  19. An unpublicized "political" pat on the back ceremony says one thing to me....controlled publicity. Not telling anyone other than invited guests keeps the masses away (you know the people that didn't want a low income high-rise in an over saturated community). Daley knows she is toxic. He also knows it is election time for himself and keeping Helen at arms reach allows him to control her public involvement. Keeping it to select guests and press means there is no picketing, no "Run-Helen-Run", and most of all no bad press.

    This isn't a celebration of a community coming together, this is a Tiger Woods press conference, and Helen is mistress #14.

  20. Tara wrote:

    "It's really too bad the project was developed in an economic downturn, making market rate housing and for-sale units infeasible."

    Ha!!! That's the reason you think there isn't market rate housing? How naive. That cast was die well before the recession.

  21. Tara, the fact that you have to endure our "bitch fest" speaks to just how horrible communication in this ward is. If Shiller et al took the time to update their website/newsletters with useful information, hold public meetings, etc then you wouldn't have to come here in the first place.

  22. I was going to be all negative and huffy about the negative comments, but that just gets us nowhere, doesn't it? So skip it. I just want to say I am very excited about Target being here and look forward to shopping there. I hope some of you will get past your anger and bitterness just enough to patronize the store and make it a successful addition to the community--don't worry I'm not asking you to support Shiller, just support something that is a truly positive addition to the community. I have a feeling, in spite of all the huffing, most of you will do just that.

  23. The most depressing thing? Seeing the rebuild of the North Ave el stop by Apple. If only Target listened to our letter campaign and helped out with Wilson (not that they should have to, but still...you can't brag about community and not take care of that eyesore).

    Instead, we get a sign that looks pretty when the trains go by....hurray!

  24. I was going to be all negative and huffy about the negative comments, but that just gets us nowhere, doesn't it?

    Honestly, I was just thinking about that, UW - and you're right.

    Yes. Target can be a good thing.

    Heck, Wilson Yard could be a good thing if the rest of the folk are as pleasent and cool as the few who I've had the pleasure to bump in to.

    If only from the stand point that we'll have a lot more eyes and feet on the street to possibly help in detering some of the shenangans we've seen along that lil' stretch for the past little bit.

    We can sputter about rehasing the arguments and historical details all we'd like (guilty); but, the end result is that we only further the wedge in the community.

    Just for the record, a lot that bitterness is directed towards the "how" not the "what" of all of this and Daley's tin-eared, politicized chatter stirred up other aggrevations.

    Regardless, there's no reason to prejudge anyone for taking advantage of an opportunity presented to them to better their station in life.

    Nor should we ignore an opportunity presented to us.

    May not be the opportunity many of us were thinking it would be; but, it's still an opportunity and we should take it.

    So, yeah, man .. again, you're right.

  25. Whoa, whoa, whoa...let's chill a moment. The majority of us on this site have been here long enough to know that postings like Tara's are usually one of a couple possibilities...either ignorance of the actual situation previously pointed out by the site's majority due to the attempted spoon feeding of "don't confuse-me-with-the-facts, my-mind's-made-up" tactics of the current regime, or a complete ignorance by the individual's reality relating to the actual "real-time" community.

    I think it would be better to hear Tara out on the facts she bases her opinion on, and then support or counter her argument depending on the validity of true fact, before individuals slam her.

    Beliefs are sometimes only skewed due to the information available to the individual. It doesn't mean their intended opinion is wrong, it only means their opinion may be more than questionable due to the legitimate information, or quite possibly mis-information they are basing it off of.

    Supporters & believers in/of Uptown, desiring as individuals & more productively as a collective whole to bring about positive change within the neighborhood; should know not to to bestow condescension upon those seemingly "not-so-in-the-know".

    It has been my understanding (and personally promoted as such) that this site be used to inform & unite for the good of Uptown and, not divide it further than it already is, despite it's claim to such high diversity.

    How about we stay true to that concept and not berate before clarification?

    Or...I can go back to drinking my Train-tini consisting of Jameson on the rocks with a splash of 7-up, and tell myself, "Tears in a bucket, F@(K-It". IIWII!?!?!?!

  26. By the way, did anyone notice the hours posted for this Target?'

    M-F closes at 7pm
    Sat&Sun closes at 5pm

    I'm assuming these are just the hours during the "soft open" but if not it would be a good way to keep people from getting shot...close before sundown (Sarcasm)

  27. F&L - If the store does in the coming months, I'm sure that by Black Friday (day after Turkey Day) the hours will be greatly expanded.

    Wonder if there will be a line of people waiting to get in the door at 5:00 am November 26th, just like in the suburbs.

  28. OK, noted. So now there will be lines of people waiting at 7:00 am on November 26 :-)

  29. Wow, you guys get really upset when people make observations that aren't in lock-step with yours. And then you attack. Blurgh.

    I was invited because I work at one of the agencies that financed Wilson Yard. That oughta piss you off all by itself. I went because I've now lived in Uptown 3 years, about a block and a half from the new Target, and I wanted to see the store/housing for myself. I'll be paying into as well, but haven't been as long as some of you.

    Shiller's been in her position too long, just like Daley. I'm awaiting my chance to vote against Shiller just like most of the rest of you, but that doesn't mean I have to see everything she does as a bad thing.

  30. Post deleted as hours keep changing on the Target website

  31. Also - a project's financing can change until shortly before it closes on said financing. I'm working on a rural deal right now that's 2 weeks from closing and the lender and loan terms just changed, and one of the lenders lowered the rents. Investors change their minds and become less comfortable, and they can do so until the last possible moment. I don't know at what point this changed from affordable and market rate mixed housing to all under 60%of area median income. I'm not defending the change, and I certainly don't agree with any behind closed doors dealings that may have happened. I happen to agree that Uptown needs more market rate housing, and should just stick to preserving (not increasing) affordable housing.

    I don't have as much history in Uptown as the rest of you, but I'm NOT happy with the current regime. However, I have a lot of knowledge of affordable housing finance. And I plan to stay in Uptown as long as I live in Chicago. So agree with my opinions or not, but I'm your neighbor. On the positive side, I don't shoot at people and I plan to vote against Shiller. So maybe there's hope for a relationship between you guys and I yet.

  32. Tara, people got upset because you posted misinformation.

  33. I just came back from the Target and I have to say it was nice. My personal favorite was seeing security guards patrolling the parking lot in both truck and a Segway. We all know criminals fear Segways.

    Glad it's here though hate the broken promises that came with it.