Monday, December 13, 2010

Lake View Station Meeting

Curbed Chicago has a nice story recapping the proposed Lake View Station development and talks about the meeting happening tonight at 7. If you go, please tell us about what happened and your impressions.  The comments here should be just about the meeting, please.


  1. Some idiot started an online battle between River North and Uptown for round one of Curbed neighborhood of the year.

    It is undeserving of a hyperlink.

  2. Went to the meeting tonight. Not a big crowd,a few people running for alderman and people with some real concerns.I think this project has a long way to go and they seem to addressing some of the concerns of the residents.My only real concern is the residents who will be living in the high rises. This area DOES NOT need more low income housing or a low budget transient hotel ,but some real potential for businesses to come here and be profitable.I need to hear more about it as more meetings a called.

  3. As the organizer of this info session, I would like to offer my personal thoughts and extend my thanks to the folks from this site that attended. I felt that the presentation and feedback were conducted with integrity and care, for which I am grateful. Thanks to all that attended and contributed!

    We also had 3 candidates for Alderman present, so special thanks to James Cappleman, Molly Phelan and Befekadu Retta.

    There were about 20 guests there, and 4 representatives from Sedgwick. The presentation included a summary of the development components, then a Q&A session. Highlights included:

    - Six phases of development, the first phase including retail and some of the parking podium. Subsequent phases include parking, retail, residential and hotel components. (please look on the website, I won't repeat the entire program here)

    - A widened and revised alley that no longer goes through to Agatite.

    - Towers with a slightly slimmed down profile from before.

    - Increased setbacks at the street and podium from the previous proposal.

    - The senior housing element from before has been eliminated and replaced with market rate units.

    Q&A next post...

  4. In the Q&A session, residents asked what I felt were prescient questions and made great suggestions. I also felt Sedgwick thoughtfully responded to concerns, such as:

    - A management strategy for the new free parking that will replace the parking lost due to the development. We were asked for feedback on this.

    - Outdoor space & engagement with the adjacent park to the east. It seems that work on this area is ongoing and open to suggestions.

    - Traffic concerns immediately adjacent to the site, down Montrose and at the harbor. Sedgwick has plans to revise the streets adjacent to the site, but areas further away are owned by others.

    - The density of the project was decreased but still a concern for some.

    Sedgwick said they'd be available to any group that would like to host another Q&A. Larger public presentations are coming soon, but this small session was personal and gave everyone the opportunity to contribute.

    This is my personal opinion, but I think this development will be great for my neighborhood. Sedgwick's thoughtful approach and experience is well-suited for this site. Montrose & Clarendon is an opportunity to create a prominent gateway and higher density projects are successful/ appropriate all along our lakefront.

    I also feel that the details of the phases will likely change as the market/time changes, so what we saw tonight might best be thought of as a work in progress.

    I implore everyone to stay involved, keep learning/ questioning, and don't let the discussion end here. Input to the gov't from the past helped change the plans we saw today, and only with your help can this project succeed as a partnership of the residents' thoughts and ideas (pro or con).

    Thank you,
    Susan Heersema

  5. Only really have one question for these developers:

    Why do you need TIF money to do the project?

  6. They need TIF money because there is no need for additional retail or housing unless it's all no income/very low income to replace Cabrini Green.

    There is so much retail space available not to mention condos for sale.

    Remember what they sell the project to look like and be is never what it ends up being.

    Let's face it Chicago isn't going to grow that much population wise or economy wise in the next decade or two with the high cost of living and doing business here in Cook County.

  7. Let's use MY PROPERTY tax money on a TIF to build 850 units of housing that will directly compete with me when I choose to sell my property.

    What a stupid idea to subsidize housing with my money to build something that will negatively affect the value of my home. That is like robber money to buy the bullets for the gun he is using to hold me up. It is idiotic and I can assure you I will fight it in any way I can as long as it is using TIF money that is coming out of my property taxes....this has SLUSH fund written all over it not unlike Wilson Yard..except this time, I am shooting myself in the foot with my own money...HELL NO

  8. Interesting comments everyone. Since no one mentioned TIF specifics yet I guess I'll start with that. Sedgwick is requesting a public subsidy of $50 million for their development. A separate $6 million would go to the neighborhood via the park district for Clarendon Park.

    Overall, the plan is very similar to the one they put forward last year, with some revisions in response to review comments made by the zoning department. But the developers admitted during the meeting that the proposal is still bigger and denser than what the city thinks is appropriate.
    The development would start with a large 85' high grocery store/health club/parking lot like the Jewel/World Gym down the street. Then towers would (possibly) be added in phases over the next five years. Planned are two towers over the grocery store, one on the east side of Clarendon adjacent to the park, and a fourteen-story-tall condo or rental complex at the end of Agatite (which currently has three and four story buildings).

    As Susan said above, the developers said they “slimmed” the footprint of the towers, but in fact they enlarged the square footage of the footprint but made the towers boxier by reducing the length of the east-west oriented sides of each building. By reducing the east-west length of the buildings they block out somewhat less sun from the south.

    The parking lot would start with what’s required for the retail space and be expanded over the course of the project if and when each tower is built. There was again a promise to provide 125 "neighborhood" spaces within the structure. These would be overnight spaces, meaning that whoever had the spaces could park there at night and then would have to be out in the morning. The developer said it was not its responsibility to dole out these spaces, there would have to be some community process to distribute 125 key cards for overnight parking.

    The developers claim that the traffic study their consultants prepared shows that everything will be fine. They also claim that adding 1200 housing units plus retail parking needs, and 975 parking spaces (that's 1100 total minus the 125 reserved for non-building residents) would be plenty. I don't see how adding fewer parking spaces than units improves the parking situation in the neighborhood, especially when a certain number of those households will have two cars, but that's what they claim.

    One change to the plan was that the alley will not be extended through to Agatite so truck and parking lot traffic would no longer be directed onto Agatite. It would be confined to Montrose, Clarendon, and as their traffic study said, Lawrence Avenue and Marine Drive.

    The developer said that they are planning a larger community meeting at an as-yet undetermined time at the Clarendon Park fieldhouse.

    Residents with concerns or questions should contact Sarah Sheehan at the city zoning department. Her info is:

    Sarah A. Sheehan
    Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning
    City of Chicago
    City Hall, Room 703
    121 N. LaSalle Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60602

    Also, just wondering if an actual neighborhood resident wrote this:

    "I think this development will be great for my neighborhood. Sedgwick's thoughtful approach and experience is well-suited... blah, blah, blah..."

    Hmm. We suspect the developer hired social marketers to respond to blogs last time around because similar-sounding comments from several "different" neighborhood "residents" all came from the same IP address. So Caveat Emptor -- let the buyer beware.

  9. I dunno...personally I don't have a tiff with TIFS, and I live in an S.R.O. so maybe to some I am unqualified to comment on this.

    However, if I owned a condo in a real-estate market with too many properties for sale now, why would I support paying with my taxes a scheme to flood the market with more condos?

    The people developers choose to represent them at these meeting may have charm and good social skills..but it a sales pitch at the end of the day.

    We need to consolidate what we have in Uptown now and fill out the vacant retail spaces that will suffer with this infusion of more square footage to compete with.

    If we fill out or spaces better deals/propopsals will come our way I believe.

    As far a grocery goes Uptown is actually doing alright...I am sure some folks want Trader Joes or some other franchise...blah blah blah.

    We need to heal over from the Wilson Yard episode and focus on some core issues.

    Design-wise it is bland at best. Architecture is legacy and you would think with a $50 million kick-in they could do better than average.

  10. POTE - People Oppossed To Everything.

    I am tired of having nothing much to walk to. I am tired of the vacant complex. I am tired of desserted streets. I am tired of having friends come over and there is nothing to do. I go to their neighborhood's instead.

    This brings tons of people into Uptown. We need people and density to function like a neighborhood and having thriving retail. This will in the long run help property values and make our neighborhood more vibrant. We need amentities in this neighborhood. We need more people in the neighborhood to get more retail.

    There is a reason why people skip over Uptown when choosing a Lakefront Northside neighborhood. Lakeview, Edgewater, fine. Uptown no.

    I made a big mistake buying in Uptown. The longer I stay here the more I reaize it isn't just the gang and crime problems that I dislike. It is also this against everything attitude too.

    I want more people out walking and I want more retail. As a neighbor of this development I am very excited to have this potential project.

    Come on people. I want a city not a suburb where I live. Nothing wrong with suburbs but I chose the City.

  11. TIF is a deal-breaker for me as well. I want our elected leaders to get the financial house and police/crime situation in order before raiding the slush funds for developments like this.

    Davidh, many thanks for the helpful analysis.

  12. Who is the architect for this project? Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't find it anywhere.

  13. I agree with Gary. The NIMBY attitude here in Uptown is overwhelming. Your going to pay up the a$$ in taxes anyway, this is Chicago afterall. And we all know that our taxes won't be used for a new El Station or more Police or Teachers. So again, why not use it for something that will help us in the long run? Gary hit it on the head when he mentioned the fact that he wants more people walking our streets with places to go and things (in our own neighborhood) to do. This is a step in the right direction.

  14. TIF is a deal-breaker for me as well. I want our elected leaders to get the financial house and police/crime situation in order before raiding the slush funds for developments like this.

    Davidh, many thanks for the helpful analysis.

  15. We are paying into a TIF regardless of where it goes.. your alternative is a fish farm.. hmmm... condos? OR fish farm??

    It's a tough decision people, but I'd rather my money go to retail and condos if it can't go to the schools and police department.

    Also, recognize that in order to alleviate the LARGE quantities of CHA housing in this area, you will have to build up and increase the density of market rate housing.. CHA is not going to give up their properties, so the only way to normalize this ward is increase the amount of people with money to spend. Don't be a NIMBY.. see how this could make a positive change in our neighborhood.

  16. "And we all know that our taxes won't be used for a new El Station or more Police or Teachers."

    No, that's wrong. If property taxes don't go into a TIF, they go exactly into city services, like police and schools.

    The only reason that a TIF was created in that area is to provide funding for Lake View Station. If that TIF is dissolved (and that's happening even more frequently, given the public backlash against them), the money will go back into the general fund, ie, city services, like police and schools.

    Let's hold off and see what a new alderman says and does. I find the timing a bit suspicious... like Sedgwick is scrambling to get all this done while Helen sits at the head of the TIF trough.

  17. My first instinct is to say "no way" simply because there is so much vacant retail space in Uptown now, we need to develop that instead of adding new store fronts and the same thing with condos. The market is flooded with people selling and not many buying in Uptown. When there is an excess already, we don't need more.
    If I really thought the developer had the best interest of the neighborhood in mind, I could support this fully, however, I do not see any possible way they can solve the additional traffic problems this will bring. Everyone knows how bad traffic already is at that corner and this will make it much worse. I will support this if they can show they can and will solve their portion of the traffic problem their buildings will bring. How will they work with residents to offer us units in the building for what we pay now? When TIF money is used, it's not only the property owners that pay, the renters pay as well. Nearly all landlords had to raise their rent to subsidize the increase in property taxes for Wilson Yard TIF and that did no one any good. How many residents of Uptown actually moved in there? Very very few.
    I just feel like developments as these have a responsibility to the community because we really are paying for these buildings if it's TIF yet along with TIF comes a long list of guidelines and restrictions.
    Promises are made and never kept and someone needs to be held accountable for this. Whatever they promise, needs to be made good on. I'm all for buiding our neighborhood and bringing more into the community but we need to make sure it's done in the correct way and not saturating the market with retail/condos not needed.
    AND if you really want to get the community behind you, offer residents a one bedroom for $800 a month, which is about market price now in Uptown, I think?? We need affordable housing for people in the lower/middle income brackets- alot of people in Uptown don't make more than $35k/year. People in this income bracket cannot get assistance from the city for housing and struggle to find affordable housing that isn't a dump.

  18. Again, the so called POTE are not opposed to everything. For myself, I am just opposed to this development, this developer, and the TIF usage. I too am tired of nowhere to go. However, what makes anyone think that retail will come to this mall when Wilson Yard can't even fill their empty spaces. I know they say they are filled, but where are the cash registers? Do the current Uptown residents really want another grocery store or gym? The Wilson Yard developers told us we'd have movie theaters and much more. We need to be able to see through the smoke and mirrors to the reality of JUST THIS plan. My challenge to Sedgewick and all of the people telling me I don't want development in my neighborhood is: If you can do the projects on it's own merits, without Section 8 and without the TIF, I'm gonna be the first person in line to buy an overpriced latte.

  19. Holly, the architect's name hadn't been released as of summer 2010. At that time, Sedgewick stated that they had an in-house architect working on the plans for them. I have submitted a freedom of info request with the city to see if they have anyone else on file or know who submitted the renderings. Stay tuned!

  20. They will just move to another location that will give them their TIF dollars.. so I guess you guys can sit with your boarded up maryville development (aka dump motel) that just deters people from moving into the area at all. If I saw that place with the large quantity of poor in Chicago, I would not move anywhere near it.. you aren't comign up with solutions or suggestions, you are just complaining about what ANY development would cause, ie Traffic.

  21. No one uses and in house architect for a project that big.

    So it's all smoke and mirrors?

    Here is how it will play out, get it approved then the project won't be anything like promised. Then they will say it's the economy. We tried but we couldn't get any retailers so now it's all low income no income housing.

    Or they just might be the front for to buy it up and flip it to someone else.

    Folks there is no market for this project be it condos, market rate rentals or retail.

  22. The renderings look just like their other high rise which is in the South Loop.

  23. Who What? You mean to tell me that one boarded up site will keep people from moving in? You don't think the gang crime, shootings every week, bullets coming through windows, and the homeless doing drugs in the alley and selling them through their windows keeps people from buying?. Do you think that building a gigantic development even if it plays havoc with the neighborhood will make the gangs and the rest of the homeless move? Will it close all the methadone clinics? The troubled part of our community do not live at Maryville. They closed the Salvation Army. Did that stop the shootings and the murders?

    You are either not reading the posts or just trying to be inflammatory. ANY development is not the problem, this one is. YOU don't seem to have a solution at the same time you are condemning others for the same thing. My solution is to have Oprah rehab it as a school/residence for gifted inner city children to give them a break. You know why she won't? She knows that just changing this place into something good won't prevent or deter any of the crime in the neighborhood and the little tykes could get shot.

  24. `How would everybody feel if they only complete the first couple phases? And they say...well the plan has changed because.....?

    That would essentially mean that we have a "podium" without a tower or two.

    Essentially a box of retail, practically on the that is so inspiring.

    It actually makes sense for the developers since the condos seem like a tougher product sell.

    It would not be the first time that has happened in development history.

    And the guys figure out who gets the 150 parking key-cards thing sounds like a real winner. Good luck with that, any volunteers?.

    I can see it now...half-finished. What are the guarantees this will be completed all the way through their phase 5?

    Are there penalties for project delays or incompletion? If it suits them can they quit while ahead?

    It's a good time to ask before they start turning the dirt.

  25. @A, obviously a project of this size will have additional architects. The point being, they said that they are working with an 'in-house' architect right now, because they don't want people calling the architect to bitch and moan about the development. The city has no architect on file, only the applicant, which is Sedgwick. So, they are keeping the architect under wraps until the project gains some more traction.

  26. I knew the Spire would never get built because the numbers just didn't work.

    The numbers don't work on this development either as proposed in this economy and with the inventory. THIS WILL NOT LOOK ANYTHING LIKE THE DRAWINGS OR BE WHAT THEY ARE SELLING.

    Let's not forget about all the fancy drawings and community meetings of other proposed developments that didn't get built.(Kenetic Playground, behind and across the street and on the parking lot for the Aragon. Remember how that never happened either?)

    I would rather see this site sit empty until a honest well though out plan comes around from a reputable development company.

    Just because we have empty space doesn't mean we need to have a building on it today or plans in the works.

    Also keep in mind that there was a development proposed next to the New York Tower that never got built.

    If American Invesco isn't building in this economy that tells you there is no market right now for anything new.

    We have plenty of retail space and market rate condos in Uptown that needs filled more inventory will only add to the problem.

    The only thing Uptown lacks is more No Income projects.

    Also if they are worried people are going to call the Architect that tells you this is one horse operation and has something to hide.