Friday, February 18, 2011

Warming The Cockles Of Our Hearts

Take your insulin readings, folks, before you watch this video about how Peter Holsten, Suellen Long and Helen Shiller saved Uptown from "entrenched opposition" and got Wilson Yard built. It wouldn't be out of place on the Hallmark Channel.

This is in conjunction with Holsten receiving the "Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award" earlier this month. Peter gets the profit and gets to call the people who paid for his award-winning project names.  Isn't that special?


  1. Am I bucking popular sentiment by saying I actually like Wilson Yard? I don't think the building is ugly - it just doesn't have the architectural flair that some of the older buildings have. But I like having Target so close by, and when the retail gets filled that'll be nice. This video is clearly a promo-piece, but it's a damn good promo-piece. What's the big deal?

    Not getting it.

  2. Here is an equally biased history of Wilson Yard that I created way back in the year of our Lord 2009.

    With appearances by Jimmy Cagney, Mickey Mouse, and a cast of thousands.

    My video will warm the sub cockles of your hearts as it is spleenerrific.

  3. @Rob Ross

    I've been reading this blog for a few months now.

    Some people say stuff that is on the mark.

    And some people just love to utilize histrionics just going off the deep end and be apoplectic about things like Wilson Yard because they can hiding behind their computer monitor.

    I will continue to read UU and apply my general rule to all media I come across by taking it all in with a grain of salt.

  4. The issue of TIF spending aside, what bothers me most about Wilson Yard today is how little information the public had access to over the course of the project. At no time did I ever feel that I had timely and accurate information and, in retrospect, I still feel the same way. I think this simple issue did a lot to divide the community and it could have been avoided by forthright leadership on the part of our elected representatives and other leaders in the community like Suellen Long.

    On another note, I had said previously that the 3-way intersection there would be a nightmare. I haven't noticed much of a difference so far. Of course, its not summer yet. And I do like spending money in my own neighborhood.

  5. Rob Ross- You must be new to Uptown and to this site.

    Yes everyone is happy to see Target here and to see it thriving in our community.

    What people are pissed about is the fact that Shiller and Holsten presented Wilson Yard to the public as one thing and turned it into something totally different.

    We were told that a movie theater was going in - didn't happen.

    We were told the housing would be mixed housing consisting of Senior Housing, Market Rate Rentals, Low Income Rentals and Condo's for sale (targeted at public employee's like police, fireman, teachers, etc)- guess what! It didn't happen. Instead Shiller and Holsten turned the project into their new definition of "Mixed Income"; that being Low Income, Very Low Income, and No Income Section 8 rentals. They did include the Senior Housing. They turned what should have been a nice development into the Uptown Cabrini Green.

    The building was also supposed to have "Boulevard" style sidewalks to accomodate outdoor seating for restaurants - didn't happen.

    Over double the amount of TIF funds were used for Wilson Yard than was told to the public. TIF Funds were diverted from school, police, streets, and attracting other business ventures to all go to Section 8 housing.

    Shiller and Holsten did not hold public meetings; only secret select guest public meetings to decided on how to develop the Wilson Yard site.

    Uptown residents were basically given the middle finger by Shiller and Holsten. They did what they wanted not what the will of the the people was and still is.

    While Wilson Yard may look ok now, give it 5 years and it will look just like Cabrini Green and be just as crime ridden causing all our property values to rapidly decline and no business wanting to stay in Uptown or locate in Uptown in the future.

    Does that help you out as to why people are pissed at and hate Shiller and Holsten?

    I am sure others have more to add to our Alderman's deceptive practices!

  6. @HopelessInUptown

    Yes, that's a very clear explanation. Thank you.

    I think Karl's comment about hysterical trolls hiding behind anonymity is very relevant here - Wislon Yard is build. Rather than harp on the mistakes of the past, we should identify the mistakes that were made and make sure they don't happen in the future.

  7. @ Rob Ross,

    I too see the positive aspects of WY, but recognize that it could have been so much more. For years, it sat vacant as the City failed to capitalize on its asset - a large tract of undeveloped land on the N side.

    The market-rate housing was eliminated, and most aspects were downgraded, downsized, and the public was not provided input.

    I think comparing it to Cabrini-Green is alarmist - while WY does concentrate poverty, it doesn't do so to the same extent by any means. The neighborhood can absorb the cost, but the neighboorhood shouldn't have to.

    It is a diversion of Clarendon Park/Sheridan Park taxes towards a development that contains big box retail and a mid-sized housing project. As long as there is a Target, there is a tax base. Aldi was already there-that's zero sum.

    Does anyone know the Target lease? 15yr? 20?