Monday, November 7, 2011

Montrose and Clarendon, Take Two

A sharp-eyed reader sent us a link to the SkyscraperPage forum, which posted pictures of the revised Sedgwick Properties planned development for the northeast cormer of Montrose and Clarendon. Few details other than the two photographs are known, other than the development is "now only a single apartment tower (about 500' tall) with a Mariano's and XSport plus townhomes for a total of 620 units."

What are your thoughts on this revised plan for the eyesore known as Maryville? It appears that Sedgwick made many changes to the plan, including eliminating one of the high-rise towers. To refresh your memory, here is a link to the previous plans.

Update:  The new project is no longer "Lake View Station" and is apparently called "Lighthouse at Montrose Harbor."  Sedgwick's consulting firm is writing to block club presidents in the ward and asking them for meetings and feedback, at the suggestion of Ald. Cappleman.


  1. I like it a lot better.. but it better NOT involve any TIF money... if it does, let the property sit.. I understand a number of developers have approached the Aldermans office with develpment ideas that do not involve TIF money... I applaud Cappleman for stopping the initial monstrosity and am looking forward to his thoughts on this new development..

  2. Well, I've lost a little faith in Sedgewick - call it "robbing Peter to pay Paul" or whatever you want.

    Having said that, and knowing what an eye soar Maryville is becoming (winter won't help matters either come Spring) - this new revised plan looks fantastic and a hell of a lot more "realistic" (if building ANYTHING right now is realistic).

    Still not sure why TIF money is being used to build along prime lakefront property.

  3. While these new renderings do offer a more palatable design there are some things that should be noted about them:

    1) the shadow cast by the tower is still not accurately depicted in this new rendering, it would still loom over Clarendon Park.

    2) the northwest corner of the new rendering is suspicious; while it shows a green roof, the community should rigorously scour any new proposal and plans to ensure that no loopholes are left for a second tower in that spot.

    3) the green roof is nice, but the exposed parking decks and heavy use of concrete and glass could use some extra softening - especially right across from the park. If this becomes a new proposal I hope Ald. Cappleman requires them to install some "green walls" on the parking decks like Ald. Reilly did in the 42nd ward for 500 Lake Shore Drive (

  4. Sedgwick has proven itself to be really really good at painting pretty pictures. And very good at holding small meetings.

    When they address the entire community at the same time and present blueprints that match the pretty pictures, then I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

    And none of my TIF money, thank you. Another legacy of Ald. Shiller, who never met a TIF she didn't love.

    Until then, their reputation for duplicity precedes them. The fable of the Scorpion and the Frog comes to mind.

  5. Yup, this is an improvement over the previous proposal...but is it just me or am I correct in noticing that the two renderings don't match? I'm seeing a street corner on the ground view (first image) that doesn't appear to be there in the second image...and if the second image is correct, then the orientation of the building in the first image CAN'T be right. If I'm right, then either Sedgwick isn't doing quality control over their renderings, or they're trying to pull another one over on the neighborhood.

  6. I like it.
    Maybe a nice building like that will help deter all the unwanted issues that happen around that park. I know its not just gonna go away because of nice property, but my guess is they would have security at the property and tennants that would report problems.

  7. At this stage, I think most people would be happy to discuss development of the site as long as the developer wasn't Sedgwick.

    I would include myself in the group of "most people" after attending two public meetings with these folks and needing hip-waders and a big shovel to get out.

    So, if Sedgwick is interested, my feedback is this: f*ck off.

    They had their chance(s). They blew it.

    .... NEXT!

  8. I preferred a two high rise development because the base is too large for only one building.

  9. From the renderings, it looks like they dropped plans for any new building to replace the building "in the park" at the NE corner of Montrose and Clarendon. That alone is big improvement.

    QRBNST brings up a good question - we do need to make sure there is no loop hole to add a second tower in the future. The rendering suggests there is a place for a second tower.

  10. It's definitely an improvement over the previous design and I like the height of the tower at around 500'. And yes, there will be a shadow over the park but this is a city and tall buildings do cast shadows. Sedgewick definitely needs to provide full build-out plans as the 'podium' base appears to support a second tower on the northwest corner which I personally don't think that's necessarily a bad thing but for transparency sake, Sedgewick' make sure you provide the full plans/story.

  11. What I find most interesting is that at the community meeting held by Alderman Cappleman, Sedgewick tried to push the idea that this project was go with it now or never. The community refused to be pushed up against the wall and overwhelmingly voted no. Surprise surprise their threats were just that and they went back to the drawing board. I say hats off to the people of Uptown. As long as a community remains vigilant in their right to have their voices heard change can happen.

  12. @QRBNST - good point on number 2!

  13. Looks good, but Im not allowed to have an opinion because I only live in the same city as this proposed plan.

  14. From a design standpoint it's a major improvement, I'm not sure what a previous poster was talking about with the Sedgwick being good at painting pretty pictures because the renderings on the previous design were awfully ugly. I also can't help but find the comment dissecting the shadows silly as well, it's a tall building but the wide portion is E/W so the impact of the afternoon only sun on the park would be limited and besides plenty of great parks in Chicago and other cities are flanked by high-rise buildings.

    Improvements aside, the TIF component and exact makeup of the housing will continue to be an issue. If there's a condo element, it's DOA.

  15. Well at least this rendering doesn't present Montrose as a pedestrian promanade. But look how the building's right up to the sidewalk with floors above jutting out over the sidewalk. Does this sound neighborhood friendly to anyone? I'm still 100% against TIF funding for competition to existing businesses.

  16. I thought Sedgewick said take it or leave it on their last proposal. I also thought Uptown said leave it. Why are they back and why are we entertaining them?

  17. An Open Rant/Letter to Sedgewick

    Dear Sedgewick,

    if you use the acronym "TIF" in your presentation don't bother even trying to get this done.

    Ain't gonna happen. You're wasting your time and cash.

    Better the property sit vacant for a few years than the taxpayers pay for it indirectly or directly.

    Really, given your lack of PR skills you need to hear this. That's not an opinion, it's damn near a scientific fact. Any politician who supports using TIF money for such a venture in this environment is asking for trouble.

    If I hear the three letters T I and F I will open up a can of internet whoopass and drive you into Lake Michigan, where your only chance of survival will be a squadron of rubber duckies I provide and five cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. One can I will drink myself so it won't even be a six pack.

    Loves and Kisses,



    Now I support a market rate building or buildings in relatively high density. Those of you who disagree with me can start puckering up now to plant a kiss on my ample pale buttock.

    This neighborhood desperately needs more inhabitoids of the market rate variety. We have the infrastructure to support said "oids" and more people means better retail and fewer vacant storefronts.

    Now those of you who don't think a highrise is appropriate on a street filled with highrises are just wrong.

    Those of you who want it turned into parkland across from a major park are wrong.

    Those of you fret about shadows ought not to be scared of your own shadow. This neighborhood doesn't belong to you. Regrettably it doesn't even belong to me; although, it should.

    Uptown belongs to the future and it is our obligation to insure that that future is better than today.

    We should use the power of the zoning to insure a great dense building is constructed. Something we can look at and say "Damn, that's a great and dense building."

    Uptown is clearly at the point of some wonderful changes. Between the rebuilding of the EL stop and the seemingly inevitable renovation of the IrishPirate Uptown Theater we are poised to see some great stuff over the next half decade.

    Now we can use the momentum of those changes to transform the Maryville site and some other underutilized sites nearby into glorious pluses for the neighborhood.

    Or we can allow the NIMBY legions to dictate that something small and boring be built.

    Paging architect Jeanne Gang. We need an Uptown version of Aqua. They already worked out the engineering issues so have at it.

    Now the new proposed name is better than "Lakeview turd Station", but I suggest something different.

    Uptown Risin, babee. Uptown RISING.

  18. They definitely have plans for the northeast corner. It's not a tall building, but you can see a several story thing in both renderings. I want details as to what that is. Back it away from Montrose, as well as be transparent about the northwest corner of the parking structure.

    Maybe third time's the charm?

  19. Looks ok but need to hear more about the details. I am sure it should bring some extra value to those who own around it too.....

  20. It's not practical in my opinion. Jewel, Target & Aldi are just down the street. Also why do we need a gym that close to the lake? World fitness is also next to Jewel. It would be too far away from other businesses. They should eliminate the commercial part and just make 1 tower if they build anything at all. There are so many vacant properties and recently updated apartment building (Sheridan Plaza Apartments) in the area we don't need anymore.

  21. I have been living in Park Place Towers for the last six years and was hoping for a new high rise in the northside to avoid moving to the South Loop or West Loop. Many people are concerned about density and whether the market can support this development, but many people would enjoy a new development on the northside. We need to consider future growth. I cannot recall the last significant northside development besides the The Admiral At The Lake.

  22. Not sure how flooding the market with supply will "bring some extra value to those who own around it." Last I checked those that own in Uptown are having a pretty hard time finding buyers. What makes people think there are all of these buyers dying to move to Uptown and the only thing holding them back is not enough condos? Let's fill up the current vacancies before adding more.

  23. Direct response to Irish Pirate:

    1. You tout "Uptown Rising". Have you considered the impact on the now-rising Broadway corridor of a competing retail sector adjacent to Clarendon Park and Lincoln Park? If built, it would be guaranteed to draw consumers away from Uptown’s main retail district to this residential community converted to a shopping center. It would damage the Broadway corridor. Are you in favor of that?

    2. It's nice that you don't care about the quality of the lives of the people who live in the Clarendon Park neighborhood and what to ship our money off the to suburbs, but it seems that the alderman puts more weight on the neighborhood residents who would be directly impacted, and directly screwed, by the still-huge, pie-in-the-sky, TIF-funded (that’s part of the deal…), mega-proposal for the block adjoining Montrose, Clarendon, and Agatite.

    3. Disinformation from Irish Pirate: "Street filled with highrises?" There are a couple nearby, in fact at Hazel and Montrose there's, guess what, a highrise with a grocery store and a health club. BTW, that highrise looks like crap and is a blight on the neighborhood. The proposed parking lot would be three stories higher than the three-flats across the street, who would see their property values plummet even more. I know you don't care about the people who would be screwed by this proposal, but to those reading, be aware of this aspect of the guy's position.

    4. The NIMBY tag. Calling people names. Pretty lame. I won't put any clever, abusive tag on you. But it's good to know you don't care about actual neighborhood residents and are all for the big developers. It's clear that you don't care if you're seen as abusive, but in the interest of credibility it seems you might want to be cautious about being seen as reliant on stereotypes and unconcerned about actual people.

    The people involved in this issue (beyond those who just rant on blogs) WANT TO SEE ATTRACTIVE, TAX-INCOME-PRODUCING, MARKET RATE DEVELOPMENT AT THAT SITE. If you state otherwise, you are prevaricating, obfusticating, displaying mendacity, dissembling, blue-skying…. (what's the no-no word missing there...)

    So please maintain your credibility by taking an intelligent view of the situation rather than just ranting about NIMBYs like some teenager.

    Ciao. Go Uptown!

  24. So many comments, so glad I took a typing class in high school back in Mayberry.

    1. The current plan touted is NOT condos.

    2. Newer apartment rental buildings are doing well in many parts of Rahm's world.

    42. If there's no TIF money involved I am not averse to a grocery and gym appearing at Uptown Rising. It wouldn't break my achy breaky heart if there were no retail or gym there.

    1776. DavidH, please don't end your rant with any words from a Romance language. I hate two things. One is Illinois Nazis. The second is Romance languages.

    1492. Davey, what is that tall building kiddy corner from Maryville. What's that address? 4343 something or other. I guess that's a single family home. Same thing with those tall SFH's I encounter as I walk north down Clarendon from the Maryville site.

    June 6th, 1944 Davey, I hardly think one grocery store is going to turn Clarendon into a retail corridor at the expense of Broadway. Now would it hurt Jewelz.....prolly. Prolly....ain't a retail corridor.

    December 7th,1941 Davey,Plese lern how to spel "obfuscate". You're good at it so you should no how to speel it.

    Enough with the silly dates in this meds are kicking in.

    Davey, I said I'm against the use of TIF money for this. How that makes me a pawn for the big developers I dunno. I guess I'm not as intealigent as u.

    Now would some people be negatively impacted by this development? To quote that American Philosopher Bugs Bunny "Could be, doc." There are ways of dealing with that such as buying out adjacent property owners who are most egregiously affected or offering them some lovely greenbacks.

    That site is ideally located for high density, market rate housing. At some level adjacent property owners complaining about a development there is like people around Wrigley complaining about traffic issues.

    Anyone with half a brain, and I have half a brain, shoulda/coulda realized that the Maryville property was ripe for tall development at some point.

    Also if I were buying something adjacent to the Dearborn wholesale lot I might want to consider that that lot might be developed at some point. Just sayin'.

    Now I don't envy Alderman Cappleman having to deal with this issue, but that's why he gets paid the biggish bucks. No matter what he does he will have a dedicated group of whiners who oppose whatever decision gets made.

    About the only thing the vast majority of people agree on for this site is that NO TIF money be used. Outside that opinions are like anuses. Everyone has one........well we know where this is going don't we?

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    I hope the Aldercritter ultimately does what's best for the neighborhood as a whole, while taking into account the REASONABLE concerns of some of the neighbors immediately adjacent to IrishPirate Uptown Rising Towers.

    Given the amount of goodwill he will get from the EL renovation anything outside an entirely low income taxpayer funded tower or a prison for ex Illinois Governors should fly with the vast majority of ward residents.

    Auf Wiedersehen

  25. All I can say is the developer is not to be trusted. He just wants the land and the TIF money.

  26. Good point, @Uptown Turboman! Just how would flooding the market with 600+ units boost the values of surrounding properties? There are buildings all around there that have had units on the market that can't get sold. Where are these 600+ buyers going to suddenly come from? And what would Sedgwick do to fill units that didn't sell right away? Keep asking them how many Section 8 tenants they would take in. That's the one question they never answered.

  27. they don't need buyers because they aren't condos

  28. I am against the TIF as well, but that being said I would tend to believe that 600+ units in a decent looking building would do more for your property value than the blight that is on that site now. Keep that in mind...

  29. AMEN Irish - and quite the dates....

    RE: the density, etc. etc. - As I've said in previous posts, WE LIVE IN A CITY PEOPLE. Get over it. There's a reason why Fullerton Ave is packed on a Sat Ave, there's a reason why Clybourn is a mess on Sunday afternoons. WHY? ....BECAUSE IT'S A DESTINATION. PEOPLE SPEND MONEY AT DESTINATIONS. THEY'RE DESIRABLE.

    Can't have your cake and eat it too people...get over it, or move to a nice sleepy suburb.

    And "stealing from the Broadway retail" is a bit of a stretch...c'mon....really?


    PS I live at 4343 - I welcome the competition.

  30. Regardless of whether it's rentals or condos, I don't see the need for more supply. A lot of condo owners rent their units. A flood of rentals will reduce the rent in Uptown and...wait for it...reduce the value of those condos.

    Also, why does this obviously need to be a high rise project? There are high rises and low rises around that area. Maybe I'm missing something.

  31. I agree with both Irish Pirate and Miss Kitty ((holding on as the Earth's axis tips over))... it is in a perfect location for high density MARKET rate rental housing. Bringing in 1000 people (600 units, most with multiple occupancy) is exactly what Uptown needs... sorry for those that do not want something built right next to them....but that is why there is Montana I suppose, you can always move there.

    Living in the third largest city in the U.S., where there are highrises all up and down LSD/Marine Drive, and not expecting new tall buildings is a bit naive and selfish...

    And you build for the future.. this will take a couple of years to build out..the market will be there then, along with all kinds of good, positive changes to Uptown.. of which this can be one, if properly vetted and without the use of TIF money..

  32. When renderings of these buildings are done, the retail tenant does not exist. Architecs put these in the renderings to razzle-dazzle all the folks out there.

    I bet IP would support TIF money for the project if the developer had come back with new drawings showing Irish Pirate's Big Belly Bait Shop and Beer Depot instead of a generic health club.

    That would sell me on it too.

  33. Cappleman's ward master plan noted the already-too-high percentage of 1- and 2-BR residences in 46. Considering the location (next to a park and easy access to LSD), this could be a great place to have larger, family-oriented apartments or condos. 600 smaller rental units is not exactly Uptown's greatest shortage.

  34. Just build it.
    If Alderman Schiller can push through horrible wilson yard, I think this plan can be "pushed through". That was the battle to fight and it was lost. Oopsy.

    Fight the market housing. Fight the power!!!! Hunh? That is actually rebelling in Uptown, the audacity to build a fancy highrise. How dare thou!