Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reminder: Community Meeting About Sedgwick / Maryville On Thursday

From Uptown Coalition for Responsible Development (UCRD):

"To be discussed:

  • History of the community's involvement in Sedgwick's planning
  • $31 Million in public TIF funds requested by Sedgwick, a developer currently in foreclosure for their 2 most recent developments in the South Loop
  • Sedgwick's financing for this project, what is at risk for the neighborhood
  • Sedgwick's track record and their renewed plan
  • What's next in the process and how to get involved

We have a number of documents from the public record regarding Sedgwick and the TIF process and will continue to post information as we get it on our site: You can also check our Facebook page for links to this information."

From a CPNA block club member:

"Sedgwick has come up with a new proposal. They submitted it to the City in August, but only gave us the first bits of information we have been requesting yesterday afternoon, and they intend to ask for City approval in January.

No public meetings have been held on this project where the community had a chance to voice concerns or ask questions or request revisions. This proposal is now scheduled to be considered at a meeting of Alderman Cappleman's 46th Ward Zoning & Development committee next week. In between the public meeting held in June and now, it was reported that Sedgwick's last two projects are being foreclosed on to the tune of $105 million. In their latest proposal they are asking for $31 million in TIF subsidies paid for by your taxes.

We know that everyone is very busy this time of year with careers, family, obligations, and holiday events, but it is so crucial for us to have a large turnout at this meeting tomorrow night. We will ask you to give your opinion on whether a developer who is being foreclosed on, and will not divulge much of the information sought (let alone give the community time to review it) should be given $31 million in TIF funds. Once they have the money, no one can control where the money goes or how it is spent."

Check out the latest proposal from Sedgwick here.


  1. Maybe they can take some of this TIF money and use it for their failed properties that are in foreclosure.

    Or I know take the 31 Million in TIF flip to the Sister to purchase then land use the land as collateral for another project.

  2. Confused...if this is Sedgwick's best shot (a new and improved plan), why was it not their first shot? Just asking.

  3. Very good point "A".

    In fact it came up tonight among the major issues of which there are many.

    There is no solid answer to that question which should be setting off alarm bells. Like I said before Sedgewick has more red flags then a May Day parade.

    The buildings in foreclosure are so crappy in workmanship and design they can't even rent their "condos", its a disaster.

    Painted concrete facade with decorations glued and stamped!

    Sedgewick is a shipwreck, but Uptown is not the Coast Gaurd. Metaphorically speaking.

    I urge everyone who cares about the future of Uptown to please please look into this proposal and decide for yourself. The devil is in the details and they are trying to rush it thru this holiday season.

    Here is another red flag.

    If people are disappointed with the cost over-runs in the tens of millions related to Wilson Yard, just imagine if WY had 100 year old pumping station infrastructure below the surface. That one little sub-surface fact will blow all of these cost estimates out of the water.

    Think Sedgewick is up for the task, two foreclosures in a row?

    Please look in to it.

    Besides the town hall meeting on 12/5 at Temple Shalom there will be an open meeting of the 46th Ward Zoning and Development Committee which will be more focused on this issue. This meeting will be held at:

    Weiss Hospital Auditorium
    4646 Marine Dr.
    Thursday 12/8 @ 6:30pm

  4. If people want answers about this development, I wonder why Sedgwick wasn't invited to speak?

  5. I thought the TIF dollars were deferred until after construction. If so, it kinda kills an effort to 'flip the land'.

    I am not rooting for Segwick but there ARE reputable developers who have projects in foreclosure. It is not inconceivable in this economy and does not equate to an inevitable bust at this site.

  6. @ just wondering...

    Sedgewick appears to have an incurable shyness when it comes to public hearings. Of course they were invited.
    Why they chose to blow it off you have to ask Mr. Marty Paris the principle of Sedgewick...but do not hold your breath waiting for an answer to your fine question.

    @ UptownUnity...

    Your right there may be reputable developers in foreclosures, not one but two.

    However the foreclosure and shaky financials are but one of the many red flags on this proposal, its a biggie though.

    If you or me were in 2 foreclosure proceedings would applying for say a construction loan be a good idea? What bank would give us the time of day?

    Even if Sedgewick actually made money on those properties and didn't stiff their vendors, lenders, and contractors the properties would still look like crap as that is how they were designed.

    This Maryville site is WAY more challenging below the surface then Sedgwick's previous two ventures that went belly up (see above comment relating to infrastructure). So why are they still pursuing this? For the money honey..that is why.

    Even after all that has happened in the market there are still developers in the black financially...we need to get Sedgewick out of the way so they can deal with their problems and we can talk to developers who have their ducks in a row.

    I urge my neighbors to please look deeper into this. Uptown is our home and we deserve better then this. No other developers can or
    will make a proposal until Sedgewick leaves the stage, that is how it works. Thank you very much.

  7. My assumption is that Sedgwick is paying the Sisters for sole rights to the property right now, a not uncommon scenario. So wanting them to simply "step aside" is probably unrealistic.

    Think about it. Sedgwick gets to keep all other companies away from the table. The Sisters make some money from a vacant property. The Sisters have a vested interest in keeping Sedgwick at the table, so they play hardball and ban the mean old community from parking in their lot, a practice they've allowed for years until the big, mean community won't play nice.

    What the existing financial dealings are between Sedgwick and the Sisters is my number one question.

    I'd like to see Sedgwick go as much as anyone else, but as long as they pay for exclusive rights to the property, and the Sisters accept that -- and the checks they write -- Sedgwick may not be budge-able.

  8. Just wondering asked why Sedgwick wasn't invited to speak.

    There are several reasons:

    Sedgwick has been holding its own marketing meetings with small groups where they can control the agenda. Furthermore, they falsely claimed that the alderman had suggested that they set up these meetings; this claim is untrue and the alderman has confirmed that. They have had months, in fact they’ve had years, to hold a community meeting like the one last night. They have never done so.

    Which brings us to the second set of reasons. Hosted by the alderman’s office, a group of community members plus the alderman’s staff have already had a meeting with Sedgwick (they sent a PR/marketing representative, not an engineer or an architect) and the Sedgwick representative ducked and weaved and refused to answer basic questions. We’ve asked for the project drawings for months and until Tuesday, got nowhere. Finally, on Tuesday of this week, Sedgwick sent the drawings to the Alderman’s office -- pressing to have them reviewed and approved before Christmas! These are plans that they sent to the city back in August but have withheld from the community until now (perhaps they realized that there was a pending FOIA request which would have gotten the plans from the city soon). We are especially distressed that despite repeated requests, the drawings, filed with the city on August 18th 2011, were not available to the community much earlier, while they were under review at the city, so that the community would have an opportunity to send the city comments and concerns for consideration as it was performing its review.

    FYI: Sedgwick is now contacting and marketing directly to individual 46th Ward zoning and land use committee members. Again, they prefer to operate in small, controlled situations where they have the advantage.

    Once we realized that the city review process was proceeding and was nearing completion, we decided to call a community meeting to try and tell people what’s been going on and reveal the under-the-radar direct marketing efforts under way all over the Ward.

  9. I frankly still think it is an appropriately sized , good looking proposal for the site. My only objection continues to be their request for TIF funds....if they can do it without a TIF, I have no problems with its scale and density..

  10. Sedgwick is now contacting and marketing directly to individual 46th Ward zoning and land use committee members.

    ... which obviously is yet another indication of their awareness that the general public isn't terribly enamored with them.

    Anyone whose strategy involves an end run around a group of people immediately affected is not someone who deserves the public's money.

    It really is just that simple.

    And .. should Sedgwick get approval from the zoning and land use committees, without a hearing of all parties, there - quite honestly - should be a mountain of hell to pay for those committees members.

    I know this is Chicago, and political fanangling is fairly common place *cough*, but .. c'mon!

    A list of those committee member names and contact information would be helpful ...


    I need a lozenge ...

  11. I am not sure I understand why some people are in hurry to see this project built.

    The land isn't going anywhere.

    The land is as valuable for development in 2 years or 5 years as it is today.

    There is no need for a new highrise on the North side right now.

    There are other parcels available i.e. by the New York building on LSD.

    You don't see American Invesco going forward there with what they had planned and if anyone can get a building built they can.

  12. Yo, I am a committee member and I cannot begin to tell you how 100% insulted and pissed off I am about there being "hell to pay" if approved.

    Yo, you are not my conscience nor my daddy. The members, which are all community volunteers, include everyone one from block club representatives to business organizations, church groups, etc. You are a complete ASS by insinuating that we, as a group, are going to be intimidated by your childish and churlish rants.

    Whereas I cannot say 100% where I stand at this poing, I can tell you 100% that threatening me, and my co-volunteers, is completely and absolutely the wrong way to go. Using threats may work on a 3 year old but it wont work on free-thinking adults... so quit being an ass...and apologize

  13. The plain fact is that Sedgwick will be out of business unless they get this project. They are being sued for $100 million, so their creditors are waiting to see if we are stupid enough to give them an open line of credit with a $31 million advance. I wish the Alderman understood that supporting this may cost him the very slim margin by which he won the election. I doubt City Hall cares much about whether or not he's around for a second term.

  14. Hello. My name is Rob Nash and I work with the development team for the proposed project at Montrose and Clarendon. I do encourage everyone to review the project website at and feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions you may have –

    We continue to meet with anyone who has questions while working through the formal approval process.

    We are eager to meet with the ward zoning and development committee next week and look forward to discussing the design changes, public benefits and agreement requirements included in the latest proposal.

  15. All TIF money will be distributed after the 1st phase (highrise). There is no guarantee the 2nd & 3rd (townhouses & east side developments)phases will be built. The developer states that they will built phase 2 & 3 when the market indicates the demand. I feel a portion of the TIF money should be left for phase 2 or 3. This is assuming the alderman supports the use of the
    TIF money.

  16. Guapo,

    No reason to get your panties in a wad, champ .. I wasn't threatening anyone, on insinuating anything - simply making a call for the voices of all parties to be heard, as well as some transparency.

    Reread what I'd written:

    should Sedgwick get approval from the zoning and land use committees, without a hearing of all parties, there - quite honestly - should be a mountain of hell to pay for those committees members.

    Granted, there was some hyperbole in there, but ... whatever.

    Keep in mind, this IS Chicago, and it's not like normal every day folk haven't been bent over by various aspects of the political apparatus time and time again.

    And, no, I am not your daddy, nor your conscious - nor would I want to be. I am just a lowly resident who must live with whatever decision that these committees make.

    I would hope that if you and/or other members of these committees are dealing with Sedgwick - taking into consideration the obvious public concerns, that the details of such be made public.

  17. @ Guapo

    After you've calmed down could you please share some thoughts and/or concerns regarding this proposal.
    We are into our 3rd year on this, there is a lot of material and I assume you have seen the drawings.

    So kindly share...even if your not 100% every little bit helps cut through the obfuscation that has been a hallmark of the Sedgewick process.

    The final say in this will be the alderman, he was elected after all...not you. Fair to say a lot of the community who are opposed to this proposal were also strong supporters of Ald. James in the election. And to his credit he has invited the community into the discussion and has remained neutral and fair to all parties.

    Hell to pay is probably too strong O words, alienation of a support base might work...I dunno. Yo is a colorful writer, don't take it as a schoolyard threat...I mean c'mon...

    The names of the zoning should and will be made public and why not? Transparency should be the new normal.

    I don't like the "business leaders" participating in the decisions of the zoning committee, unless they also live here in Uptown which I am sure some do. Easy to check out. Uptown is a neighborhood 1st and a marketplace 2nd, but that is just my personal view.

    So Guapo...what have you gleaned thus far from the proposal?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. If you can't take the criticism don't volunteer to be on a committee.

  19. Guapo,

    My only question to you is ... Would you feel good about approving a project where the developer receives $31 million in TIF despite being in foreclosure on 2 other projects?

    Whether or not this project is needed is one thing. I don't think it's the worst thing for the neighborhood, but handing over $31 million to a failing company would be just plain irresponsible.

  20. Couple of long winded comments from Toto:

    The good nuns that owned this building have fully depreciated the property. Any sale of this property is 100% gain (taxable or not). So like all property owners in this country, the sisters must face the fact that the value ain't what it used to be - and - they may need to sit on the property until the market returns or a viable developer can obtain financing.

    Perhaps the sisters should become a stakeholder in the development and contribute the value of the property as an investment and sell out when the market returns. It's no different than taking the proceeds and parking it an investment fund for future use.

    The developer should disclose whether or not the firm will be the ultimate owner of the property or if the development is being floated with the eventual expectation that it will be repurchased by an investment trust (REIT), pension fund or private investment group as the ultimate owner. I say this because a $31 million dollar TIF contribution ultimately becomes a subsidy for large investors. Should the local taxpayers be giving this kind of money away so easily?

    The developer should also fully disclose the long-term financing instruments (bonds/loans) and the financial institutions that are being used to finance the deal.

    Since it is likely that this will be a rental building in the short-term, the developer should disclose what is the structured pay-off on these loans. What is the total cost of this project? And what amount of dollars the developer is actually contibuting out of pocket towards this development?

    I would not be very surprised to hear the $31 million of TIF money being requested is what the developer is using towards its contribution to the project and is shopping that contribution to financial institutions in order to obtain the financing to build this project in the first place.

    The effect of it is the $31 million TIF contribution is more like a non-recourse debt, as the developer is never expected to pay this $31 million debt out of proceeds from rent or sale of condos, as the TIF is repaid by future property taxes collected within the TIF not by developer.

    This ultimately acts to reduce the risk by financial institutions making the construction loans.

  21. I go back and forth on this, but I also don't trust the thinking of people who paint this project as all bad. There are some good points to this project that are not being fairly discussed.

    Of the $31M, Sedgwick has said that around $6M would go to renovate Clarendon Park Fieldhouse. The rapidly deteriorating condition of the fieldhouse is going to quickly make it a blight in the community, and it won't be realistic to expect money to fall from the sky to pay for this without a TIF.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the boundaries of this TIF currently contributes nothing to the city's tax base because it is all church property. If nothing gets built there, it will continue to contribute nothing to the tax rolls. Because the sisters pay no taxes on this property, they can sit on this property for as long as they want.

    So if this land is so valuable, I wonder why no other developer has stepped forward with better plans that didn't need TIF funds? If the economy was much better and I saw a lot of development happening elsewhere without the use of subsidies, I would be against this project, but today's realities has me questioning how realistic is it to build this without a TIF. I'm just offering another side to all of this that hasn't been discussed much.

  22. @ Just wondering

    I'm not sure you have a grasp of what TIF money is. Fall from the sky? ...try collected from taxpayers.

    No other other developers will even begin to develop a proposal to present until Sedgewick concludes their option.

    That is just how it works.

    The property is being offered to Sedgewick for $18 million...that counts as "valuable property" in my book.

    Open questions for the professionals of Uptown:

    Is it possible to just buy the damn property with the TIF money and have the developers deal with the community? Post Sedgewick of course.

    And why are we giving public tax money to a private they can give it back to fix a public park structure?

  23. I understand that Sedgwick has an exclusive hold on the property with the Sisters right now. It is also my understanding that a number of other developers have approached the various parties and offered to develop that parcel with NO TIF money...and "just wondering'.. as there are taxable pieces right now in the TIF, sans this development, we can take the $6million ourselves and fix the fieldhouse... Sedgewick would not be doing anyone a favor... they are just interested in getting something developed before their exclusive development rights end... at least thats my opinion...

  24. USH, my view of the boundaries for this TIF has it all within the proposed development site and Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, which is one of the beneficiaries of this TIF. None of it is on the tax rolls. We might be looking at 2 different maps. I wonder what other property you know about that's also included within this TIF?

    That's great news about other interested developers for this site. Could you direct me to where you got this information? I wonder if they happened to mention their plans to Cappleman. Anyway, that might be a good question to ask the alderman at Monday's Townhall Meeting.

  25. So, I have attended the meetings so far and followed the online conversations and I remain unconvinced that the community could not work with Sedgewick to build a decent building(s). The neighborhood groups have done some great due diligence and have some valid concerns that should be and could be addressed. (e.g. clawback clause, surity agreement,etc)

    I would rather see the community work with the developer to ensure the issues are fixed verseus what seems at times an attempt to get rid of sedgewick no matter what.

    I realize they have not been as forthcoming as the community would like but given the antagonistic posturing, I can see why they are hisitant to share information. That said, I think they could do themselves a favor by working more proactively forthcoming with the community since the groups do have the abilty to derail their project.

    Regarding the TIF. Yes, better if it wasn't there at all. But, it is. Given that this property hasn't generated any tax revenue since the sisters have owned it, and will not as long as they continue to own it, I can forgive the TIF. I'd love to have an estimate on the annual forgone tax revenues of the property given that a religious organization owns it versus a rental development.

    Unlike many people, I don't want to have the current deteriorating structures looming over the area for another 3,5,or 15 years. In my view the sedgewick builds are better than that, and decent long term addtions to the neighborhood.

    Ok, now everybody accuse me of working for sedgewick...