Thursday, December 8, 2011

If It Involves A TIF, Here's Ben Joravsky And The Reader

Today's Reader has a story by Ben Joravsky about Sedgwick and its "Lighthouse At Montrose Harbor" proposal.

Here's a shock:  It's a TIF and Ben's against it!

Read it here: "Dawn of the deal. Mayor Emanuel's old campaign manager helps bring an Uptown TIF deal back to life."

We do find one thing a little strange:
In other words, the proposal has been jolted to life by a massive blast of clout—though [Cappleman's Chief of Staff Tressa] Feher says it's not a done deal. "If the community doesn't like it, it will not go through," she says.

Hear that, Clarendon Park neighbors? It's all on you again. Not to pressure you too much.
Um, Ben? We didn't get a say in what happened with our TIF money and in our community for years. That's what we wanted. It appears that's what we got. We like it that way. Don't get your panties in a twist because the community is getting to have an opinion, okay?

Show up at the meeting tonight. It's important.


  1. Mr. Joravsky writes one heck of an article....

    But I am here to do a little(ton) reporting myself.

    The website for the "Lighthouse at Montrose" has been taken down, it "no longer exists".

    I tried it from different links to be sure. Give it a try yourself, here is a link within a UU post from way way back on Nov. 21st. The link in the post worked what happened and why?

  2. Looking at Ben's tone through out this article I am forced to wonder why he has such a negative viewpoint of the 46th ward's alderman? This is not the first time he really seems to take issue with the guy. I remember during the election when giving background on the candidates he did not really even want to list James because he did not think he was a viable candidate. I doubt very much that this was the first time an Alderman was not available to talk when he called. Maybe he never tried to interview the last one we had in the 46th ward. But James is far more approachable and verbal about his plans, even Ben must realize that.

    I know the author kinda wrote the book on TIF's and the abuse of them in Chicago. But where is any evidence that this project is going to breeze through? Seems to me it is going through the process the Alderman said all of them would. And I remember the alderman saying something to the effect that the community voted against the current project in June so that version was not going to move forward. But what stops the developer from coming back with something else at a later time? Just because they asked for a zoning change does not really mean anything, if the Alderman is not going to support it.

    I am the first Chicago tax payer to point out corruption when I see it. But in this case, I am just not seeing it. Maybe I am missing something or Ben has more information about the matter.

  3. Click on the link in the article below this one. The Lighthouse link works.

  4. decent piece and the TIF is garbage but i'm getting tired of the this is "prime lakefront property" line.

  5. Ah, Jeffrey, try it again.

  6. I'm just as frustrated with the alderman as Ben. I have written JC many times now and always get a response from a staff member. I even wrote an email begging him to respond and suggesting that he would lose my support if one of his minions responded. I got a first person response, signed James, that came from Tressa's email account. They have now blatantly lied to me. I have an email from James, his account, saying the only way he'd entertain Sedgwick again is if the neighborhood organizations and the chamber of commerce "plead with him" to look at Sedgwick again. My subsequent email asked him specifically with of those were pleading with him. His minion replied saying there was much excitement and if I had any more concerns please email him. Kinda makes your head hurt doesn't it?

    He is now Crappleman in my book. No different than Blago and all the others. I thought I could have some hope in this guy but I'm a Cubs fan so I shouldn't be surpised to be let down.

    Vote Cappleman out.

    IP, no need to respond since you don't really care about this issue

    James is

  7. @JustAsking. Are you truly expecting a personal response to your every note and e-mail to the Alderman's office? If everyone expected that, he'd probably have to spend 50+ hours a week every week responding to personal correspondence. If that is your expectation, you will always be disappointed regardless of who is Alderman.

  8. Just asking,

    You are welcome to vote out the Alderman if you wish. But like the rest of us you are going to have to wait until the next election in 3.5 years. By that time you will certainly know more about what is going to happen with this proposed development. That to me seems to be a lot more important than your concerns over the email you did or did not receive. I am not sure James belongs in the Blago category just yet.

  9. Not every time Ray, I get that. I don't even expect a quick response. Howvere, it is amazing that he was able to respond to each one while he was running for office.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. What happened to the end of "Just Asking"'s comment?

    Did the Crappleman commandoes send him to sleep with da fishes?

    Now I do care about the Maryville property. I've made it clear in my earlier comments that I oppose any significant use of TIF funds to get that project going.

    I've also made it clear that I support a tall and dense building(s) there.

    So endeth the lesson.

    I refuse to hyperlink as Mr or Ms Asking hurt my feelings.

  12. Just Asking, don't you think he has ALOT MORE emails and ALOT MORE to do now that is actually the Alderman? Of course he responded when he was running, he was trying to get elected! Now that he has, it's imperitave to delegate tasks such as email correspondence to other staff members.

  13. James is probably starting to see first hand how the Chicago machine truly operates. Since they hired ole Richies boys and Rahm's pals, it won't be long before this gets approved regardless of what any of us say or do. James probably can't do much either, because with the machine pushing this now, it is only a matter of time before they get what they want. And they know damn well how to go about getting it. Just like Rahms budget, all the alderman fell into line without a single complaint. James is probably learning when to shut his mouth and look the other way. His hands are tied.

  14. @JustAsking: I would assume that a candidate has a lot more time to answer individual e-mails and questions. That would make logical sense. Once they win the office, I assume they have to spend a good portion of the day working with the knuckleheads down at City Hall, meeting with constituents, Uptown businesses, and prospective Uptown businesses and perform all the rest of the duties of an alderman. I would guess that could be somewhat time consuming.

  15. Well I'll stand wasn't working earlier today.....I wouldn't kid y'all...shoulda coulda got a screenshot but noooooo.....

    All the better.....

    I agree Joravsky was being a little too harsh on our Alderman. It is appropriate for him to take a neutral stand on this for now. Otherwise it just might scare away future developers, Sedgewick is shady but they deserve a fair hearing and that is exactly what they have received.

    6;30....don't be late!

  16. @jtizzle. Either you are very cynical or I am very naive. I guess we'll find out the answer to that in due time. I don't think the machine pushes all the buttons anymore. It might for pols who are looking to keep climbing the political ladder.

  17. I don't think Ben's panties are in a twist over this. I think he's merely appreciating the gravity of the decision the neighborhood has to make.

    As to not getting a response from Cap's office, I wonder if that has anything to do with how the Reader handled the Bronco Billy issue.

    Regardless, if Sedgwick has plumbed the depths of Chicago politicos and pulled up the barely warm carcass of William Banks to "assist", .. well .. ew.

    That's just .. it's just sleazy. It's not like William Banks ever did Uptown any favors.

    That, alone, is reason enough to vote against Sedgwick - not against any development on the site, mind you - but against a gaggle of folks who ... well, let's just say that haven't proven themselves the most trustworthy.

    Hell, Shiller tossed them out of her office .. what does THAT tell ya?!

  18. I hope someone can take some notes and share with us who can't make it tonight.

  19. Ip, my feelings are still hurt from the UP URS comment.

    If a minion answers an email, how am I to know the alderman's position? This issue is very important to me and I wanted some clarification. The minion did not give me a specific answer to a specific question. My time is valuable too. JC did have enough time to stand in front of the Jewel and ask for signatures for a new post. Maybe he should be answering emails from constituents instead of trying for a higher position already.

  20. I pains me to agree with Yo, but Bill Banks being a lobbyist for this just shows me that Sedgwick completely lacks any type of PR skill.

    Why not hire Blago to do your PR or handle your legal zoning work?

    Now I can only think of three valid reasons for any TIF money to be used for this potential development.

    1. Give it to me for consulting fees.

    2. See number one.

    3. Some cash for the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse renovation. Although, taking money from the Park District to give to the Park District is a bit orwellian.

    4. A dollar for dollar payback of however many millions the developer is required to pay into the city affordable housing fund.

    By the way the city affordable housing fund should be called the Fund to Pay OTHER connected Developers to build 400-500 thousand dollar "affordable" housing units and give them a big fat payday and run on sentence scheme for housing changes for the lower income inhabitants while still leaving money for political contributions and funding subpoenas and lawsuits on bloggers.

    Cappleman strikes me as being an astute politician. He has to know that the next election is likely not going to be easy for incumbents. We have years of tax and fee hikes ahead of us. It is both a necessary evil and necessarily bad for incumbents.

    The Wilson El rebuilding will be good for him, but the massive abuse of TIF money for this site would make many people say "What have you done for me lately?"

    He looks good now, because of who he replaced but so did President Obama in 2008. People rapidly forget the past and only concentrate on the "now".

    TIF may be a three letter acronym, but like JPUSA it's a four letter word to many of us. Snicker. I amuse myself sometimes.

    Given the right circumstances there are two people who could run and defeat Cappleman in 2015. One is me and the only thing I am running from is responsibility and da law. So he doesn't need to worry about me running. The other one shall remain unnamed, but is a name familiar to many of you.

    I can already picture the insurgent campaign.

    I need to give up cooking meth and go into something less respectable like political consulting.

  21. Yo Yo Yo,

    please don't mention Ben Joravsky and panties in the same sentence again. Hell, just don't mention those two together in the same post. Ok?

    I've seen Jorasky on the TEE VEE and right now the image of him pulling a Marilyn Monroe and singing 'Happy Birthday' to Rahmbo is flashing in my mind.

  22. IP,

    First of all .. UU started it. I merely used their post as a springboard.

    Secondly, dude ...

    If you're getting those types of mental images, you might need to lower the dose on your meds.

    ... or raise them.

  23. Yo,

    Granny always said mixing meth and qualudes was bad.

    I shoulda listened.

  24. Oy...

    Prior to joining Resolute, Rob was government relations director for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and was an aide to the Hon. Michael J. Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

  25. You sure that was your Granny and not a bar stool who told you that?

    Either way, sound advice.

  26. Wow Justasking, just show up to the office! He's there a lot and always comes out to talk to people. Seriously, it's not the pope, it's James. The most accessible politician I've ever met.

  27. Just asking, you show an astonishing lack of understanding of how ANY office works, let alone the office of an elected official. You honestly believe that the "minions" who reply for Cappleman don't KNOW what his positions are? Do you think that they just decide on how to reply to inquiries entirely on their own, in a vacuum? Do you think that they just sit in a dark room in a basement without ever seeing or communicating with Cappleman? Or do you think that Cappleman gets beamed into and out of his office without ever having contact with his staff? I don't work for him, but frankly, your insinuations are an insult to me and to all other people who work for the public in support positions--we don't get the luxury of deciding policy, let alone deciding what our bosses' positions are on any number of issues without getting marching orders first.

    You want to get answers directly from Cappleman? He's not unapproachable. I have never had any problems speaking with him in person on numerous occasions at meetings and events I've attended and even just bumping into him on the sidewalk. I suggest that you get off your keester and GO to some events where he is appearing...wait until it's done, and even if you have to wait in line, you CAN speak with him. Cut the crap and stop whining about things you can do something about quite easily.

  28. I go right to the 'YO' and 'IP' comments!
    I love you both! :)

  29. I just got back from the meeting, was very impressed with the first developer who actually spoke for himself. But that was regarding the property on Halstead.

    Its been a long day so I will just touch on something that occurred to me walking home regarding the Sedgewick proposal.

    They are proposing that delivery trucks enter on Montrose from the east, right turn in, and exit right turn only going west.

    Two problems.

    That means trucks will have to rumble down Marine Dr. I am assuming they won't use LSD. Marine Dr. is a Drive for a reason. We have designations like Dr. and Blvd. to preserve a certain character of a thoroughfare.

    Marine Dr. is a narrow residential street that has parkland with a lot of kids, a hospital, and residences with a lot of seniors. That is why it is a "Drive".

    The character of that street will change as however many 18 wheelers and other large delivery trucks have no other choice but to use it. It takes a lot of delivery trucks to service a grocery store, I know this because I have worked for a kosher distributor at a Jewel, which leads to the 2nd problem.

    To facilitate the right in, right out they have a "T" shape interior dock area so trucks can make a 3-point turn. This is to keep trucks from making left turns and causing even more mayhem which is fine.

    However, what happens when the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th delivery truck shows up?

    This happens all of the time in large grocery stores. At the Jewel in west Rogers Park we had wayyyyy more space for trucks and they still would block each other. That dock will be madness, delivery drivers are anything but patient, not very considerate of other trucks.

    Look at the design for that dock. What happens when an 18 wheeler shows up and a bread truck and a Pepsi truck are both occupying the dock, if not more, throw in a beer truck. What is the big rig going to do? Where is he going to stage his rig until the dock clears? Will he just circle around in a holding pattern?

    Keep in mind bread, chips, soda and many other vendors, even kosher don't just drop their load, they stock it as well so sometimes it takes a while.

    In a nutshell the dock is grossly inadequate for the size of the grocery store in this local context.

    More study is needed to determine just how many trucks will be using this dock. It is impossible to stagger the deliveries from the many vendors a grocery needs, never going to happen. This really needs to be mitigated.

    I see frayed nerves on the part of the neighbors, commuters on Montrose, both auto but especially bicyclists with idling trucks waiting for a clearance.

    Frayed nerves of the park users old and young alike. As well as obstacles for the ambulances going to Weiss which at this point delivery trucks are a rare sight east of Broadway.

    More issues..but that is it for now...good night!

  30. Not looking to insult anyone. You think I should go to a meeting or the office. I've been to meetings and have approached him on this subject. He has always been vague and he doesn't like to talk about this for more than a few seconds. When I signed his petition for the higher post I started talking to him again and he was only interested in what I had to say until someone else came along. I'm wondering why none of the responses to my emailed questions were met with a request to come into the office to chat. The answers all looked like canned responses and didn't deal with specifics. Their responses to specific questions were answered with an invitation to email or call the office. I think you can understand how my frustration grew.It wasn't until tonight that one of his staff actually took the time to listen to my concerns. And the only reason for that was because of the emails.

  31. Just Asking,

    It sounds like you think you are more important than you are. I am sure James is quite busy.

    I am also sure James' "minions" know what James' positions are. Also, James is a pretty nice person willing to talk to anybody.

    I may disagree with his positions sometimes but your portrayal of him is way off.

  32. "I'm wondering why none of the responses to my emailed questions were met with a request to come into the office to chat. The answers all looked like canned responses and didn't deal with specifics." - Just Asking

    I'm just wondering why you didn't ask to set up an appointment rather than wait to be ask? You complain about the alderman not being specific enough, but you're not being specific enough about your complaint.

    As for expecting Cappleman to have a lengthy discussion with you while he's getting signatures, I'm just wondering if it occurred to you that expecting him to drop what he was doing to have a long detailed response to your questions is the right time to have your time with the alderman? How about "just asking" to set up an appointment?

  33. Thats a very long consideration and alot of time spent Jeff L for someone who doesnt own. When you own you really have a vested/invested interest.

    The owners in a community have put their money into where they live
    and have made a much bigger commitment (then a renter) and consequently should have more say. Why should someone who rents or lives in subsidized housing be given extreme deference?

    There are always very cheap properties in the city that need TLC and fixing up, like what the is going on in dorchester by 69th street and that is being orchestrated by an artist who isnt rich but is fixing up old properties. SO really I am perplexed by you Jeff L. Doubly so because my dad was an artist and a landlord.

  34. @Just asking: I'm sorry if I was overly harsh in my post; it's good to know that you are trying. As much as we would all like to have Cappleman's undivided attention to the issues of our particular choices, we all need to temper that desire with the understanding that 1) the 46th Ward's 2010 population was about 54,000; 2) the voting age population is about 27,000; 3) the population that takes REAL interest in civics within the Ward is probably around 7,000; and 4) of them, maybe around 1700 will show up to discuss issues with Cappleman--if they can work with their own schedules and obligations. If even a quarter of those people feel strongly enough about something that they want to personally discuss it with Cappleman, that is still over 400 people that need to share time to buttonhole the Alderman. The reality is that no single one of us is any more or less important as a constituent than another...and there are only 24 hours in a day to sleep, eat, participate in City Council and council subcommittee meetings, meet with police commanders and city department superintendants, meet constituents and businessmen, read up on and prepare for all these meetings, and do special events like positive loitering, neighborhood events, political events, and crime. And that doesn't even cover the need to have a private life, too. These are the reasons why elected officials like our alderman have staff--Cappleman just can't be everywhere, doing everything for everyone, all at once. Please understand that.

    I will suggest to you that if you want to have additional time, YOU need to take the iniative to ask for an appointment to discuss a particular issue (no one can read your mind to know that you want that unless you ask). You may want to discuss with Cappleman, but need to be prepared to discuss with one of his very capable staff--who, I assure you, will bring your issues to Cappleman's attention during staff meetings. There is power in numbers, by the way--if you know others with the same concerns, rope them in and tell Cappleman's office that you have x number of people coming with you to discuss the subject. And be prepared to keep bringing up the subject in follow-ups--you are one of about 54,000 consituents vying for Cappleman's attention, and if you don't keep your issue up high in his list of priorities, it WILL drop down the list in favor of the priorities of people who consistently keep their voices louder.

  35. Anyways I hope it gets built,
    IMHO the pros outweight the cons.

    Jeff L trucks load stuff in the middle of the day, its not a big deal, huge trucks load stuff all the time on Morse in RP, it happens in all big cities, its not a reason to not have a grocery store somewhere. This is the city.

  36. Trucks are generally not allowed on Lakeshore Drive, so for those worried about congestion, assume these deliveries will have to flow via Broadway or maybe Sheridan to get over there.

    Whether that bothers you probably depends on where you live.

    Joravsky, among journalists, has an ax to grind with Banks (years of Machine politics and zoning) and Goldner (used a massive campaign finance loophole to avoid disclosure of donors who gave $855,000 to the pro-Rahm PAC mentioned in the article).

    So I can understand why that article might come off a tad harsh.

    I like the alderman and think he's doing a good job. I think a mixed use development there of some kind would be an improvement and a net benefit.

    But giving any developer TIF/taxpayer money to build on a location near transit and close to the lakefront... not like that so much.

  37. I was just thinking a great way to test the functionality of the loading dock would be to make a scale model of the dock, street, and vehicles.

    Nothing fancy, we don't have to make it look nice, just accurate. Something similar to the scale model the Harlem/Irving developer had last night, prepared by thier architect.

    Basically a 3-D model of a 2-D drawing. It could be made in a way to facilitate changes since we are still in a planning stage, to see what works well for ALL parties.

    There are still may be other ways to mitigate this and keep delivery trucks off of narrow Clarendon and away from the park.

    I have the skills to make this model and will do so if asked by my neighbors, Alderman James or Sedgewick in the spirit of making our Uptown a better place.

    Because Uptown is our home.

    P.S. I would need 5-7 days lead time.

  38. Right on Uptown Artist! Can you imagine if you live in the building right west of this narrow ally? Like me! My daily life will be much ruined if this building gets built. No sun light any more (concrete base right next to us), trucks all day next to your window (for grocery store and for renters move in and out)... By the way, we bought our condo, and no way out! Hope James won't sacrifice our interest even though we are only a small group of people!

  39. I stayed at the meeting for as long as I could. I (and many others) weren't aware that there'd be a different presentation prior to the one for Maryville. So, maybe some of my issues were addressed after I left - if so and if anyone can correct me, I'd appreciate it.

    Random thoughts (forgive the length):

    - The developer of the 3750 Halstead project, JDL, mentioned that this project wasn't seeking TIF funding, and that they'd be able to pay into the affordable housing fund with their own $

    - James made a very important statement about how this meeting was demonstrative of a process unique to Chicago insomuch as it was open to, and its success dependent upon, the public. No other alderman are doing anything remotely similar.

    - I was unimpressed with the Sedgwick presentation and Q&A (professional speakers should never use "um". Ever. It lessens the authenticity of the message, and Rob Nash was tossing them about like gov't cheese, JDL didn't use it once). Seemed like regurgitation of boilerplate and, due to the nature of the forum, didn't allow for any sort of true and necessary debate. A lot of the answers provided were obviously well rehearsed, politically guided and ripe for follow up questions which were never asked.

    - Again, I left early so I'm not sure if this particular question were asked/answered: If Sedgwick has funding for 85% of the project, why the need for 15% public funding? In short, the answer as to "why" the TIF$ was needed is still hanging out there (especially in light of the JDL presentation).

    - In light of a previous exchange between Guapto and myself, I must give major props to the zoning committee for asking some very good questions and for their willingness to open the meeting to everyone.

    - I simply do not like the clout which surrounds Sedgwick. Having a former aide to Madigan giving the presentation provided a rather creepy feeling to the event. Knowing that he came in to replace the previous PR firm - who had connections to Cullerton - and having the spectre of William Banks' influence only added to the creepiness. I feel that if the overall project had merit the clout should be unnecessary, superfluous even.

    - James said that there can be no competition of developers since the sisters are working solely with Sedgwick, and that the city cannot interfere due to various reasons. No offense, but I call bullshit on this due to two little words which never came up, and should be brought up if only out of respect for a comprehensive process. Those two words: "eminent" and "domain". Are we really all at the whims/desires and judgments of a not-for-profit, non-tax paying entity with regards to the future of the area? Honestly? If so, something simply just ain't right. Even if existing law states that we are, laws can be changed, can they not?

    - Generally speaking, and to credit James once more, he said that we simply "must develop", and he's right. It's not as though I think the development in this iteration is a bad one, I just don't think Sedgwick has made the case that they need/deserve public funding. And, if they have so much faith in the project, clearing the last 15% hurdle shouldn't be that big of a deal.

    - Finally, Sedgwick was asked about the double foreclosure issue. They responded by saying the economic downturn adversely affected a lot of developers. So much so that a firm which had never gone to foreclosure had done so. Fair enough. However, that firm did not go into 2 foreclosures, now did it? What this tells me is that Sedgwick's ability to forecast and plan for their developments is more vulnerable to swings in the economy than others and lends one to wonder if they'd learned from their mistakes and have properly integrated such planning into this development.

    In summary, there are too many logical holes in this project. So many in fact that subjecting public funding to this type of risk cannot be warranted.

  40. FYI on eminent domain:

    (735 ILCS 30 sec c)

    if the exercise of eminent domain authority is to acquire property for private ownership or control, or both, then the condemning authority must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the acquisition of the property for private ownership or control is (i) primarily for the benefit, use, or enjoyment of the public and (ii) necessary for a public purpose.

    The argument would center on the "benefit" to the public, of course.

    Sedgwick's presentation rightfully demonstrated the dilapidation of the site, and it could be argued that leaving the site as is would be detrimental to the community.

    Development of the site would certianly benefit the community moreso than letting it rot as has been threatened as a consequence should Sedgwick notbe allowed to go forward.

    Not saying this tactic should be used, only considered and discussed.

    Of course, again, if Sedgwick wants to drop the TIF aspect, I'm sure public sentiment would shift pretty quickly.

  41. Anyways, I hope Cap is able to beat this TIF crap (and kill the project) and I hope the community NIMBYs say no when cash4gold and walgreens come knocking...because that's the only thing that is getting built on this "prime" property anytime soon.

  42. @Yo: What was the crowd like? How many people showed up? Full house?

  43. Wow Jeff L you are super over the top. I love it.
    The loading dock debacle
    exposed by Jeff Littleton.

    Would make a good murder mystery.
    Where were you Jeff Littleton when the Wilson Yard was being proposed, it wouldve been sunk for sure if you were on the case!

  44. @yo, i don't think there's any great mystery as to why Sedgwick needs the TIF money, any large scale residential project just won't be profitable without it...the demand for housing, especially in Uptown just isn't there. I can count the number of 'hoods in Chicago that can support new residential on one hand.

  45. An interlude of sanity brought to you by Crest and IrishPirate. Four outta five dentists recommend Crest.

    1. Cappleman is absolutely right that something needs to be built there. Hopefully something large and with lotsa people.

    2. The fact that some of Sedgwick's prior developments are in foreclosure doesn't bother me. Each development is almost certainly a separate LLC "corporation" and the market did go to hell. Now I don't know how they're handling the foreclosure process, but reasonable developers either just give the property to the lenders without a costly fight or quickly work out a deal.

    3. Sedgwick's lack of PR acumen and skills annoys and worries me. Their choice of some of the "professionals" they've brought in to facilitate the process doesn't play well in this lakefront ward. I want to make an analogy to other recent events in this ward, but I am channeling the better angels of my nature today so I won't.

    4. Sedgwick may have an "option" to buy the property from the not so good Sisters at a particular price and by a particular date. An option is legally enforceable and generally means money upfront and forfeiting the money if the option isn't exercised prior to the particular date. Someone who is more ambitious than me can check out the Recorder of Deeds website to see if anything has been recorded publicly.

    5. The Capplemaniac needs to be very careful on the TIF issue. I said before I wouldn't mind if the developer received enough TIF money to pay for the enforced low income housing "donation", but much beyond that and people will turn on him.

    Thirty one million yankee dollars in TIF funding might cause me to turn on him. Now even counting my multiple personalities I'm no more than five or six votes, but it's analogous to the speculation as to whether President Obama can carry Pennsylvania. It doesn't really matter if he loses PA because if he loses PA it means he is going to lose a whole lot of other states too and the ballgame is over.

    Thirty one million in TIF money means Cappleman will piss off hundreds or thousands of voters beyond my mere five votes.

    The Wilson Station rebuild will buy him a whole lotta goodwill, but I don't know if it is that much goodwill.

    People are pissed off about TIF's and taxes and come 2015 after the inevitable fee and tax increases they will be even angrier.

    One way partially around the 30 million+ TIF use is allowing a big and dense use of the site. Generally speaking the taller you go the less expensive the square foot cost of a project is.

    One foundation.

    One roof.

    One sewer line.


    Ask anyone who know my real identity. The IrishPirate is the personification of "big and dense".

    So endeth the rant.

    Go in peace and may this property be developed reasonably so as to benefit the community.

  46. @Joe

    The entrance for the dock for the tower is proposed to be on the northe side of Montrose west of Clarendon. It has a triangle divider to allow right turn in and right turn out ONLY.

    To turn right into this dock the trucks ill have to utilize Clarendon Av., Marine Dr. or LSD. I am guessing Clarendon would be the 1st choice.

    Most deliveries for grocery are early morning, the receiving clerk at the Jewel I worked at left at 11am, but some deliveries arrived later.

    Montrose Ave. is not Morse Ave as someone stated above. An idling 18 wheeler or a bread truck double parked or circling on Montrose during the summer is unacceptable. That can be a very busy intersection at times and would only be busier with a supermarket and the additional residences.

    @ Ray

    It was standing room only.

    @ My Uptown Neighbors

    A built to scale 3-D model will graphically describe the various scenarios that will arise with multiple deliveries of various sized trucks, there should be one at the next meeting.

  47. The house was packed at the beginning (~6:30), then tapered off when JDL was finished (~7:45).

    Rough estimate was about 60% full, and attentive, during Sedgwick's bit.

  48. Thanks Bear,

    I probably said some things out of growing frustration and for that I'm sorry. I thought the email process to be the least straining on their resources. Emails can be answered at their leisure and don't interrupt their day. If the response from anyone in the office including staff indicated that coming in for an appointment was an option, I would have jumped at the opportunity.

    @I Also Live in Uptown and I must live in the same building so i won't repeat that sentiment.
    The reason I'm so focused on this issue is that the proposed plan has significant negative consequences for an entire building. It's a given that the property will be developed, TIF or no TIF. I'm not against development. And not until I saw how JDL listened to the neighbors and moved the loading zone off of Bradley to Halsted, realize that there is a professional way to deal with this.

  49. @JustAsking:

    "If the response from anyone in the office including staff indicated that coming in for an appointment was an option, I would have jumped at the opportunity."

    Why do you need someone to tell you that an appointment with the Alderman is an option? That's part of why they have an office in the first place. So the Alderman's constituents can come to take care of business or communicate with the Alderman.

    Anyway, I don't mean to keep harping. All I'm saying is that if you want your voice to be heard, go make your voice heard and don't wait for an invitation. This isn't the Shiller office anymore. No one will chase you out with a baseball bat.

  50. How about we get that movie theater we lost at Wilson Yard?

  51. During the meeting it was mentioned that the tower is more then 90% of the project. I believe I heard 95.5% from the gaggle of Sedgewick folks, 90% is a round number.

    This is a thought and just a thought, involves TIF's so please don't bite me.

    Would it be possible to use TIF funding, say $2-3M to buy back the property on the NE corner adjacent to the park. I throw out this arbitrary figure based on the $18M asking price for the property. I figure 10% of the land cost and demolition....

    The property could then be used to attract/incentivize a cultural institution (fill in the blank what kind) to develop the space. The community can decide what would be appropriate for the space...

    In return Sedgewick or the next developer could add more units to the tower to compensate, like Irrate Pirate I am also a high density affectionado.

    The right cultural institution would enhance the quality of life and attractiveness of Uptown. It could sell some condos and lease some vacancies. It could help lease the units proposed to be built.

    This is a primo location for a cultural institution, adjacent to park-space, off LSD, and the bike path. All of those bicyclists locals, visitors and tourists alike would have a great destination to stop over in Uptown, maybe grab a cone from Purple Cow before heading back north or south. The cultural institution could perhaps have a cafe on the edge of the park, for funding and coolness. The mandatory gift shop of course.

    The proposed Uptown Music District is in fact a proposal to make Uptown itself a cultural destination, so something along those lines that would dovetail and support the UMD initiative.

    Just a thought. This whole proposal lacks pizzazz.

    @ Jeffo- ......?......huh?

  52. I was at the meeting Thursday night and did stay until the end. The air was rank with clout when the suits arrived... you've probably seen them at City Hall or the Daley Center, men who look like they've always been at the tail end of middle age, their girth protruding like a force field, wielding gobs of clout. Those were the Sedgwick lawyers and lobbyists who are drooling to get their hands on the $31 million. It made me sick.

    There was a marked contrast between the developers of the Halsted-Bradley project, JDL, and Sedgwick. First, JDL had the developer make their presentation, Sedgwick had their hired PR gun.

    The really amazing thing was the contrast in the ways that JDL and Sedgwick are dealing with the community. JDL specifically and clearly said that their practice was to meeting with community members, especially people who would be directly affected by the development, exchange complete and detailed information, and come to an agreement on the size, scale, and configuration of a development BEFORE GOING TO THE CITY FOR APPROVAL. They have met with the neighbors and made huge changes to their project in response to neighborhood concerns.

    Not Sedgwick. Both times Sedgwick has made a proposal for the Montrose-Clarendon site, they WENT TO THE CITY FIRST and withheld all details from the neighborhood until they had no choice but to release them. A week or so ago, just before a FOIA request filed by the neighborhood was approved, the Sedgwick lawyers coughed up the plans. Sedgwick solicited no community input at all. Yes, their PR firm did hold unpublicized meetings with small groups of people where they presented marketing materials with little actual plan detail, but they certainly did not meet with the neighbors who would be most violently reamed by their proposal. They're secretive and deceptive and relying on clout to get their way, and to get their hands on our TIF money.

    What JDL did on the Halsted-Bradley development was to work with neighbors to integrate the development into the community and to mitigate the negative impact on those living closest to the development. JDL is getting their tower, but the podium base is now much less destructive. Sedgwick needs to be forced to show some human courtesy to those living around the Montrose-Clarendon site. This is one major area where the alderman can show leadership, if he's willing to step up and lead. He needs to insist that Sedgwick consult with the impacted neighbors and make changes to the proposal so that homes and life savings are not destroyed. We should not grant Sedgwick the ability to crap on our neighbors just so they can make a pile of cash and take it back to the suburbs with them.

    BTW, there's a grocery store (Mariano's again) and condo development under consideration in Ravenswood ( where the developers have also been much less stupid and evil in their treatment of the neighborhood, and that project is getting some TIF money, but only $4 million, which is still a lot of money, but what in the world does anyone need a $31 million subsidy for to develop on prime lakefront property? I know Cappleman inherited this from Shiller, but he should put a stake right through its heart and kill it. The whole thing is ridiculous.

    We must compel Sedgwick, or whoever ends up developing the Montrose-Clarendon site, to make concessions to the community so people from our neighborhood are not harmed. I mean, really! Let's stick together.

  53. The problem with Sedgwick, besides the TIF, and their last two crappy, poor quality buildings being in foreclosure, and the 90% vacant retail at those buildings, is the fact that instead of working with the community they are attempting to deceive and handle the community instead. They rely on pressure tactics, artificial deadlines, and politically-connected lobbyists to influence the city and push the development through on THEIR TERMS.

    They could have given the plans to the community back in August when they filed them with the city; but instead they waited until early November to release them to the public, and then only in the form of a marketing package with very little plan information or details, accompanied by a PR blitz by Resolute Consulting, their new city-insider PR consultants.

    Sedgwick has had the gall to say at the Z&D committee meeting that they want to start construction in a couple of months, so here we go again, another deadline... They want us to approve their project very quickly. (No time to lose! Buy now! Hurry! Limited time offer! -- What a crock.)

    It would be reckless and stupid of us to approve something this big and complex without allowing enough time for due diligence by the community -– and enough time for community review and for requests for plan modification to make it "better." We need to see and review the missing details, especially details about what's going on at the block wide box base below the high-rise, planned to contain a grocery store, a fitness club, and a huge parking lot. Try to figure out what going on at the box base from looking at the sketchy marketing renderings they presented at the Z&D meeting last week... you can't.

    In spite of repeated requests, Sedgwick did not release the drawings submitted to the city August 18 until residents filed a FOIA request, and just as that was about to be approved, lo and behold, the lawyers said, "Oh gee, wait, here are the plans. Why don't you take a look?"

    Sedgwick hired an Architectural Review Team for the design concept shown in their marketing presentation. But the actual project architect is still going to be the same Sedgwick in-house architect who came up with the original cookie cutter design. What reason is there to trust that what 'actually gets built' will be better the second time around? Why doesn't Sedgwick hire a real design architect to do the work?

    Bottom line, Sedgwick is looking out for their own best interests (read "money"), not ours. So before any approvals are granted, and I oppose Sedgwick completely as developer, but nevertheless, before any approvals are granted the neighborhood must have access to all the details, questions answered, and changes made to address problems and best integrate any proposed project into the fabric of the existing neighborhood. This is Uptown and dammit we're smart and won't be handled, don't treat us like we're stupid patsies. We won’t roll over and let Sedgwick dictate to us on terms only favorable to them.

    BTW - Hey Sedgwick, hopefully you learned some lessons from the Halsted & Bradley developer who presented just before you at the Z&D meeting. They came to the community early, before going to the city for approval and are working with residents to make changes to address community concerns, solve problems and ultimately come up with an improved and better plan.

  54. Greetings, I have been following the Maryville site proposed development over the last year and a half. I do not leave near the site, but as a member of the Uptown community I have concerned with how this site is developed and the impact it will have on our neighborhood. I was able to attend last Thursday’s 46th Ward’s Planning and Zoning committee meeting. I have a number of thoughts about this situation and I would be interested to hear what the Uptown Update community thinks about them.

    As far as I can tell it appears that some politically connected developers had a TIF district created that only relates to the Maryville site with the old alderman help. When the PR representative for Sedgwick was asked at last Thursday’s meeting why the development needed TIF funds to proceed he stated that Nuns that own the property had a set a specific price for the land and they were unwilling to budge. Given the amount of money that the Nuns want, the cost to develop a “high quality property, and the current real estate market, the only way they can make a profit is to obtain $32 million in TIF money. This is less then the $50 million they were asking for last year when they came up with their first plan.

    I have a couple of thoughts on this. I assume that when the developer came up with the first plan last year they had planned to get X amount of money through selling condos and renting out retail space. At this point I am sure the Nuns told the developer that they wanted to sell the land for a specific amount of money. The first plan went down in flames at the community meeting that Cappleman held earlier this year with close to 90% of the community voting against the plan.

    It appears after this happened, Sedgwick went back to the drawing board and keep up with a second, scaled down proposal. I assume that since the number of condo units dropped almost 50%, the hotel was complete removed, and the amount of retail space is less between proposal 1 and 2, that the amount of money that Sedgwick et. al. will now be making is FAR less money from the project then they were under the original project.

    What I would like to know is whether the Nun’s are still asking the same price for the land now that the project is scaled back? I have a gut feeling that there price probably came down. I also think, and I do not have any facts or evidence of this, that they Nun’s may also be business partners with Sedgwick and maybe able to get money from the property long after they sell the land. This way the Nun’s would be motivated to drop there price for the land, as long as they could make more money over the years as this property is developed. It is what I would do if I was Sedwick.

    Due to this I do not think that Sedgwick group has a strong reasoning for TIF funding. I think it is all about maximizing profit, which they have a responsibility to due for their shareholders, but I think it is disingenuous to say TIF money is needed to make the development profitable.

    I also think that the Nun’s are being told by Sedgwick that the only way to make this project work is to get TIF funding. I suspect that they were in support of the original TIF because they were told that was the only way that the property was going to be developed, which in turn was the only way there were going to maximize the money they would get for the land.

    I think that the Nun’s have to realize that the TIF funding is a poison pill and any proposal that needs TIF funding does not have a chance of getting the committee’s, and therefore the alderman’s approval. I think that once they realize this that they will drop their price and the main argument for using TIF money will also disappear.