Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More On Maryville

Two items about Maryville from Ald. Cappleman's most recent newsletter:
  • "I will be organizing a community planning charrette to create a strategic plan for the Maryville property (corner of Montrose and Clarendon).  The goal is to have a document to show potential developers, so they have an idea of what the community would like to see for this area.  Uptown United, members of the Zoning and Planning Committee, and staff from the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development will be working on an initial outline in April.  More details on the public meeting schedule will follow."


  • "Streets and Sanitation has established a perimeter of barricades on the public way around the east building of the Maryville property due to hazardous material hanging from the roof. This problem and others have been reported to the owners of the property without resolution. We are currently working with the police and Department of Buildings to have these issues addressed and we will continue to work with them to safely and properly secure this property during its vacancy."
You can read the entire newsletter here.


  1. Ever since the Wilson Yard "charettes" were held more than 10 years ago, I have nightmares associated with that word. More than 10 years after the charettes almost nothing discussed at the charettes as being most desirable to the community ended up on the site. I encourage James to market this a bit differently... and certainly hope we don't have to wait 10 years for progress on the site. And please, do not strike stuff down due to density... that's such a tired rationale... you live in a big city... get over it.

  2. I saw this' its a good idea. The limestone blocks along the cornice SE side are breaking loose.

  3. I am glad someone is making sure the building is made safe for the neighbors who have to walk past it. I once again see homeless at night going behind the rear dock areas and wonder if they are making the empty building their home once again. I watched the police arrest about a dozen or so that moved in a month ago. Why don`t they tear the buildings down. Standing as they are do nothing but cause problems and unsafe conditions for those who live near them.

  4. My guess is that no one will pay to have the property cleared until a deal is in place to build something.

    Not that the current owners shouldn't be fined by the City for not keeping it safe.

  5. Is it still OK to talk about making the east parcel an arts and cultural center?

    I agree with Uptown Veggie.....very unlikely the Sisters will have it demolished before before a sale. This isn't like that little 6 flat on Sheridan that Thorek demo'd.

  6. No , that needs portion needs to be torn down and returned to parkland..

  7. The site deserves and needs development... we need the tax base and amenities it will provide. The Sedgwick proposal wasn't perfect, but the crazy-density-absolutists that live in the immediate area are out of hand. I've been here 10 years (Sheridan just south of Montrose and before that on Kenmore just north of Irving)... we need development on that land and it won't support a development otherwise (with appropriate parking, traffic accomodations and a reasonable TIF subsidy). If all else fails, I suppose James should get in line for conversion of it into what would be relatively useless greenspace (considering the proximity of the lakefront park)...
    Do you really want it to sit vacant for 10+ years like Wilson Yard did... contributing nothign to the local tax base or community?

  8. Why does it have to be high density? Are there really enough people that want to move into that area to support a high density building? It's simple supply and demand: If it increases supply substantially by being high density, the demand has to be there, or it will end up another empty building.

    The city needs to monetize the cost of the property remaining vacant. Since there aren't any taxes (I assume since it is owned by a non-profit), the costs needed to be monetized some other way (fines?). Otherwise there is no motivation to sell and they can just wait for a ridiculously high offer.

  9. ChicagoChristopher - couldn't have said it better. We need something productive there. Green space and/or a cultural center will have a negligible economic and cultural impact on the area. Shops, people, restaurants are all more important and provide more culture to an area than going to 3rd rate play by some amateur actors. That or finding more dead bodies in an empty park. Sorry to be harsh, but its the truth.

  10. No, the Sedgwick proposal wasn't perfect ... but, it's also dead. So, while it may be eligible to vote, it really isn't worth discussing any longer.

    The Maryville site isn't going to sit idle for 10 years.

    With an economy that seems to be gaining traction, and an alderman who isn't using the ward as some curious social petri-dish, I'd expect to see something decent coming down the pike in the not too distant future.

  11. ChicagoChristopher - couldn't agree more...

  12. Completely agree. This is a part of Uptown blessed with scads of parkland already. It's a completely obvious place for high-density development. Rental vacancies are low across the north side, including in Uptown, so there's no reason to expect the building to sit empty.

    If anything, the prior proposal was not dense enough. The problems I had were with the developer's financial situation and the huge TIF ask.

  13. chicago christopher used a big word. Charette. Nice word.

    "Origins of the term "charrette"

    Thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 19th century, the word charrette is from the French for "cart" or "chariot."

    It was not unusual for student architects to continue working furiously, at the last minute, on the illustrations for their design presentations, even while riding in the school cart (en charrette) through the streets of Paris en route to submit the projects to their professors.[1] Hence, the term metamorphosed into the current design-related usage in conjunction with working right up until a deadline.

    An alternative explanation is that at the end of a class in the studio a charrette would be wheeled among the student artists to pick up their work for review while they, each working furiously to apply the finishing touch, were said to be working en charrette.

    In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century when travel took long periods, a Charrette referred to long carriage rides in which politicians and policy makers would be sequestered together in order to collaborate in solving a set problem over the duration of their journey. This origin is most similar to the current usage of the word in the design world.[citation needed]

    and definition - A charrette is a method of organizing thoughts from experts and the users into a structured medium that is unrestricted and conducive to the creativity and the development of myriad scenarios.

    The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people.

    that was all copied and pasted from wikipedia ofcourse.

  14. I also agree with Chicago Christopher. BTW.

  15. I am expert on density. Ask any woman I've been involved with and she'll likely say two things. The first is "he's dense". The second would be a string of profanity unprintable in this forum.

    Anyhoo, that location can support a big and dense building. As TomCat said the prior plans were rejected largely because of the history of the developer and the massive TIF injection.

    We need people in this ward. Lotsa people living in market rate housing who shop, dine in and walk around our lovely urban hood.

  16. Actually, I suspect the prior plans were rejected primarily because a rather vocal real estate agent who lives in that area got snubbed with the sales contract for the development. He had to get Sedgwick out so that he'd have a chance to rebid the contract with a new developer. And boy, that guy did some "lobbying" in the Chicago style.

  17. Maryville can be developed for both tax base and anenities as ChicagoChris said.

    The east site as a Cultural/Arts Center will make the area a more attractive place to live and visit, more marketable even.

    The Marville site is the largest but not the only vacant space in the area. By developing the east parcel as a cultural asset, the smallest part, we could attract more development to the area as a whole. And consequently more density and development. Most of all it would be an amenity which does. Not exist at this time in Uptown.

    More density in residents means more density in businesses. It can happen with renovating the existing building which does have architectural value and structural integrity beneath the veneer of neglect.

    In full disclosure before IP points it out I am an artist who lives in Mercy Housing...Big deal eh?

    @nugatory.....that is a crazy theory....and dead wrong IMHO.

  18. I am so frustrated with the people in the neighborhood who are against this site developing. This is getting beyond ridiculous. The place is disgusting and a blight on the whole neighborhood. The problems is that only the most "involved" residents are going to the votes on this place, which leaves the majority of folks who just want to see something done unheard.

  19. I agree with Daniel. Why does the small majority dictate what happens on this property. The majority were fine with the development plan.

  20. Daniel,

    1 - I don't know anyone who is against developing this site. Not a soul.

    2 - The "problem" of which you speak is called "participation". If people wanted to be heard during this, all they would have needed to do was speak up.

    There's a fairly significant gap between "just wanting to see something get done" and "working to get something done".

  21. Why does the small majority dictate what happens on this property?


    Again .. if this larger majority were for Sedgwick's plan, where were they?

    People can't rightly bitch about the outcome of a game they decided not play.

  22. Littleton, it's not a theory. Snubbed agent was confirmed by the Alderman's office. Sadly, there was probably not much the Alderman could do about the subversion of the zoning committee process without looking like he was ramming the project down people's throats. The community had spoken, because they were persuaded (or bullied) by some guy with personal interests completely at odds with the Ward's. All of those objections we heard were his talking points.

  23. Nugatory,

    thppppt. The community was bullied by his talking points?




    The community rejected the plan because of tif money, the prior problems of the developer and absolutely horrible PR skills on the part of the proposed developer.

    The first two were the main reasons. Any objections this agent may have had just happened to align with the objections the VAST majority of the community had. If said agent didn't exist the outcome would have been the same.

    No developer with that background and No use of that much TIF money was going to be approved.

    Period. There are plenty of intelligent and involved people in this community who would have drawn up the exact same list of objections.

  24. @nugatory- I hate to break it to ya, but I did NOT need some "snubbed agent" to persuade me that a mega-development on the Maryville site would destroy the neighborhood. I, along with every one of my neighbors, figured that out all by ourselves.

    nothing like a story on Maryville to lure these pro-development "posters" out of the woodwork....

  25. lol @ the dead proposal being a "mega-development" was a standard lakefront high rise with retail.

    Classic NIMBY stuff that I suspect will continue if and when the next proposal comes around (with or without TIF)...which will be a long time.

  26. And here I was giving you all the benefit of doubt. I stand corrected. My mistake.

  27. Chicago Christopher - I'm also in agreement with you.

    Good luck trying to discuss this with people that believe that somebody should buy this parcel for millions of dollars and then just plant a tree for the community.

    BTW - now that the Sedwick non-compete agreement is expiring soon, I'm looking forward to the steam of new proposals for this site.

  28. jeffo -- cappleman used the word "charette" and no one needed you to define it, particularly in such a space wasting way on this site. in a nutshell, charette's are a waste of time. find a developer would be a better use of time... actually seek someone out who might be interested in the site that is a responsible developer. the community sitting down and talking about what would be good for the site is useless. a developer will do what he wants... which will be at least a couple high or mid-rise buildings and ground floor retail. a survey saying 40 people want coffee shops and 80 want a movie theatre and 5 want affordable house... waste of time.

  29. I was wondering how long it might take to get the "NIMBY" crap rolling in here.

    Alek ... I guess you are right, to an extent, if you were to preface "NIMBY" with a "Where would folks like to have a politically connected developer, having no experience with a project of this scale, using the most immature PR strategies, take a chance and use tax dollars to so?"

    Personally, had Sedgwick approached the community as an honest broker and not conducted themselves in such a douchebag manner, I'd have been a shade more receptive.

    But they didn't.

    Right out of the gate they came across poorly - and as everyone knows - except for Paris and his brood - perception is reality.

    I guess you missed all the chatter from people asking "why can't a firm like JDL develop the Maryville site?"

    I guess you've also missed the massive amounts of discussion that are pro-development .. but only if it's solid.

    And, nugatory - I know the person to whom you refer and I don't necessarily disagree with your stated motivations, but as Kronos said, I was quite capable of coming to my own conclusion - and take umbrage with your sheep-like description of those who bothered to get involved.

    I think you overlook the Wilson Yard PR disaster and that Sedgwick regurgitated some of the same people involved in that.

    But hey ..., don't let facts and history interfere with y'alls' "people are too stupid to think for themselves" or "you're all just a bunch of ignorant NIMBYs" narrative.

    Those moronic narratives never get stale ... oh. Wait. Actually, they do.

  30. I'm Ald. James is going with the charette model. The Dept. Of Cultuuaral Affair has been doing just that with the cultural plan. Last night it was in Jefferson Park, I also attended the Ravenswood, Rogers Park. and Bridgeport.
    All four have been very different but with recurring themes, the disscussions have bben thoughtful and intelligent

  31. Littleton, it's not a theory. Snubbed agent was confirmed by the Alderman's office.

    @nugatory - name names, who is the snubbed agent and who in the alderman's office confirmed this. Unless you can tell us where you are getting your info. Oh wait "Deep Throat" just told me you can't because you are making it up to sound important.

  32. ........this Android phone is. Cursed.

    What I was tryig to say..

    Aside from the definition above from the notable french fine arts school a charette brings eople together in a more proactive discussion and conversation then the reactive meetings we saw in the Sedgewick debacle.

    Consequently it attracts more thoughtful people otherwise adverse to attending community meetings which can often break down into a finger pointing gripe-fest.

    A cultural center could gain support in this format. At least it could be defined what a cultural space can be. A culinary institute as an anchor is a distinct possibility that would have local support. It can be more then just artists painting pretty pictures....

    Looking forward to the conversation.

  33. @yo, you mischaracterized my post. We all get the concerns with the developer and TIF... the NIMBY issue is totally seperate and relates to the constant stream of posts that related to the size/scope/density and nothing else.

  34. I would also suggest the Sisters of Perpetual Greed did themselves no favor by issuing and ultimatium. In addition, their continued neglect will not hold them in great affection with those of us that have to live here after they take their millions and leave. I am more apt to be against an entity that is fighting me than one trying to work with me..

  35. nug - the NIMBY aspect wasn't directed at you.

  36. The Maryville Chronicles. Part Deux. ......the vacancy years.....


    The NIMBY's
    The Mysterious Scorned RE Agent
    The Sisters
    Ghost of Sedgwick
    Ghost of Wilson Yard
    Ald. James
    The Concerned Neighbors
    The Bloggers, Yo The Rational...Irish Pirate the Irrate....Alek the Somber One...Jeffo the Litter Gitter....and many more!
    The Local Artist who talks too much

    With an incidental cast of thousands....don't miss a single episode!

  37. Alek said...
    lol @ the dead proposal being a "mega-development" was a standard lakefront high rise with retail.

    The plans were for towers as tall as the Prudential Building. Where exactly on the lakefront are these "standard" high rises with 40+ stories?

  38. Thank you ChicagoChristopher - I've always said, there's a reason why Fullerton Ave and Diversey and jammed on weekends….IT'S A DESTINATION, PEOPLE SPEND MONEY….get over your traffic studies or just leave the "big city." NOW, did I think the proposal that was Disneyworld was a good idea……...

    I live kidde-corner to the property before any NIMBH folks start on me….

    Have a fabulous weekend….

  39. Wow I was included in the cast of characters listed by Littleton.
    Is that a compliment?

    I know I wasted space defining Charette, but hey its a cool word.
    Charette must be something good at some time. Nice French Word.

    Maybe what is built there will be a Frankenstein of everyones hopes and wishes or maybe it will be a huge monolithic monstrosity that hails the future coming of the aliens, ie the beachhead that signals the end of the world ala cowboys and aliens.

    Whatever it is, it SHOULD be cool.

  40. Density is great in the city. But half of this site is in the middle of a park. The school was out of place in the park, a development would be tremendously ou of place.

    I wish the sisters would just put a price on the parcel and the city could buy it, turn half into some kind of CPD fieldhouse as a year round gateway to Montrose Beach, and sell the other half to a developer.

  41. Geez I am blown away by most of this discussion... turning the whole site into a park?

    I have talked to a couple of my neighbors (all owners) about this and its true we arent as "involved" but just want to see that site developed. I mean think about it if that site added 3k new residents those are residents that would support local business hopefully help us get some more coffee shops and restaurants.

    Frankly im tired that if im off during the week the only place to go during the middle of the day is the Starbucks that is always jam packed.

    I welcome the additional density, the more the better. The place is disgusting right now.

  42. The site will be developed. This is.a complicated property to discuss because it is actually 3 parcels with very different characteristics.

    I tend to hyper-focus on the smallest east lot. Adjoining the park because it isa prime location for arts and cultural programming of some TBD degree. As an amenity and cultural asset to serve the residents and by osmossis increase the density of both residents an businesses.

    Cultural density? I dunno....but it certainly wouldn't scare people away.....

    Artists attract artist, they are "content creators", people are attracted to content, particularly the proffessional "creative class" which. Include many not trditionally thought of as artists per se.

    The arts are moving into Uptown, its a new trend even....

    There is...and you may be hearing it first in this comment a respected dance company VERY likely moving to Uptown soon. I can't name names, where from or the new location but they will be a welcome addition. Stay tuned.....