Monday, November 26, 2012

New Phase For Wilson Mens Club?

We don't want to read too much into this, but the possibilities are intriguing. 

From the latest newsletter of Manske Dieckmann Thompson architects:

Wilson Men's Hotel Study.  MDT has been retained by Bomberg Property Management to study alternative uses and exterior upgrades for the Wilson Men's Hotel.  The Hotel is located in Chicago's Uptown neightborhood at 1124 West Wilson Avenue.


  1. I can think of a million better uses than an SRO! Right next to the train station that will be renovated, this will be some prime land. Perhaps they're just trying to get their ducks in a row? But I won't read into it.

  2. Hard to imagine major use changes given the study is still being funded by the property manager who is committed to low-income buildings with failures across their portfolio. Best case scenario it's the exploratory stages of a plan to cut and run.

  3. Failure to include the Wilson Men's Hotel in the Wilson Station renovation would be fatal flaw in the project. I too can think of a million (ok maybe 100) higher and better uses for that building/land, which will soon be adjacent to a major North Side transportation hub.

    If the owner won't play nice (or sell), I can see very easy arguments for taking that building (and a few others) under eminent domain. It's better if it does not have to go there...but I don't know enough about the project, owners, or relationships to predict.

  4. I heard that Truman was interested in converting the Wilson Mens Club into dorms. Anything would better than the awful mess that this place and others like it in the vicinity make out of the whole area. It's just disgusting walking through there.

    Speaking of which, it would be nice if the CTA kept the boarded up buildings clean. Some of those doorways are filled with some nasty trash.

  5. I would imagine there is a pot of TIF dollars, a piece of which, this might be wanting.

  6. I heard a rumor that Rahm is quietly buying up real estate in Uptown. Then after he completes the uptown entertainment district transformation he will be quite rich. Perhaps the Men's Hotel is part of stage 1 of that very plan.

  7. "but I don't know enough about the project, owners, or relationships to predict."

    Check out the managment companies website and you'll get a good feel of what we're dealing with...they are committed to affordable housing, have partnered with some of the more notorious community organizaitons and tout major successes in screaming problem tenants.

    So on one hand, I doubt they have interest in managing any "higher and better uses". But on the other hand, they clearly value their bottom line more than anything and may see a window to get out while the getting is good.

  8. Two things.

    First, I suspect the unseen hand of the Capplemaniac is involved in this. He's astute enough to know that cleaning up the Wilson Men's Club is absolutely necessary for the success of the rebuilt EL stop.

    Look for rezoning to allow for additional height to be added to the building or a tear down followed by new construction. Ultimately I would expect commercial on the ground level and market rate apartments above.

    Second, while I appreciate a good rumor or conspiracy just as much as the next buccaneer I doubt Rahmbo is buying up property in Uptown. His main interest in money seems to be in collecting campaign funds and donors for any future runs for other offices.

    Rahm is a whole lot of things, mostly bad, but stupid generally ain't one of them. Of course arrogance often leads to stupidity and he's as arrogant as I'm sarcastic. That's a lot of arrogance.

    I suspect he sees himself as Vice President Rahm or God Save the Republic President Rahm at some point. Thankfully, I suspect his sparkling personality will keep him from being elected Prez or Vice Prez.

    He should have stayed in Congress where his maniacal work ethic and good natured personality could have led him to the Speakership at some point.

    It was a mistake for then President elect Obama to appoint him as "Chief of Staff". The Democrats needed a single minded 9.5 fingered political animal to keep the House in Democratic hands.

    He raked in millions between his service in the Clinton Administration and being elected to Congress in 2002. He can rake in more millions after he ultimately leaves public office.

    Now would Rahmbo tell some of his cronies to buy property in Uptown? Maybe. That's how I would "play" that rumor.

    I might even create a character deep in the Rahmbo inner circle who fed me stories. I would call such character "Deep Beef Sausage" and suggest he and Rahm went to Hebrew school together in Wilmette in the 70's.

    Obviously I can't call him "deep sausage" because of the kosher angle.

    Of course to truly pull that off I might have to change my screen name to something different.

    How's the "Graceland Golem" sound? It works in the Uptown and Jewish angles and is alliterative.

    That's it. I shall create a blogger account under than nom de guerre and tell everyone I went to Hebrew school with Rahm and "Deep Beef Sausage". DBS will be my mole in Rahm's inner circle.

    Expect to read about Uptown property values jumping shortly.

  9. If Truman is really considering student housing, that would be great--it might just pop that pseudo-academic bubble it exists within and help it become a part of the community instead of just being incidental to it. Besides the Wilson Mens Club, they could consider student family housing in the CHA buildings on the SW corner of Sunnyside and Racine, along with the 4431 N. Clifton building--they could provide student housing AND rid the neighborhood of gang hangouts at the same time.

  10. Has anyone actually seen the inside of the Wilsons Mens Club? It has dozens of fire code violations. They have "chicken wiring" as ceilings. They also are always selling single cigerettes outside. I think it's about $180 a month.

  11. Wilson men's hotel is a bad place. I really hope this goes through and this place is gone.

  12. Another Uptown pearl is the Darlington Hotel. While the dog and I were walking by, an empty box of cigarettes flew out the second story window - this as I carried a bag full of empty Icehouse beers and Urinov Vodka plastic bottles that I had collected while walking a block or so. Meanwhile, there was a big arrest operation involving quite a few cops, some unphased females who looked like they'd been there and done that on the hood, while the local gentry from the "Dahlington" looked on. I hope the Capplemaniac has this eyesore in his sights as well.

  13. Now were talking!
    Wilson aint gonna turn around without a rehab of this building. If I had money I would be quietly buying Uptown property as well.

    Thanks for the litter patrol Uptown Revivalist.

  14. I though the Darlington Hotel was a Hilton brand hotel. This is an outrage to hear about all the Hooliganism!

  15. The cigarette salesmen outside the Wilson Hotel sell the "loose squares" for .50 cents a piece. The police do not seem concerned so maybe it's legal?

  16. I understand we all would not want live in a place like the Wilson Club Hotel, but what do you do with the guys that live their now, if you re-purpose building?