Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What To Do With Stewart School? Three Community Workshops Will Try To Figure That Out

From Metropolitan Planning Council:

"Give voice to your vision for Uptown!  Influence the re-use of the Stewart School building and a lot next to the Wilson CTA rail station. What would you like to see these sites become? Work with fellow community members and a team of development professionals to create specific, realistic, community-based proposals.

Each meeting builds on the one before, so we strongly encourage you to attend all three.
  • Thursday, May 8
  • Monday, May 12
  • Thursday, May 29
Each meeting 6 to 8 p.m.  Clarendon Park Community Center, 4501 N. Clarendon Ave.

Hosted by the Metropolitan Planning Council and the office of Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward). For more information, visit metroplanning.org/uptown."

MPC told us, "MPC is neutral about the outcomes of these meetings. Our goal is to provide the community with a proactive way to express what they want to see there, with the knowledge of what a developer can feasibly build."

UU Note:  We urge you to read the background materials set forth by Metropolitan Planning Council, here.  Very informative.  One part to note:  "CPS is required to sell the property to the highest 'responsible' bidder."  

We also urge you to read the Report of the Advisory Committee for School Repurposing and Community Development.  It gives costs of how much it costs to maintain closed schools -- Stewart requires $79,020 to maintain as an empty building and $305,733 to maintain occupied.

There are sections on how to build community partnerships and get grants and funding for various uses, such as affordable housing, market rate housing, new construction/ commercial development, new construction/ mixed use development, or a community resource center.

In short, no one is going to sell you a building for a dollar, so time to start doing some homework and figuring out how to get your favorite use for the building paired up with the "highest 'responsible' bidder" who can afford to maintain a building the size of Stewart. Metropolitan Planning Council is here for just that purpose, to get the community's feedback and guide us through the process.


  1. Stewart School = Condos + Gym + Trader Joes.

    0% affordable housing, we don't need it.

    We should be supporting home ownership and private business. Chicago will be the next Detroit or Cleveland unless we start valuing and respecting the private sector.

  2. Let me speak with the voices of the various interested parties within our community and nearby.

    1. Former unnamed alderman--Fish Farm FISH FARM

    2. Littleton-- Art Gallery/Artist Workspaces/Artist Living/Starbucks/Twerking Studio

    3. Rahm--Charter School Owned by a personal friend and large campaign contributor.

    4. IrishPirate--Market Rate Housing with an addition on top.

    5. Uptown Leftists(Denice,JPUSA,ETC ETC) Section 8 Housing/Sex Offender Rehab/Family Shelter/Methadone Clinic/Parole Probation Office/Perpetual Campaign Office/T Shirt Factory.

    6. JP Paulus--SRO for non homosexuals. Christians only. Preferably Evangelical. Will have to pass various racial, ethnic and religious tests known only to JP. Did I mention no gays?

    7. Uptown Uprising--Leftist Indoctrination Camp named after Howard Zinn. Gays will be allowed, but Paulus won't be. "Howard Zinn Center".

    8. James Cappleman--feck, this is going to be a hassle.

    9. Harrison Ford--Hey I went to school there. How about the Jeffrey Littleton-Harrison Ford Center for the Visual and Performing Arts? Nah.

    10. FLATS--we stopped with the grey paint. Can we buy it and let it sit empty while we hold parties with spotlights out front? (Hopefully our friends at FLATS will do better as time marches on)

    Seriously my vote and the vote of my various personalities is for MARKET RATE HOUSING. I just luv that phrase. It sends chills of disgust into the leftist horde. Time for a march! The weather is better so perhaps they will get more than 40 people next time. With the "will happen at some point" renovation of the Wilson EL stop that's a great location for MARKET RATE HOUSING.



    Right now Littleton is reading this and his booty is starting to twerk with rage.


  3. Someone should contact chicago athletic clubs and see if they are interested. A high end gym and more market rate housing would do wonders for uptown.

    Agreed, uptown should let other neighborhoods partake in all the beautiful and vibrant blessings of having such a diverse population. I'm for more affordable housing in Lincoln park, Gold Coast, Wicker park, etc., to normalize their property values.

  4. Market rate housing, no TIF and I love the idea of UPAC!

  5. That corridor is becoming a key center of economic development in Uptown, with the Target, Aldi, BMO bank branch, etc nearby. Is there any way that it could be developed into some big box retailer? Or is that out of the question with current zoning?

    I imagine with the upcoming L station rehab, it would have to be an attractive location for some respectable, national retail chains.

  6. The best possible use would be a high-rise. Keep the existing facade & structure -- build 40 floor up -- bottom half hotel -- top half market rate condos. The original school could be a combination of commercial and office space.

  7. It's comical to me how some people in this neighborhood seem to want a Trader Joe's on every corner. Not gonna happen. They've looked at the Uptown area multiple times and turned down every opportunity because the demographics just don't support a store here. There will be no Trader Joe's in Uptown so quit asking!

    I do wonder if Truman College would need any extra space. It's pretty much right across the street and already configured for classroom space. Could be a good fit.

  8. I'm in near complete agreement with IP. His profiling is uncanny. Alicia makes a compelling argument as well - market rate housing plus a high end gym. Fantastic location (not sure how parking would be handled for either of those scenarios, but that's neither here nor there)!

    1. Thanks Brian!

      You're wonderful. Did I mention I gave UU a program that can track the IP addresses of comments and what platform/device they come from. Let me guess this last comment you made was from an Android phone?

      Then the "Pickles Bananas" comment rings familiar. Another new ID?

      That's ok though. Making dozens or hundreds of hit and run comments a day on the net keeps you from breeding. Which is a good thing.

    2. It's always a pleasure to see some poignant yet humorous insight, IP. Thanks for keeping it real.

  9. The community is diverse and needs diverse development. Partnering with social/economical responsible and sustainable developments could really do this community some good. It should include diverse housing options such as low income & market rate housing and commercial use. In addition a community center that has something for EVERYONE, including youth who seem to be left out of the equation when topics like this in UU arise.

  10. Looks like a great setup for a version of the Kennedy School from out of Portland OR. Destination hotel and restaurant plus a brewery. Perhaps this one could actually cook a decent steak though. If you really want to raise property values, just draw in the hipsters.

  11. In my hometown they converted a former high school into an apartment building situation, people enjoyed the gym and even using the theater for activities, they held a few plays but mostly showed teevee shows on a projection screen. People enjoy it there.