Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Big Changes Proposed On Wilson Avenue By FLATS

Proposed 7 story development by FLATS at 1050 W. Wilson (currently a parking lot)
Two big proposals will be presented to local block clubs and then the 46th Ward Zoning and Development Committee soon.
FLATS hopes to develop a parking lot next to its property at 1050 W. Wilson into a 7 story transit oriented development with 102 units and retail. Because of its proximity to the Wilson L and being a TOD, they are proposing 21 parking spaces. Full details on this proposal can be found on Alderman Cappleman's website. Truman Square Neighbors block club will meet Monday, July 20th, to hear more about it and will vote on whether to give its approval to a zoning change the same week.

Just a block away on the SE corner of Sheridan and Wilson, a lot that was most recently El Pollo Loco and owned by Cedar Street/FLATS  is now slated for another 7 story development. Plans call for 138 units and 52 parking spaces. The project will first be presented to Clarendon Park Neighbors and then to the Z&D committee where a zoning change would be requested. Complete plans can be found on Ald. Cappleman's site.
Both projects would add some density to Wilson by adding residential that was lost in the 1960s and 1970s.

Proposed 7 story development on SE corner of Sheridan & Wilson (975 W. Wilson) by FLATS


  1. Can someone clarify: When they say 102 units and 21 parking spaces, do they assume that only 1/5 of the residents will have cars? Or is this parking for the retail spaces and residential parking will be either underground or on the roof or something? It's not like we don't have huge parking issues around here as it is.

    1. 1/5 of the residents will have cars. Because this is so close to the EL, they can build less. And before you panic, FLATS' clients tend to not to drive or have cars and, in general, building less parking incentivizes transit use and helps the parking crunch.

    2. Having less parking spaces doesn't mean less people will have cars. It may mean that people with cars that can't get a parking space in the building won't rent there. Honestly, it's in their best interest to have a few extra spaces and rent them to current neighborhood residents that don't have parking at their buildings. This would be a good way for them to help the community because as K. Ricke pointed out, parking in that area and the 8 block radius surrounding it is awful. If you look at the buildings in that area, very few have parking because many are walk-ups. As much as our city is very public transportation oriented some people absolutely have to have a vehicle. I would love to get rid of the monthly expense of having a car but my job does not allow it therefore, I had to move because I couldn't find a parking space to rent less than 5 blocks from my house for under $300/month. Not looking for them to solve the parking problem but if they really want to be a big part of the community as they are saying, even renting 50 spots would help alot.

  2. both buildings will be a drastic improvement over existing conditions & help move the area in right direction.

  3. People were bitching about the parking situation at the newish Halsted Flats building which is on Halsted and not flat. Also not part of the FLATS empire. They still have 100+ spots available to rent and whathaveu.

    Renters around here are less likely to have cars than condo owners. Car buying among the rental set is dropping faster than Trump's poll numbers among Hispanics. Whether that's a short term change in the national driving zeitgeist(pretentious word alert) or permanent only time will tell.

    Now FLATS has had some problems developing their properties in a timely manner. Their other properties to this point being largely/wholly renovations. Perhaps they will prove more adept with new construction and with the size of the project an experienced general contractor will almost certainly be brought in.

    If they set aside some spaces for ZipCar or TidyCar or Enterprise ETC the parking should be less of an issue. I'd guess that 30-35% parking to units would be ok. I'd have to do some research. Maybe 21 with some car sharing spaces would be enough. The renters here are likely to be younger and have less $ than the Halsted Flats renters so less parking would likely be appropriate. Plus Target/Jewel/Sonic/McDonalds are all right there.

    I do know that I'd like to do a preemptive attack on the NIMBYS of all stripes who attack these potential developments. Here we go. THPPPPPPT.

    I personally want more density there. I'm pro dense. I'm dense friendly! Make em 14 stories and tell the NIMBYs if they don't like it they can fly to Pluto.

  4. Why is that when ever news comes about something that will improve the community, some people's first comment is to complain. Are people's lives really that miserable!

  5. There have been so many building exempted from parking requirements in this neighborhood because they started out as non-profits. Can we really afford to add even more. Right now the City's own Uptown Medical Center on Wilson is non-compliant in their parking requirements because they use the Weiss Hospital parking garage to fulfill their requirement - but Weiss also used that same parking garage to support their new medical office building. And most of the churches are not compliant. After years of turning a blind eye to these problems and with the CTA and Park District and CUBS using Uptown for their parking needs, is it really wise to use the whole "transit oriented property" theory to add to Uptown's parking woes?

    1. The solution to the Chicago's parking woes is not to accommodate more automobiles. The solution is to discourage car ownership.

  6. What a bunch of unhappy people are commenting on just about everything.

    "I want a farmer's market." Okay, here's one at Weiss. "Wahhhhh, it's not convenient for me, I'd have to get up 15 minutes early to shop there."

    "I'm sick of how Wilson is so bare and empty with all those empty parking lots." Okay, here's a Sonic, the first in the city, replacing a parking lot that was never even used. "Wahhhh, why do we have a drive-in so close to an el stop, that's just ridiculous!"

    "I want retail in empty buildings." Okay, here's a Ross Dress For Less coming to a large building on Montrose, with room for even more retail. "Wahhhh, it's not prestigious enough for me, I want something nicer, even though I can't get enough of Target."

    "I liked Wilson in the old pictures where there's density, why can't we have that kind of vitality again?" Okay, here's something to replace the El Pollo Loco that closed years ago and something to replace a ratty parking lot, with modern architecture, that will bring new market-rate tenants to Uptown and won't use TIF money. "Wahhhhh, what about parking, that's all I can think about is parking!"

    FFS, get over it. Some people are just programmed for negativity. Uptown is moving forward. You can enjoy seeing it grow, or you can stamp your feet and whine. The comments here and on the Facebook page remind me of people who are handed a million dollars and immediately start complaining about capital gains and tax brackets.

    Anhedonia, look it up.

  7. Agreed Anhedonia. Some people don't like change, and will always find fault with everything. This neighborhood has been stagnant for too long, fresh life is needed. We need commerce to fill these empty storefronts, and more businesses that caters to the neighborhood.

  8. Thanks, gg. I've learned a new word, and it perfectly captures the tenor of these blog comments. I have come to believe that persistent negativity is the biggest obstacle to Uptown's progress. Yes, even more so than any lingering (and waning) criminal violence.

    These developments are great as is.

    Those critical of parking ratios fail to understand the goals of transit oriented development. Car ownership is on a downward trend - mass transit and car sharing speak both to Flats audience and reflect the reality of demographic change. Those who hold up their unique circumstances ("I have to have a car for MY job") ignore data and are, frankly, selfish ("I lived here first! Free street parking belongs to ME and no one else!")

    Good thing Cedar Street sees beyond the critics and continues to help develop Uptown's incredible potential.

  9. Also, this is nitpicky as someone that has an architecture degree, but has no-one noticed that the photorealistic renderings don't match up with the sites? I find that rather odd.

  10. I'm not sure of the current state of the building ordinance, but it was possible to create parking spots with a "lift" that would allow one car to be parked above another. I was in a building in the West Loop that was formerly a warehouse where they did that for some of the spots. The city in its wisdom at the time treated each lift as its own separate elevator and charged fees and had inspections based on that silly concept.

    It's one hell of a lot cheaper than building an equal number of additional parking spaces. If it's still allowed I'd suggest FLATS consider doing that. Should be easier in new construction.

    If it's not allowed I suggest the Capplemaniac go over to JPUSA and get one of their paddles and take it over to the building department and then get the ordinance changed.

    There was some controversy over it in the late 90's as I recall. It was a silly controversy.

  11. Ok using the magic of google I found some stuff on the Chicago Vehicle Lift Ordinance.

    It may need some updating. Time to bring Chicago into the late 20th Century parking lift wise.

  12. Wow... nicely done, Cedar Street! I'd have been pleased to read that either parking lot was going to get some use, but announcing both at once really magnifies the message. No TIFs even? I must be dreaming, this feels like a win for everybody.

    Now if we could just convince them to buy the maryville mosquito farm...

  13. I really hope these both happen!

  14. Here is a brilliant ideal for parking:

  15. Uptown Sinclair, there are no TIF funds available in the Wilson TIF district, because the CTA raided/demanded the funds for the Red Line Wilson Station Reconstruction project.

  16. So many people keep saying car ownership is on the decline and I hope it is but that doesn't mean that there still isn't a problem with parking right now. What do you all suggest then to not let anyone move to Uptown that has a car?
    How would you expect someone that travels to different suburbs for their job everyday to get to their clients in Northbrook, Alsip, Aurora, Schaumburg etc? I haven't seen anyone use parking as an excuse not to have these developments; people are simply pointing out it may add to an already big problem. If the Alderman would listen to the many people that have complained and offered to help find a solution, maybe so many people wouldn't be upset by the situation. Because of the style of buildings and when they were built, many of them just don't have parking in the buildings. Parking isn't a hot button issue for Cappelman because it won't put any money in his pocket.
    If you want to look at the data, compare how many people live in the neighborhood, how many people have cars and how many paid and street parking spaces their are- you will find there simply isn't enough room for every car in the area. It's not being selfish, purely fact.
    For the people that live there now and complain without trying to be part of the solution, shame on you- if you can complain, you can try to help. For the people that move to the area and then complain about the parking- shame on you for not doing your research before you moved.
    The simple fact is, if the building offered 100 parking spaces for rent, they would rent them all with no problem to people that live nearby.