Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ground-Breaking News! Zoning Committee Votes To Approve Maryville Development

Nearly eight years after the religious order that owns the 3.5-acre Columbus-Maryville site put it on the market...

Nearly seven years after Sedgwick Properties Development Group signed a contract to purchase it and build a mixed-use high-rise there...

And more than five years after then-alderman Helen Shiller created the Montrose/Clarendon TIF to enable Sedgwick to build there with $60million in assistance...

... it looks like Maryville is finally on the way to being developed.

In a statement issued today, Ald. James Cappleman says:
"Last night, the 46th Ward Zoning & Development Committee, made up of 40 diverse neighborhood and chamber organizations throughout the ward, voted to support the Clarendon/Montrose development proposal, which is the former site of the Maryville Academy. Each organization sends its own representative to serve on the committee. Click here to find out how your representative voted.

This development is within a Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) district that makes up property owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Park District land. Currently the TIF has no money because neither entity pays taxes. The only way TIF funds are generated at this site is to have a development on this site generate tax revenue. Therefore,  I am requiring that JDL Development provide $4.6 million upfront to assist with the Clarendon Park Community Center.

For the past few months, I have met with the Cubs about the potential for a partnership with the Park District to create a Cubs indoor baseball academy at Clarendon Park for neighborhood kids that would also rehab the Community Center.

JDL Development will be contributing $5.7 million to the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, money that will go to pay for rent subsidies to people earning 30% or less of the area median income. Currently, the 46th Ward receives more rental subsidy assistance from this fund than the combined total given to 29 other wards in the City of Chicago.

Click here to view the development proposal. Groundbreaking is expected sometime in the spring of 2016."
Our post with information about the latest proposal is here.  Ald. Cappleman's email newsletter is here.

It's been a long trip getting to this point. Sedgwick originally proposed a three-tower development that would have included "1,050 residential units, a hotel, a supermarket, a health club, and parking for 1,100 cars." It was called Lake View Station, odd considering that Clarendon Park is squarely and indisputably in Uptown.

There were meetings held in laundry rooms, many new versions of potential developments, a name change to The Lighthouse at Montrose Harbor, the abandonment of Sedgwick as most favored developer by the then-alderman, accusations of renderings that didn't match the blueprints, more community meetings, a new developer, an attempt to have the building landmarked, a reduction of the TIF amount, and more.

But now, it looks like development at Maryville may finally happen. We see it as a win for Uptown in many ways:
  • No residents will be displaced; the 3.5-acre site has been unoccupied for years
  • Property taxes, sales taxes and other income will be generated by a a huge piece of land that hasn't contributed to the city's tax base since the Roosevelt Administration. (While the current buildings date back to the 1950s, the hospital was founded in 1942 as a maternity hospital run by the Sisters.)
  • New affordable-housing apartments will be created as part of the development and nearly six million dollars will go into the Low Income Housing Trust Fund
  • The historic, leaky, deteriorating Clarendon Park Field House will be restored through a combination of upfront money from the developer and a community contribution from the Chicago Cubs
  • New residents and new retail moving into Uptown will create a more vibrant community
  • The current owners, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, will get a nice chunk of change from the sale to continue their good work, which includes outreach to immigrants, caring for the elderly, and working against human trafficking
  • There will be a welcoming gateway to Uptown from Lake Shore Drive, rather than fenced-off boarded-up buildings
Given the long and bumpy road to get to this point, we can't say with any certainty that this plan is locked in. But it is -- by far -- the closest the Maryville property has come to redevelopment since we've been following the story, for almost eight years now. Time will tell. And we're humming a little Etta James.


  1. Anybody know anything about when permit parking gets installed in the area? It is indeed exciting that this is happening, but parking will be a mess once they break ground...

    1. I emailed the alderman and they said about 6 months from when the vote was passed. Since the vote was in August they said the permit parking would likely go into effect sometime in the spring. So about the same time they break ground on this

    2. I got the exact same response today...thx

  2. This is happening IMBY (in my back yard) and I'm all for it. Why? Because the developer is awesome and has accommodated the neighbors. So I wasn't really a NIMBY like Irish Pile-of-it suggested, I was just anti-Sedgwick.

    I'd still rather have the current building renovated and used as a school, but I know that won't generate tax dollars for the neighborhood. But if something has to be built here, I'm glad it's JDL doing the building.

    Whaddya think of that IPee?

  3. Yes, finally it gets approved! You noticed ONE was one of the only two who voted no. Ha!
    Well I'm excited to this site finally developing something other than that abandoned buildings which cast an unwelcoming site coming off Lakeshore into Uptown. I can only imagine the views it will have for the residents facing eastbound towards the park and lake.
    Can anyone tell what's being built in the actual empty parking lot according to their plans? And what is the small building being built right across the street in the corner where the connected building stands on the park propert?

    1. The empty parking lot to the north will have 250 more apartments in 16 stories, I think

  4. This is very exciting for Uptown. It was clear at Monday's meeting that the developers listened to the neighborhood concerns and came up with a win win for all.

    So happy that the level headed educated constituency prevailed. This is good for the longer term health of the neighborhood. Good bye to the eyesores!

    1. On their best day those buildings were ugly. Mid-century brutalist architecture ain't my thing.

      Adding this to the inevitable residential developments that will spring up nearer to the renovated EL stop and construction activity will likely be heavy in Uptown for the next few years.

      Next we need to ID other properties ripe for development. None will have this density, but they're out there. Some parcels on Broadway in Buena Park. Lot across from Weiss on Clarendon. The vacant lots in Sheridan Park.

      I love the smell of sawdust in the morning. The smell, you know that new construction smell, The whole neighborhood(sniffing-pondering) smells like victory. (Waves to ONE and JPUSA)

    2. I *heart* mid-century modern but will admit the building on the NW corner is just weird. The vertical bars on the chapel thing in front look like skeleton teeth to me.
      And even though I find the new design very boring and common, I'm thrilled to see development on this corner. Also very curious to see what kinds of retail will inhabit street level. I PRAY it's not some "currency exchange" thing. That would kill the whole corner.

    3. Does anyone know if it's possible to get in the buildings and check them out (urban explore) before the bulldozer comes?

  5. As owners on Agatite we are thrilled!!!