Friday, March 24, 2017

Chicago Book Publisher To Buy, Move Into Buena Park Mansion

Some great news about the Mansion at Buena and Clarendon! This century-old beauty has been purchased by and will be the new home of Chicago independent publisher Haymarket Books. The sale was made possible through the generosity of the Lannan Foundation, "a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity."

There was a real possibility that the home -- on seven city lots -- could have been subdivided into condos or demolished. This sale means that the building and its grounds will remain intact.

Even better, Haymarket says it wants to turn one of the ground floor rooms into a reading room for the public while utilizing the rest of the building as offices for its staff.

Haymarket would like to get to know its new neighbors. Representatives from the company will be at Buena Park Neighbors' General Meeting on Monday to introduce themselves and answer questions.


  1. This is a building I support saving. The NIMBY/Preservationist hordes often argue for saving buildings of questionable value or which are too friggin expensive to maintain/renovate. This isn't one of those instances.

    I'd recommend that the Capplemaniac and his crack office team of Lesbian Ninja/other aldermanic staff work on getting this property landmarked. I hope it's there 100 years from now.

    It's a beautiful building on a busy corner.

  2. Step 1: The property owner asked for an upzone a few years ago, supposedly to increase services at the school. Step2: Once granted, the property was put up for sale and commanded a higher price because of all the additional uses the new zoning provides (most of which have nothing to do with the additional school uses that justified the change.) Step 3: Sell the property and profit from the zoning change. Step 4: Expect the community to be thankful that when the property is sold, it is not maxed out and used in a way that never would have been allowed under the original zoning. Step 5: Haymarket positions itself as a hero for not razing the property and overbuilding the site, which never would have been allowed under the original zoning. Final Outcome: The new use is not in context with other single family homes that exist on the surrounding block and we now have a business operating on a street of private residences. Next Step: Why not downzone this property at the community's request given that the purpose of the last upzone (educating the children) no longer exists? This is the old zoning change bait and switch.

    1. I don't claim to know whether your history and the motivation of the property owner is correct as described.

      Here is what I suspect/think.

      1. Some rich guy gave Haymarket a bequest of a whole lotta money. Maybe there was a stipulation it be used to buy a headquarters. Maybe I'm wrong and they saved the cash through book sales. I just don't know.

      2. I do know that they don't seem to have thought this whole purchase out very well. It really seems like a bushel of Euros and Hundred Dollar bills fell in their lap and they decided "Hey Kids, let's buy a mansion. Let's call it Marxist Mansion. Yea Team Marxist. Let's have a meeting room and maybe a garden with Trotsky roses that die violently every season."

      3. In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Dwight D. Eisenhower

      4. See number three.

      5. Now I find the ideas of lefties owning a mansion as their HQ amusing. I also find it a bit hypocritical, but hey we're all hypocrites in one way or another. I mean what 15k square feet for less than 20 employees? Even with the Mao Library/Reading Room and the Fidel Tea Room that seems excessive.

      6. Again once you factor in the maintenance costs of Marxist Manor/Mansion it doesn't seem like a good business move. Strikes me as being akin to Baker and Nosh overextending and putting their very good and successful business out of business.

      7. I just did a google search on office space needs and 4000 square feet would likely be more then enough space for them. If they buy this it wouldn't surprise me if they regret it a few years down the road as costs go up. I mean since their business seems largely to be publishing shouldn't they concentrate on publishing and not property maintenance?

      8. I looked at the property taxes on that property a few weeks back. I think it was around 16k a year or so. Seems like the property is paying SFH rates which is much lower than a commercial rate.

      9. Do you see where I'm going here? If they're going to use it as an office shouldn't it be taxed as commercial property which would double the rate? Can you dig it? Do you feel the vibe?

      10. To me that would be the best of all worlds. I'd get to be amused by having the leftist horde doing business out of Honecker Hacienda and they'd be paying roughly twice the property taxes.

      11. I also believe having 20 or so employees there is better for the hood than having one rich family with say 5-6 people and their overburdened undocumented nanny. Those 20 folks will be dining and spending cash among the coffee houses and shops near La Casa Castro.

      12. Now I'm not on Haymarket's board, but if I were I'd counsel them to be careful what they ask for. I really think they'd be better off buying/renting around 4000 sq ft of office space somewhere.

      13. In any case I suspect they will win the vote and I hope they're good neighbors. Shovel your snow. Maintain your landscaping and try not to scare your millionaire neighbors. No dressing up as Stalin for Halloween and going trick or treating. Ok?