Wednesday, February 5, 2020

4500 Block Of Clark To See New Storefronts, And A Proposed Residential Building

MCZ Development's proposal for 4511-4523 N. Clark (2RZ Architecture)
Current one story vacant retail (Google)
A proposal that would replace a vacant one-story retail building has been released by Alderman Cappleman's office and posted on his development page.

MCZ Development is proposing to replace the nondescript retail building that spans 4511-4523 N. Clark with a five-story residential building with retail on the ground floor.

Per the design, 56 units of housing are included, along with six affordable on-site units and 27 garage parking spaces. The building is designed with significant setbacks from the alley and Clark to minimize loss of light, primarily to satisfy previous objections from homeowners directly behind the development.

The parcel is currently zoned C1-2; the developer is requesting a zoning change to C1-3.

And just up the street....

After Dover Street Neighbors recently voted on three separate occasions to reject three different proposals for a residential development at 4537 N Clark, the owner is taking a different approach that will not leave his property open to community approval.

The existing buildings on the site (relatively modern one-story retail storefronts) are in the process of being demolished. The property owner will replace them with a two-story retail/office building with a 4,200sf parking lot in the rear.

This development will be built under the existing C1-2 zoning designation, thereby bypassing any approvals or input on the design from the block club and/or the alderman.

After Dover Street Neighbors turned down a residential proposal at 4537 N Clark, this two-story office/retail building will be constructed on the site
A former proposal at 4537 N Clark, rejected for being "too dense" for the location by the neighboring block club
We are beginning to see a pattern here. If any development on Clark is continuously rejected by those who live on a nearby residential block, we expect we will never see a day when Clark Street will become anything more than a retail dead zone.

If developers' proposals are repeatedly rejected, they will build what they can under existing zoning, and Clark will remain as it is now, a few existing stores bookended by empty storefronts, with very little foot traffic drawn to the area.

We hope that eventually, development will be allowed to progress on Clark Street. It will bring vibrancy and energy to an area that desperately needs it.


  1. This is why Da Mare Lightfoot needs to fight the aldermen on "aldermanic prerogative". Cappleman would go along with her as he's been making that argument for years.

    I don't think the alderman in the 47th Matt Martin would be so amenable to that. Socialist alderman like to demand more low income housing etc. Perhaps I'm wrong about Alderman Martin.

    Make me Zoning Czar for the city and I promise I won't do anything resulting in federal charges for at least my first five years. Added benefit is Clark street would be zoned appropriately.

  2. My difficulty with the argument presented by Uptown Update is that it is presented as an either/or--either take what we are being offered or get nothing at all. The Feb. 5 article makes it seem as if Dover residents are against development. From my conversations with neighbors over many years, this is not the case. I doubt that anyone on Dover or the rest of the neighborhood wants endless vacancies on Clark Street. But the fact is retail is experiencing difficulties across the city. I think this needs to be addressed creatively within the approach to development before putting up a block long construction. Additionally, DSNA has always put forth wanting to maintain a sense of community within an enlivened and attractive corridor that people want to come to for shopping, dining etc let along walk along. Scale matters. Chicago thrives as a city of distinct neighborhoods. Why can't we have both good design in a development with a scale that feels friendly and inviting? Many residents I have spoken with simply want considered, thoughtful design and scale that attracts walkability and sidewalk appeal, and at the same time, doesn't wall off all the light where we live, and where we have worked hard to make Uptown a solid community. Why are existing residents or our views often considered so disposable, or not considered at all? Most developers have come in professing that they "know what the community wants", without ever having a conversation with any of us. The result is often that we are pitted against each other in unproductive ways at the time of a meeting. Yet there are developers and architects who take a collaborative approach with spectacular results that add value to a neighborhood, allow the profit these projects obviously seek, where we could all benefit in positive ways and still love where we live. Now that the rush is on for this last north side stretch from Montrose to Lawrence, can't we approach things differently?

  3. Amazing concern trolling anonymous. DSNA has always put forth wanting (?) to maintain a sense of community within an enlivened and attractive coridor that people want to come to for shopping, dining etc let along walk along. Did I miss this? When has this happened? I have lived here for years and have never seen or heard anyone from DSNA say anything about Clark street other than complain. That they will lose an hour of light each day because of buildings on Clark. But tell the truth. These buildings wont be on top of them. Look at the pictures its obvious. Its a few rich people in big houses losing maybe 30 minutes of a direct view of the setting sun. Update is right. Name a single thing they have supported. You cant. Can anonymous cite a single other place anywhere in this city where this so called collaboration has happened? No. There are no examples thats why. Developers develop. They are interested in making money and they want to make profit . Obviously, There are no examples of this type of collaboration. None. I challenge anonymous to name one. Dover Street Stop standing in the way of something good for everybody.!

  4. Actually, Avenger, there are examples. Landon Bone Baker does many projects across the city with community engagement. There are others. But even if there weren't what is your point? That it is a bad idea? DSNA was persistent in working with a developer over a series of meetings for the property at the end of the 4700 block until they met some basic criteria for fitting in with the streetscape. As for supporting measures for Clark Street, a number of us part of DSNA worked with prior Alderman Schulter when Dover was divided into two wards east and west, to work on a plan for Clark Street, most of which unfortunately did not materialize. However addressing safety, lighting and tree planting were successful. Efforts to revitalize Wilson and Sunnyside Mall have also been part of DSNA's work as well as other neighborhood Block clubs. A plan for Clark Street where we can all weigh in would be a good thing to revive in my view. It was done on Argyle street in the 48th ward. As for the nasty rich people comment, it is not worth a reply. Working individuals and families who care about the area is what has made up DSNA. We care about a lot of issues here. Many are long time residents including my family, who moved in to houses over 30 years ago when the area was dilapidated, and there was plenty of prostitution, murder, gangs, and other crime, still problems. We have worked hard and continue to work with various community organizations such as Hull House, a wonderful community resource that was torn down--Inspiration Cafe, Night Ministry, and the local schools to improve things for everyone, not just "rich people". And this is what makes it so the developers want to come here as everyone knows. Without the care of regular working folks here that most likely would not happen. The neighborhood efforts to landmark Dover and parts of Beacon was a more than 4 year effort that has resulted in it staying a historic area and was judged by the Landmark commission as one of the best ever organized. Maybe you don't agree with all of these priorities, and that is your prerogative. but please be informed before you judge.

    1. Did you meant Alderman SCHILLER, I don’t remember Alderman Schulter here