Alderman Cappleman has posted his letter to Lakeside Area Neighbors Association explaining his approval of the 4600 Marine Drive development on the lightly-used Weiss Hospital parking lot on Wilson between Clarendon and Marine.
The letter, which we reproduced below, details the process that led up to the decision, Aldermen Cappleman's deliberation, and his ultimate determination to support the development.
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We reported about this development late last year, and public and private meetings in the subsequent 7 months were filled with arguments over the merits of the building. Opponents are primarily upset that the building will block their views and add more market rate housing, and the local block club argued (without proof) that it "did not trust" Pipeline Health, the owner of Weiss Hospital, to follow through on promises to put sales proceeds into hospital improvements as an additional basis to oppose the plan. We hear that the developer made numerous changes to accommodate opponents and they voted against the building anyway.
As the letter describes, this development will have direct and positive impacts on Weiss Hospital, providing funds for necessary renovations and new programs, including Weiss' unique transgender clinic, and further strengthening Uptown's largest employer. The ARO funds generated by the project will be directed to Sarah's Circle, a longtime provider of supportive services for abused and homeless women and their families, in lieu of going into the common city-wide fund. Sarah's Circle is slated to use the funds directed to it to fund construction of a new building providing housing at Lakeside and Sheridan.
With this, the development goes to the full City Council for approval.
Speaking for all of us here at UU, we believe this project is a true win-win-win, as Weiss and Sarah's Circle get immediate and important benefits, the community as a whole benefits from a stronger Weiss and additional housing for abused and homeless women, and this building adds new Uptowners while replacing an empty parking lot with a building subject to property taxes.