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UPTOWN CHICAGO COMMISSION

e-Newsletter Index

June 2004 e-Newsletter


UCC has made a significant upgrade to our website. We would like to hear your comments and suggestions.

Alderman Mary Ann Smith health update.
Alderman Smith continues treatment for breast cancer. She reports to be tolerating the chemotherapy reasonably well, and radiation treatment will follow. The cancer was detected early and the prognosis is good. Alderman Smith thanks all those who have sent cards and gifts and appreciates the many wishes for her good health.

Letter from Alderman Helen Shiller regarding Wilson Yard questions.
UCC sent a letter to Alderman Shiller with a list of questions we have heard frequently from our directors and members-at-large. Her letter is published below. We hope this clarifies some of the outstanding issues from February's Wilson Yard Status meeting at Truman and we thank Alderman Shiller for her timely response.

"Thank you for your letter on behalf of the Uptown Chicago Commission regarding the Wilson Yard. Please pass on these responses to your questions to your membership.

     What is the anticipated amount of TIF assistance for the Wilson Yard redevelopment?
We are closing in on these costs and expect to be able to get and give an answer to your question by the first week of August 2004.

     Where is the market-rate housing component at the Wilson Yard?
Every TIF development does not have mixed income housing. The goal is to ensure that the TIF contributes to a mix of incomes in the community. Having said that, the Wilson Yard project originally included land on both sides of the "L" and parking for Truman College. In this larger view, the Broadway retail area is developed including retail, movie theaters and parking. Additional parking is identified for Truman College, and housing is built on the Montrose side of Wilson Yard and on the Truman side of Wilson Yard. In 2003, the City Colleges concluded that they needed to develop their own parking on their own land. While it is anticipated that this will be done concurrently with Wilson Yard, for discussion and planning purposes, we have split these redevelopments into two phases. Phase I is the area east of the "L." Phase II is the area west of the "L." Phase I includes a mid-rise building for low-income senior citizen! s over 62 years of age, and a second mid-rise, a two- and three-bedroom unit apartment building for moderate income working families that will become a co-op owned by people living in it after fifteen years. Phase II includes low-rise condominium units that will have a mix of market rate units and affordable units. The site plan shared in February 2004 was exclusively focused on Phase I. There will be more discussion of Phase II at a later date.

     In today's dollars. what are the minimum and maximum income levels for residents in the affordable co-op building?
The maximum income limits for households of the co-op building were occupied today range from $31,700 for a single person to $59,700 for a household of eight. There are no established minimum levels as that would be determined applicant by applicant by the leasing agent.

     What are the provisions for adequate drop-off and loading areas, parking and green space for proposed new residential units?
Provisions for adequate drop-off and loading areas, parking and green space for the new residential units will be spelled out in the Planned Development being drafted. While these are not yet flushed out, they will at the least, fit requirements in our codes.

     How will the city prevent adverse effects to area residents as a result of the temporary/permanent elimination of Truman College parking? Do these plans include permit parking within Sheridan Park and Buena Park?
The first goal is to ensure adequate parking for Truman College, and we are working on that. However, it is likely that under any circumstances, there will be a period of time during construction that Truman students will have to park elsewhere. The college has hired a traffic consultant who is currently studying this situation, and who will provide some suggestions in the next month or so. Solutions could include permit parking if there is a consensus among community residents that we should do this.

     What levels of architectural detailing will be incorporated into the Aldi and Target/movie theater buildings? Will there be plentiful windows and entrances to ensure Broadway's frontage is pedestrian-friendly? Are the assurances firm for either preserving or replicating the terra cotta on the Broadway/Montrose building?
There is a lot of work going into developing architectural elements to all the new buildings. There is agreement on the need for a pedestrian friendly environment. As we get a little further along, there will be an opportunity to have more detailed review of this. There is a firm commitment to either preserve or replicate the terra cotta on the Broadway/Montrose building. Again, thank you for your letter. If you have any questions, please contact me or my assistant, Maggie Marystone, at 773.878.4646."

DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Historic Uptown Broadway building at 4707 N. Broadway is sold to Thad Wong of @properties.
Current plans call for a high-quality renovation effort, including facade repair and replacement of the glass brick windows. Retail tenants will occupy renovated spaces on the first floor and commercial tenants will be retained on the upper floors.

Lakeside Clarendon TIF approval process moving forward.
This TIF involves a small geographic area beginning at the Lakeside and Clarendon intersection and wrapping around onto Leland, terminating at the Arai campus park. It's a conservation TIF and it is focused on facilitating the re-use of the former Charter Barclay Hospital site. Preliminary plans call for conversion of the newly-constructed building on Lakeside (which was to be an Alzheimer's residential facility) into approximately 35 apartments for low income seniors. The mid-rise hospital facility on Leland and Clarendon would be razed and replaced with a condo development, which would include a required 20% set-aside for affordable units. The community will have multiple opportunities for review and comment as plans come forward, under both the TIF review process and the Lakefront Protection review process.

New $800,000 Margate Park tot lot construction has begun.
Alderman Smith and Margate Park residents have worked on plans for a new playlot for several years. We look forward to its completion later this year.

Goudy School Campus Park construction to begin later this summer.
Alderman Smith and area residents have prepared plans for a school park with soccer fields and running track. This is the next step in expansion of Goudy. Approximately one year out, the trailer-style classrooms at Foster and Kenmore will be removed. That will be the final step in a long and complicated upgrade to Goudy.

Aragon invests $5 million in facility renovation and upgrades.
The restrooms have been significantly upgraded, street-level cement and tile flooring has been restored, much painting of the intricate interior decorations has been completed. And plans call for sanding and refinishing of the dance floor - once a 3-week gap in scheduled performances can be arranged. This neighborhood jewel is being well-cared-for by its new owners.

City's new zoning reform ordinances have passed and will go into effect in November.
There is a process for mapping zoning designations from the old ordinance to new. Each alderman will then review the new suggested mapping and make alterations. Alderman Smith will work with each block club in her ward, as well as UCC, the Chamber and UPCORP. We are not yet sure how Alderman Shiller will want to handle.

The liquor license moratorium areas will need to be re-examined as part of this process. UCC expects to bring together both aldermen, the affected block clubs, the Chamber and UPCORP for a single discussion.

The Sheridan Park overlay district for building set-backs remains in effect under the new zoning ordinance. Previously passed vote-dry areas will remain in effect. They are not altered by the new zoning ordinance.

DEVELOPMENT RUMORS (please note these are unconfirmed rumors; please treat as such)

Small condo development planned for former Weiss Hospital lot.
Local developer, Sean Derrig, has purchased the vacant lot at Clarendon and Eastwood. This property is in the Lakefront Protection District. Rumors are for a three-story condo development of around 16 units, one of which would voluntarily be set-aside for the Affordable Condo program. Sean has created some very attractive developments in Buena Park and we expect the tradition will continue into the Lake Side area.

Vietnamese Association may be interested in new development on its parking lot on Kenmore near Argyle.
This property is in the 48th Ward and any future development plans will receive consideration by the local block clubs before moving forward.

New owner of V&T car lot at Broadway and Ainslie interested in mixed-use development at the site. Is exploring purchasing and razing of seven vintage rowhomes along Ainslie.
There are historic preservation issues with such a proposal, as well as land use considerations. This portion of Ainslie is a narrow residential street, and it serves as a loading dock for Sun Center. Many obstacles would have to be over-come for a development of this magnitude to receive approval.

Buddhist Temple at Leland and Racine may be for sale.
Rumors are the buildings would be available for razing and subsequent new development, although the church would want new space within the development for continuing operations. Close proximity to this church (and therefore unavailability of a liquor license) appears to be the reason full-service restaurants have not opened at the Goldblatt's development. The same problem would exist if the Buddhist Temple would sell and remain as a tenant.

Holsten Real Estate Development may be interested in converting Uptown Theatre into a mixed-use entertainment and artist-housing development.
Dozens of interested parties have come forward in the 20+ years this theatre has been boarded up. Artist housing is a new twist. Holsten has been involved in some creative projects in the past, but this would take the cake. Stay tuned.

OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD MATTERS

SouthEast Asia Center is seeking community support for its charter school proposal.
UCC is seeking community members with interest in educational matters to help review this charter school proposal. Please contact the UCC at 773-338-7141 if you can participate in an ad hoc committee to consider the charter school proposal.

The Green Mill and the city's Department of Cultural Affairs are planning an Uptown Jazz Festival for 2005 and forward.
Preliminary plans are to hold a weekend jazz fest. Broadway would be closed from Lawrence to Gunnison. Performance venues would include outdoor stages and the Green Mill club. Sounds exciting!

Carmella's Taqueria opens.
Many residents have commented on the attractive new interior, reasonable prices and great food at this restaurant on Lawrence, west of Broadway.

Tweet receives Chicago Magazine new restaurant award.
And it appears the liquor license problems are close to resolution. Many thanks to owner Michelle Fire for her perseverance and entrepreneurship.

Haymarket Center expands HIV/homeless services into Uptown location.
The outpatient facility is located at Lawrence and Sheridan. Programming addresses issues of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

Uptown Walking Tours are being conducted by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and the Chicago Architectural Foundation.
Please see calendar on UCC's website for dates.

Free passes to many of Chicago's Museums are available at local library branches.
The passes are good for one week and are good for the Adler Planetarium, Art Institute, Children's Museum, Historical Society, DuSable Museum, Field Museum, Mexican Fine Arts Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Science and Industry, Nature Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. A very nice, well-kept secret.

Catalogue is available describing early childhood resources.
State Senator Ronen, Alderman Smith and the Early Childhood Network have worked together to publish a guide of programs and resources available for young children. It focuses on Edgewater and Rogers Park, however, most of the programs are applicable to Uptown parents and their children. Drop in Alderman Smith's office at 5533 N. Broadway to receive your copy.


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