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Rahm, Irene, Soldier Field and Positive Loitering

26 Aug

As the end of the summer begins to ramp up, we say good buy to the fighter jets in the sky, take a brief look at newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first 100 days in office, follow Irene’s East coast tour, check-in with The Bears and remind neighbors of the Thorndale Positive Loitering tonight!

The Mayor has cut spending ($75m his first day) worked on public schools, briefly touched on TIF reform, ridden the L, increased property taxes and reclaimed his old house. We hope he continues to focus on JOBS and keep people from leaving this great city. We’ll leave the criticisms for another time or another blog…

Across the country, our friends on the east coast continue to anger Mother Earth and she’s not taking it anymore with an earthquake and now IRENE!

Meanwhile at the Bear’s home, people forgot that grass needs water. We hope the team’s management doesn’t forget this about their players! Go Bears!

Finally, and perhaps most important, the Thorndale Action Taks Force is meeting tonight at 8pm at the corner of Thorndale and Broadway. Hope to see you all there!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

 

 

Rental Market BOOM!

18 Aug

Recent stories in the Huffington Post and and the Sun Times illustrate what’s already been talked about for some time now. The Chicago Rental Market is booming.

As banks have refused to loan money and mortgage companies have tightened restrictions on getting home loan without putting 20% down, Chicagoans have found that buying a condo is no longer feasible. Instead they are looking to rentals and developer’s are paying attention.

Most recently a developer has purchased the Waterview Tower on Wacker Drive and plans to turn it into luxury condos. You know, the one that’s been half finished for three years now due to the recession.

Projects like this are sprouting up all over the city and Edgewater is no different. Here in East Edgewater, along Sheridan we have a prime location and it remains very important that as property owners invested in our neighborhood, we take an interest in development that could have a big impact on the character of our neighborhood. Let’s make sure we don’t create an urban canyon on the north side of the city.

Afternoon Links and Happenings

16 Aug

Living in such a great and vibrant city like Chicago means that things are constantly happening. This is one reason why we live here. The ‘Burbs can often be boring and eerily quiet after a while but sometimes there’s a happy medium. Edgewater is just that. We’re not Lincoln Park or downtown and we’re not Skokie. It is because of this that we enjoy our neighborhood and want to protect its character and balance. In the meantime, here are some links to what’s been going on around us…

The Wilson L Stop gets voted the worst in the city AGAIN!

The Edgewater Branch Library gets a boost from the city with a $1.13 million TIF contribution. The project is on W. Elmdale.

Lincoln Park Children’s Hospital begins moving forward after McCaffrey Interests, Inc beat out seven other bids to buy the site.

Downtown River Walk vs. Bloomingdale Trail

 

What determines a ‘high-rise’?

8 Aug

Sheridan road certainly has its share of high-rise buildings and this blog certainly believes that it has ENOUGH high-rise buildings in the Edgewater neighborhood, but what do we mean when we say ‘high-rise’. Here’s a great definition from dictionary.com:

Adj. 1. high-rise– used of buildings of many stories equipped with elevators; tall; “avenues lined with high-rise apartment buildings”

low-rise – used of buildings of one or only a few stories and usually no elevator; low; “looking out over the roofs of low-rise apartment buildings”

High-rises also mean high density, congestion, financially risky (at this economic stage), traffic, shadow impacts, and if we’re talking rental high-rises, it’s safe to say that people will be less invested in the neighborhood. All of these descriptions are of course negative because in Edgewater, another tower would really have a negative impact on our neighborhood. It’s already stop and go when trying to get on Lake Shore Drive or west to Clark Street, more cars and people stacked on top of each other will only mean more of an already unacceptable situation.

We can have development without excess!

Thanks again to everyone who continues to support this blog and retweet us, and sign our petition. Your participation is continuing to protect Sheridan Road!

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

3 Aug

President Obama is coming to town tonight and its unclear what effects this will have on our commutes and road accesses. Some say it will be a nightmare while others think it will be a blip on the radar. Regardless, we wish the president a happy 50th from “Protect Sheridan Road!” (yes we know his real birthday is tomorrow)

In other news it appears the proposed 49 story building at Clark and Hubbard that was initially set to break ground in October is now looking at a September start time. Curbed Chicago reported on it earlier today. Although this massive building is miles and miles from Edgewater, it’s worth noting the eagerness of developers to get their projects underway. It also demonstrates a real or perceived demand for high-rise rentals.

Below is a recent development update photo from our neighbor, The Admiral and their current construction status. Enjoy your sunlight and vacant lots for now, the high rises are coming!

Chicago Casino?

29 Jul

It’s been talked about for quite a while but the idea of a large casino coming to our fare city has garnered more attention recently with budget short falls and the Mayor saying publicly that he supports the ‘idea’ of a casino in Chicago. Recently, the Tribune put out an interesting article discussing more of the specifics of a casino and perhaps what it would need to entail to be economically viable.

In short, their point is that a major casino requires constant traffic to be profitable. In order to garner that traffic, the casino must provide additional attractions such as world class restaurants, incredible theater performances and the classic gimmicks like magic shows and circus acts. Essentially, a casino needs to create a mini-city within our city in order to keep the money flowing to the slots and craps tables.

It’s an interesting observation and certainly raises some serious concerns about what might happen to our own world class restaurants and theaters. What’s worse is that in addition to these real concerns are the classic casino problems like crime, traffic, noise, and degenerate gamblers.

Still, there are places across the country where doom and destruction were predicted but after completion few of the prophecies came true. Regardless of your owner personal biases one of the first and perhaps most important questions that must be answered is WHERE would such a casino go?

What say you?

IT’s NOT THE HEAT IT’S THE HUMIDITY

21 Jul

The lake breeze at times over the past week has probably been a godsend for many in the neighborhood. If you only live a few blocks off the water it can really make a difference in temperatures. What’s interesting is that the farther you move inland, the hotter it gets. A few days ago it was 91 on Ashland but 82 on Sheridan…why? The answer is no surprise. The buildings act as a wind buffer and block the cool lake breeze from flowing inland. Just another think to think about as developers eye properties in our neighborhood for more high rise development!

In other development news:

Interesting Wal-Mart opinion piece.

Thoughtful look at big box type stores and what happens when they are abandoned.

Positive news from Lolapalooza.

 

STAY COOL EVERYONE!!

Air Rights and High Rises

16 Jul

 

I was watching an old CNBC show about Donald Trump last week and it discusses Trump Towers in New York and how he bought the air rights from Tiffany’s in order to build his massive towers over looking Central Park. It got us to thinking here at ‘Protect Sheridan Road’ about air rights and building as of right. The site on Sheridan Road near Foster could see a massive high rise of 10, 20 or even 40 stories without really having to get input from the neighbors it will dramatically impact.

A building of that size CANNOT BE BUILT on that site! The good news is that our Alderman, Harry Osterman along with residents can put a height restriction on this property so that a development can go in that will have a positive impact on our neighborhood. Let him hear it!

Parklets!?

13 Jul

In the current economy there are vacant lots throughout the city waiting exclusively for a developer to come along and plop another building on them. However, in reading an old NYT article it’s clear that such pieces of property are ripe for alternative uses!

One such solution put forth is the idea of a ‘parklet’ or small neighborhood park. In the case of Edgewater, even with the shore so close we could definitely use a dog park or playground along Sheridan Road! Alternatively we could turn the area near Foster into a community garden area! The possibilities areĀ  limitless! I know this may sound crazy but why not? Even if it is just temporary.

Chicago Landmarks misses the mark

9 Jul

Last week several outlets put out stories on how transparent the mayor was in appointing new members of the Chicago Landmark’s commission that failed to meet any type of relevant qualifications for a position that will truly help shape our architectural future.

The Tribune drew the obvious conclusions to the Mayor’s former boss and his ties to the new appointees. But more tragic that blatant political nepotism is the loss the city will feel in the hands of people that likely have no understanding of our architectural history. These days we will destroy anything if it means making jobs and or bringing in future revenue for the city.

It is up to the Landmark’s Commission to put its foot down in certain circumstances in order to preserve our history which will help to develop the future of Chicago. There’s enough vacant land throughout the city to meet demand for new projects. Let’s keep those structures that are significant.