Development Hot Topics
Projects including Harper Court, Community Planning, Growth Management and Preservation issues

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Return links: Home. Hot Topics home. Site contents. DEVELOPMENT PORTAL NAVIGATOR- to all we have on the subject.
The other Hot Topics Community Issues sections: Accessibility. Affordability. Development General Discussions. Quality. Schools. University of Chicago
53rd Street. Harper Court. 53rd TIF. City Hyde Park (51st/Lake Park). Antheus. Business. Woodlawn Ave and UC PD 43 and city MOU.

Changes coming citywide.
Report on HPKCC May 6 2012 53rd Zoning forum
Boutique Hotel 53rd and Dorchester- expected to start construction late March 2017
Trauma Center and $229 M UC expansion approved by Ill Commision May 10 2016.
Michael Reese advisory committee formed

Link to the U of C- City of Chicago Memorandum of Understanding 2016 version regarding esp. infrastructure improvements:

(does not include Exhibits A (Major Projects of UC) or C (City undertakings). Exhibit B, UC Medicine community programs has an internal link give.)
The text does not mention Nichols Park (apparently tables do) but does ref. redevelopment of the Stony Island Corridor 56th to 67th, Garfield Corridor and 55th St. Cottage to the Lake, and 63rd St. Most significant is commitment to form a Midway Plaisance Working Group for "ongoing maintenance and timely repairs" to the Midway and to work with Metra (including for reactivating the 60th St. exit. There is also talk of extending Enterprise Zone 6 to the UC area for HP and Woodlawn business.

June 14, 2017 a public meeting was held to introduce a Phase 2 buildout of Harper Court. Polsky Center will expand and include both fabrication and office spaces for post-startup enterprises and for business/ corporations seeking proximiity to the innnovation center, as well as pop up and other additional retail. Idtwill include 16 stories built upon the north platform on Lake Park (north of the tall UC building) and a short building replacing the Park 52 building and (it was unclear) atop the north block of Harper Court stores. Parking will be expanded. Reception was mixed, with business being enthusiastic both in general and because this would increase denisty and keep growing firms from relocating out of Hyde Park. Some persons preferred these firms be dispersed through the South Side. Others worried about traffic and other congestion and density. Some wanted the change to fix problems with Harper Court and urged more opportunities for small local businesses. Also noted was that the original concept for a phase 2 was that it be for housing, particularly affordable housing. The teams will be coming back frequently with updates and for input. No TIF subsidy is asked.

Approved: 53rd Cornell tower, Boutique hote at 53rd and Dorchester.

The latest iteration of Solstice on the Park, 1634 E. 56th St, 56th and Cornell ne corner, Planned Dev. 282, was approved by the Chicago Plan Commission and Zoning Commission and City Council - well under construction in early 2017.

Windermere House – no changes

5528-32 S Cornell – reserve the 53 dwelling units for affordable housing

Solstice Building - 33 feet closer to 56th street and right up to Cornell; no hotel

Construct no fewer than 316 parking spaces (in a larger parking building including underground so 15 feet shorter; a fitness room and two possible retail shops, along with a private drive along the front south face of the building that provides the entrance and exit to the parking garage. )

Construct no more than 250 dwelling units (original condo plan had 153 larger-sized units)

The plan will have a full complement of trees along 56th (excepting at the Com Ed vault an entrance.

The maximum height will remain at 299 feet

Over 1 M was invested in Bret Harte School's new drives and parking, playground and other improvements.

Special Service District 61 Commission meets 3RD WEDNESDAYS at Polsky 1452 E. 53rd except evening mtgs at Hyatt Place Chicago, conference room on 5225 S. Harper Ave. Meetings are open to the public. 2 meetings a quarter are at 11 am and the third at 7 pm.

Michael Reese adv. council announced by Ald. King March 2017.

As Alderman, I am an advocate for community engagement and transparency in any decision that has long range implications for our community. To that end, I am forming a community advisory council that will help review the submitted Request For Proposals (RFPs) for the Michael Reese site.

If you are interested in participating in this committee, I asked that you submit the following material:

Statement of Interest
Two letters of reference

The following background is desired:

Active participation in community organization(s)
Background in economic/commercial development
Experience in some aspect of community development
Residency in the Fourth Ward

No potential conflicts of interest (i.e. plans to bid or employed by someone who plans to bid)

The final date to submit the material above will be on March 10, 2017. Please submit all material to or by mail/in person at the Fourth Ward Service Office, located at 435 E. 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616.

For additional information, please call 773-536-8103.

The committee is a volunteer position; no compensation will be provided.

Thank you for taking interest in participating in this historic process. I look forward to reading your submissions. Your input will help guide the development of the Michael Reese site and will have lasting implications for our community.



Transportation and parking are important to our business and community and development and safety- SECC and an advisory council, funded by U of C, contracted with TY Linn to conduct a study. The findings and strategies were unveiled at the July 24 2014 TIF meeting. Findings have implications for planned and future develppments Next steps and actions will be worked out by SECC, meetings with the city, and public forums. Find the report and Power Point in This site will summarize key findings in our Parking page and Transitweb home. Meanwhile the SSA 61 is eyeing a business district trolley for pilot in November.

Boutique Hotel 53rd/Dorchester. Follow up was held December 15 2015 aAnd Februay 25 2016 announcing several tweaks. Filing started January 13. The city required teh firt floor to have 2 more feet in height resulting in a building height of 79 feet. Total including mechanicals is 90. The team has incorporated just about all that is possible to handle contractor parking and work conditions, traffic and serice movement, rodent control, and more tres anshrubs than required, including continuous rather than well provision for trees. Depending on city aprovals, construction could start between summer and late fall.

July 28 2015 Smart Hotels and partners (including the management of Hyatt Hyde Park) announced at the 5th Ward monthly meeting, concepts for a boutique ACE Hotel at the southeast corner of 53rd and Dorchester, replacing a UC housing parking lot and UC Police station. It would take advantage of Transit Oriented Development Ordinance height exception to build a 6 or 7 story structure c 75 feet as a planned development. There was both enthusiastic support and concerns about effects including of a restaurant traffic and parinign ned. Althugh parking is not needed in a TOD development, there will be direct and vallet parking in the Harper Court parking garage. There were no rendering yet available. More meetings, and hearings will be held. There was also some exasperation about piecemeal development on 53rd without an overall and capacity plan. A follow up with changes and first design was held October 29.

Hpkcc is very interested in resolution of the issues surrounding preservation of the FL Wright Blossom and MacArthur houses in Kenwood (esp. interiors) and vetting of proposals for a restoration with commercial use such as a bed & breakfast. (We hosted a public forum.) VISIT OUR HOME PAGE FOR INFORMATION. Also visit the site of a ad hoc group exploring solutions-, where there is an online petition for those in favor of preserving.
The houses were purchased for residences, but it is uncertain whether each or both will be histrorically renovated.

A rising issue is affordability, especially for retail, and the right retail balance. Good article in the March 24, 2014 Tribune.

Visit McMobil page on how that is progressing and controversies, TIF Advisory Council Meetings page on other actions taken. Lawsuit decision against neighbors was again denied on appeal, upholding dismissal on technicality.

For CARRD call 773-609-9406 Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn.
Flyer with CARRD's position

Solstice revived.

As discussed with Peter Cassel at the November 5, 2015 HPKCC board meetin- project revised and going forward.

Peter Cassel of MAC Properties et al, adt teh November 5 HPKCC board meeting, discussed and answered questions on the proposed Solstice on the Park development on the northwest corner of 56th and Cornell Ave. Basics: The project is in request for amendment to planned development and will be a slightly smaller and shorter (25 stories) version of the original design. It will be a rental building without a hotel and with the parking partly underground so that the parking structure (now detached) will be only 3 stories above ground with 216 parking spaces including for the building north of Solstice, and the Windermere. There will be 250 apartments with rents starting about $1,800 for a one-bedroom and topping at $4,500 for some 4-bedrooms. The building to the north (52 units) will be affordable and rent-frozen in perpetuity. Hope is for construction to start in 3rd quarter 2016 and to take two years, except the parking garage, which will be built first. Accommodations for Bret Harte school are complete. Concern was expressed about renters in the affordable building, citing past experience—Cassel cited experience with current affordable properties and use of proper screening and management to expectations.
He said City Hyde Park is renting well; three large retail spaces are leased plus Regis office rentals and there will be small retail on the Harper side.

As discussed with Peter Cassel of Antheus/Silliman/MAC at the Feb 2015 HPKCC board meeting.

Solstice development at 56th and Cornell- Peter Cassel for Antheus/Silliman Group/MAC. Properties.
Background: Antheus has about 100 buildings and 4,500 apartments in Hyde Park-Kenwood, all rental, and with a high occupancy rate. Its larger new or renovated developments include Del Prado, Shoreland, and City Hyde Park (which will have a Whole Foods and. he announced, a Marshall's).

Antheus intends to move ahead on the project, using essentially the LEED design of Studio Gang (CEO Jeannie Gang) and height (24 stories), although the change to rental configuration and numbers of units may cause it to be narrowed and the parking addition larger and with a conference center/ballroom deck. Market demand analysis prompted the change from condos to rental. The number of units, if an all-apartment building would go from c150 to as many as 250.

Preferred plan- 2/3 rental with c.200 units, other third a hotel with 130 or so units. Alternate, if the additional approvals for hotel were too costly or lengthy would be a c.250 unit rental building.

After public and stakeholder meetings, they would like to file an amended Planned Development (PUD) document within 4-6 months and start the process for zoning and planning approvals-- amendment and zoning are necessary anyway and the building size and height are beyond what current zoning allows. A hotel would need a liquor license.

They have an affordable component agreement with Coalition for Equitable Community Development, but that would be revisited because ordinances have been passed-- and a new one is proposed, and the number of units is greater.

Questions and concerns: Need to take care with parking and service entry and esp. egress- cars shoot out, and better lighting is needed. Congestion is already high at times including on Cornell, 56th, 56th-Stony-Lake Park convergence, and there are adjacent playgrounds and school; Bret Harte still closes off 56th St. part of the day. (Cassel said a traffic study is now underway, including understanding how the school drop-off works.)

Can the shadow effect be mitigated. (That varies by time of day and season and moves around).

The unit sizes? Most are one or two bedroom with some studios and three bedrooms. Rents when it opens will be market rate, higher than at the Shoreland and comparable to City Hyde Park.

Hotel ? (MAC would own it, a hotel company would run it- probably a soft brand (i.e. not Marriott) which gives more flexibility.
The hotel is not dependent upon or related to a Presidential Library, which would follow years later.)

All are invited to the public presentation and discussion Tuesday, February 10, 6 pm at Piccolo Mondo, 1642 E. 56th St. Cassel will also present at the February 9 Jackson Park AC 7 pm at 6401 stony Island and hold resident and stakeholder meetings.

55th Streetscape Masterplan advances with visualizations at 2nd meeting

As at the Feb. 2015 HPKCC board meeting. 55th Street Streetscape Master Plan. CDOT (Chicago Department of Transportation) held a well-attended January 29 public meeting. Trish Morse reported on details of problems and provisionally-offered fixes for this near mile and a half stretch. The CDOT presentation is online at Comments can be submitted to, 312-744-3100. Morse pointed out that while many innovative improvements are offered with emphasis on making the experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists more safe and calme, others that would seem obvious cannot be made because of space and other limits. Also, there is no budget or funding for any work at present.

THE STATE FIRE INSPECTOR DROPPED HIS PROPOSAL FOR SPRINKLER AND OTHER RETROFITS, at least for now-- the public was heard loud and clear.
( Alarm has been sounded over the state's fire marshal's determination to require retrofitting of buildings with sprinklers and other life-safety devices. The legislature could act to stop. There will be dispute as to whether the city ordinance supersedes Rep. Currie thinks the city overrides and there is no state legislation. )
Note- all new buildings above a certain height or units and all that undergo over 1/2 rehab do have to have sprinklers under city ordinance. Visit the Sprinklers page.

CITY ENERGY BENCHMARK PROP. ORD. - ANOTHER MANDATE FOR LARGE BLDGS. WAS DEFERRED AND PUBLISHED TO SEPT. BY THE COMMITEE AND CITY COUNICIL. Hairston and other lakefront ald (except Burns and Moore) supported the deferral. This is thought by many not so bad except 1) possibility that it could be used as excuse for future expensive mandates, 2) potential for abuse including in competition between buildings.

Lower cost energy solar installations offered.

The city of Chicago has teamed up with San Francisco-based Vote Solar and Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center to speed up rooftop solar installations in Chicago through 2014 summer at 25% under market rate. Funding comes from a World Wildlife Fund grant and is contracted wththe two nfps listed avbove. A commitee led by Vote Solar selected Juhl Renewable Energy Systems, Microgrid Solar, Ailey Solar and Kapital Electric to do the insallations under financing to homowers through Admirals Bank. Cost to the homeowner varies according to size but should be $3.49 per watt. REGISTER at

McMobil (Vue 53) update August 2013

The following appears to have been put out by South East Chicago Commission. Here it is a paraphrase of as from 1537 News.

1. Mobil station closes Aug. 12

2. tank et al removal starts Aug. 13

3. parking lot to east remains in public use as is

4. expect traffic tie ups all along 53rd, esp. until Harper Court is further along

5. Pedestrians use south sidewalk on 53rd near the project

6. 250+ rental units (upscale) and 220 parking spaces

7. The project uses no TIF money or public subsidy and may bring $7.7 million in

8. Retail space- is limited, those interested should contact the developer now

9. construction of the new building will start early 2014

10. questions-, (including for contacting).

The UC now has the Starbucks building (Avignon closing) and kitty-corner- Lake Beauty moving out.

47th-Cottage: Shops and Lofts at 47th had its groundbreaking April 2 2013. Leads are Quad Communities Development Corporation, Ald. Will Burns, and the site's TIF and SSA. a Wall-Mart grocery will anchor. completion is expected in 2014.

47th Lake Park (Tennis/La Fitness). The future of this site is still up in the air. Xs Tennis has made a deal with CHA to develop a "tennis village" at 51st and State on a cleared Robert Taylor Homes site. A major reason is need for more space, but there was uncertainty about the site with LA Fitness leaving. LA Fitness is moving to Harper Court. The medical offices, when last contacted said they have a long-term lease and do not plan to more. (At least one- independent? medical office did move.)

Link to the UC Planned Dev. for 5201 S. Cottage Grove:

Link to the Mesa/UC Planned Dev. for 1300 block of 53rd St.: See also, adding v1/share to contact.

Hyde Park Village- approved by city including splitting the site off into its own TIF. In July 2013, the state (Ill Dept. Commerce adn Econ. Opp) approved to include the site in Enterprise Zone 6, which provides eligibility for many tax exemptions during construction. Next steps are issuance of the building permits and securing the last pieces of financing, after which construction will start. Completion is still expected by late 2015.

THE ZONING CHANGE WAS DONE BUT THE PETITION TO "UN-DRY" THE PRECINCT WAS TURNED DOWN BY CITY CLERK LATE MARCH BECAUSE THE BOUNDARIES WERE INACCURATELY DESCRIBED, in effect agreeing with the lawsuit filed by Thomas Penales and Jane Averrill March 22. The petitio wil hvae to be cirulated again. The denied petition got 60 of 79 registered voters (53 required for a flat overturn of the dry condition), thoughthe lawsuit also said there were invalid signatures. The lawsuit filers complained that the University was hasty and underhanded in handling of this and that it is proposing much too much too fast without either a general plan for 53rd St. or the university revealing its overall plan.
The proposal to make space for Merges Co. Yoshu Restaurant 1) was shown in an article in the Maroon's Grey City Journal to be after the University would not negotiate with Robust Cafe or others to come to the former Third World Cafe site and 2) somehow neglected to reveal that he space is in dry precinct. Peculiarities of owner vs rental property in the precinct allowed the University to gather a limited number of signatures (2/3 being required) so that after a waiting period the original "dry" vote was overturned. This may not be the last word.

SSA proposed, centered on 53rd St. See page.

In November, City Council approved the ordinance for the City Hyde Park development and to split it off into its own TIF. In Jan 2013 the council approved letter of support for $11 million transfer and to include the site in the #6 (47th Lake Park) Empowerment Zone.


Ald. Burns told the meeting he supports the revised proposal as approved by the Chicago Community Development Council and the TIF council.

Peter Cassel, lead spokesman for the team, said that financing and other considerations require the project be done in one phase, with the tall building moved near the Lake Park-E. Hyde Park corner, but still physical option to build and another tower at the northwest. Thus 13 stories of residential above the retail base at this corner rather than 10 and rather than c23 at the now discontinued northeast tower. Preference in design and some public comment was also have the various traffic and density on the auto-centric Lake Park and leave Harper Ave. small retail and (between the site and Harper Court) residential, and Lake Park will have the best views. An importatn attactor will also be that is designed by Jeanne Gang's firm, which inter alia was featured in an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Also as a consequence of financial and single-phase re figuration, the tower, though 3 stories higher than that tower was to have been, will have smaller (less bedroom units) but still the 182 units planned, of which 38 will be affordable (rent that can be afforded by those earning as low as 60% of metro region median income), and throughout with A and B accessibility. The development will still have 120,000 sf retail (a bit more spread out) and on two floors and 350 parking spaces. (There was some concern that the downsizing of apartments leaves this project not contributing rental spaces for large families, who mainly have to buy rather than rent in HPK- Cassel felt this project would make no difference in that). A model of the project and retail is on display in an Art Institute exhibit fall 2012. This tower is far from the highest in the vicinity. There will be buyable, deedable parking. Touted was 200 or so construction jobs, of which 50%+ must be Chicago, and they are committed to high MWB jobs and enterprises. About 100 retail jobs will result. The enticing of Whole Foods was called a game changer that will bring more options in even if it is pricey, and they are optimistic about bringing in apparel and housegoods options. They feel they are at least providing complete accessory parking (for all needs of the development), not park-and-ride, and there will be retail validated parking. It will be Silver LEED rated including gardens throughout the roofs (to go Golden or Platform added too much cost)

Cassel explained that for 182 units, 12,000 sf retail and 350 parking spaces (underground), the original financing was $145M cost, $100M being hardcost and was to be in two phases. Antheus equity would be $22M, $88M loan, c$15M federal new market credits- to which was added need for $15 from the TIF. Financiers said the $15 was not feasible at least from the old TIF and wanted a single phase, and there was a community call for community benefits.

In the re-thought project, there will be a single, still angularity designed, 16 story (13 residential) tower (187 ft high) near the northeast corner but set back some from the sidewalk-- in fact so set back all around the development. Income will be lost from fewer and smaller apartments, but the cost of additional floors of the eliminated second tower will be saved. The ground floor will be mostly Whole Foods except along Harper Ave. The second floor will have apparel and house goods stores.

The total cost is now $114 rather than $145.
Antheus supplies $8.5 M in non-cash equity plus $26.5 M in cash equity-- value $35 M. (It was not clear to this writer whether the previously stated $22 M was cash or total equity, and so whether Antheus's input is going up or down.)
$80 for loans, credits and TIF-- $6 M in construction loans, $11 M in new market tax credits, and 11.3 from the TIF.
The TIF total generated value will be c$14 M in 2012 dollars of which contribution to the Project will now be $11.3 rather than $15. $2.5 million is expected to be available for non-project community beefits. That is, the development will pay out from minimum of $1.3 M to $1.8M annual taxes (apart from the $100,000 in non-tif real estate taxes that stay c. the same); annualized value in incremental taxes is $1.4. This will leave a total for community improvements of $2.4 during the life of the TIF for school,s infrastructure, etc. This will become gradually available on a rising scale., averaging 300, 400,000 a year [which the 53rd St. TIF does not have left.] The TIF can decide whether to use this as it comes into the fund or to borrow against it for one or more improvements.

The timetable is pushed back a bit- Agreements etc. is being worked out now, things physically start in the first quarter of 2013, completion of financing and city agreements in the first half, build up in the second quarter, shel done and being turned over and leased by fall 2014, and being occupied early 2015 into 2016.

Some thoughts on the Oct. 15 4th Ward meeting on 53rd St. and other matters.

At the end of the meeting, there was an overlaying discussion of possibilities of a special taxing district that could answer complaints during the Theater presentation (by the 400 New person (Mr. Fox)) -- complaints being that one of the problems of the former theater was mess and rats, Ald. Burns saying a SSA could bring back something like Cleanslate, and parking (the criticism from some attendees to every agenda item) with the Ald. saying a main purpose of an SSA would be to have trolleys and other ways to move people on 53rd with fewer cars. An interesting thing proposed was having parking on either end of 53rd and trolleys going back and forth. This in turn was tied into controversy over the one of the two new restaurants-- the one where Third World Cafe was, with several people trying to say that 53rd from Kenwood to Woodlawn is "residential" and its residential character would be destroyed by re-zoning the University's Third World/Barbara Currie etc. building at Kimbark. (The restaurant seemed to this reporter GMO to be rather small and modest and with only ancillary liquor, not the maximum usage the new zoning would allow.) The upshot is that there will be a neighbors meeting with Mr. Merges and the Alderman about these changes. (Mr. Merges' other restaurant will be in the Theater-Herald bldg. Harper corner.)
The theater's plans looked really interesting and present plans met with no criticism except for not providing their own parking when Harper Court seems to add little parking beyond for its own needs. They promised to have a thorough program for cleaning up around the outside.

There was really little discussion of SSA, just as something the Ald. is going to propose. And PPA refers to the Place of Public Amusement tax that the Theater will have to pay. Ald. Burns said that that day United Church had agreed to furnish a letter of support that will allow the theater and its neighbors to seek ancillary-use liquor licenses (that is, not as taverns).

There was a very contentious opposition to expanding Ancona School and its drop off, with others supporting the school-- about half the overcrowd was there for that. I arrived from our meeting about half way through the Ancona discussion and missed the presentation.


Work started on Becker-Friedman Institute December 2012.

The University of Chicago applied in November 2012 for demolition permits for the appartment building where Ronald Regan lived at ages 3-4. It went into the mandatory 60 day hold and comment period for Orange-rated structures in the Historic Survey.

Not coming to Harper Court... Closing January 9- Park 52, which was an early trophy development by the University at Harper Court. This highly prized restaurant says it succombed to the recession and other problems- certainly including its isolation by construction and need to rely on valet parking, at which many people going to expensive restaurants balk. Believed-to-be-reliable information also indicates the UC/Harper Court lessors could or would not offer space at anything like what such a restaurant can pay, which could bode further problems with major new developments in this area.

Coming in 2013 to join Akira clothing in the former Borders, 1539 E. 53rd St." The Promontory-- music club, bar and hearth-centered restaurant. Owners: Bruce Finkelman (Empty Bottle, Longman & Eagle, Beauty Bar) and Craig Golden (SPACE, UNION, Longman and Eagle). Chef: Jared Wentworth (who has earned Michelin stars two years in a row for Longman and Eagle). SPACE and Empty Bottle are hopping folk, avant-garde, and pop venues.
Also joining Akira and Promontory in the former Borders will be CorePower Yoga (above Akira) in mid 2013.

Longman & Eagle Team
Opening The Promontory
in Hyde Park in Early 2013
Hyde Park is about to get a shot in the arm when the Promontory, a new restaurant, bar and concert venue, opens in early 2013.
Even more exciting is the team behind the project: Longman & Eagle owners Bruce Finkelman (Empty Bottle, Bite Cafe), Craig Golden (Evanston's Space and Union Pizza) and chef Jared Wentworth will helm the kitchen.

At this point, much of the details, including the type of cuisine, have not yet been revealed. But seeing as L&E is Michelin-starred and Wentworth has been much heralded, it stands that this new restaurant, with a "hearth-driven kitchen," will likely gain a lot of attention. Should we expect a lot of grilled and smoked meats?

The Promontory, named for the nearby Promontory Point in Lake Michigan, is set to be part of the 53rd Street revitalization project, which already has a new Clarke's diner and Five Guys Burgers, and adjacent Harper Court project.
The addition of another quality restaurant attached to a music venue, will not only give South Siders (in particular University of Chicago folk) a place to hang, it could help make the area more of a destination.

February, 2013 The Shoreland received Chicago Landmarks designation. This will permit tax credits and completion of renovations and restorations as a viable rental building by Antheus Capital divisions while protecting from demolition or significant alteration.

October 17, 2012 the University held a meeting about its intent to seek another amendment to its PD43 (subsection C) to add two parcels by Cottage Grove and 57th St. and site approval for the proposed 1800 car garage at that corner, with large loading dock underneath. The ground floor and space to the east will be reserved for future medical uses. The building will be 8 stories, with a skybridge and tunnels, and made to look not like a garage. Access will be on Cottage Grove. All codes will be met for landscaping, lighting etc. They will look at the building being open to the public on evenings and weekends, but it is basically for care seekers and providers and related staff. No changes to ratios etc. will be sought when the Ald. introduces the legislation in December. The meeting also provided information on the Center for Care and Discovery, set to open on the south side of 57th St. in February 2013.

2011 was the year in which the University took a more decisive role in development and in shaping the community (and its surrounding 5 communities, perhaps since Urban Renewal, although it a was becoming increasingly activist for over a decade (ranging from new master plans including for South Campus and initiatives in education and health to takeover 55th and north to 61st, Cottage to beyond Ellis, to a dominant role in creating a new 53rd St. and Lake Park, and a push along 58th and Woodlawn. But in 1911 it became clear with start of Harper Court, the theater, and calls for proposals to other locations, the start of the Early Learning Center on Stony Island, Amendment to its PD 43 in part for more density in the west sector, announcement of its first project in the Washington Park neighborhood, more push through affiliates into Woodlawn, and the enormous power and privilege through the Memorandum of Agreement with the city. The PD and its impact on the Woodlawn Ave. corridor led to pushback and controversy. A listing along 53rd alone tells the march of the University: Borders, Harper Court construction and signings, Harper Theater (5 Guys and the Theater), Clarke's, PFQ for McMobil. On its campus, not only are there the suite of Hospital and biomedical/CIS buildings completed or under construction but the planned new Eckhardt research facility (involving a whole new school) and childcare center and the Logan Center for the Arts south of the Midway (added to several recent structures--and at the other end a new CTS building but movement of schools for the disabled to far south on 63rd), but in the transition east side the University was moving forward with conversion of recently-bought Chicago Theological Seminary buildings and the Meadville cluster on Woodlawn. A new store (Seminary Co-op) and cafe complex will be created in the modern seminary building on the block. Various changes to traffic and parking patterns continue or are planned. See more in University Hot Topics.

New on City Hyde Park- see that page.

Find a study/report on creating a vibrant business community in Bronzeville:

Ben Joravsky's op-ed Chicago Reader article on the larger TIF subject- It has references to Harper Court and City Hyde Park.

(53rd and proposed 51st TIFs, Harper Court and Hyatt Hyde Park (Smart/Olympia Hotels) and City Hyde Park subsidy are very hot with a segment of the community and some outside groups. Occupy spin off demonstrations are planned for Harper and Hyatt and various labor and money-to-schools only groups are making the rounds with informationals about all three. Hyde Park Herald editorial asked for examination of ability of the tifs to come up with the public benefits on which the community had originally be sold on tifs, and a letter questioned developers' commitment and care for this neighborhood.) The Herald editorial in the August 1 2012issue said there is now no doubt that the purpose of the 53rd/51st TIFs is now to bring only development. None is left even for CARA streetcleaning and workforce development, nothing for schools, and no infrastructure and parking not directly related to developments. Thus, promises are not fulfilled. The editorial called for the alderman and council to take a pause to evaluate what exactly the TIF is for.

Coming in 2013 to join Akira clothing in the former Borders, 1539 E. 53rd St." The Promontory-- music clug, bar and hearth-centered restaurant. Owners Bruce Finkelman (Empty Bottle, Longman & Eagle, Beauty Bar) and Craig Golden (SPACE, UNION, Longman and Eagle). Chef Jared Wentworth (who has earned Michelin stars two years in a row for Longman and Eagle).

University of Chicago announced that it will be putting student housing in the former American School of Correpondence site at 56th and Stony Island that up to now has house its trades departments.

The city will be coming to a TIF meeting in early-mid fall with firm numbers on impact of a spit off of the City Hyde Park development tax PINS into its own 23-year TIF, how much compensation for lost CHP 2001-present City Hyde Park increment will be needed from CHP owner Silliman/Antheus as compensation to the remaining 53rd TIF, and how the TIFs look financially (including how much might be left over in the 51st.
There has been some dismay over the TIF split (said in part to be because the CHP developer says there is a gap, bankers require a solid, government funding component, and Harper Court has dibs on whatever leftover increment there may be should it be needed, and wanting to spread City Hyde Park subsidy over a new 23 years).
At the same time, there have been objections and rallies asserting the the Hotel component should not be built because school funding is in a terrible crisis and they don't like public money going to developers--it appears this objection is based in part on their belief this goes to the Pritzker family, which both having hotel labor disputes and is heavily involved in Chicago education issues and governance, which are highly politicized and in the midst of union contract negotiations.
(They also claim Hyatt and the Pritzkers do not pay a fair share of taxes-- reality unknown to this writer. This hotel project has set forth a number of things it will do for its workers. It says it will not commit to being unionized before it hires-- and such agreement is something that is seldom done these days.)

This writer (GMO) notes that the developer of the Hotel is not Hyatt but Smart LLC and it will be operated by Olympia companies, which are separate franchises from Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which has no stake in either Smart of Olympia and will not be getting any money from the TIF expenditure, nor will members of the Pritzker family. The Hyatt Corporation of course receives an additional hotel-- as does Hyde Park and anyone using the hotel, plus Hyatt receives leasing money from the Smart and Olympia corporations: including royalties based on revenues equaling from 3% to 5%-- if the gross revenues were 5 1/2 million that would be a little shy of $300,000. Anyone who thinks all that goes to the Pritzker family or any shareholder knows nothing about profit returns in business. If you spend $200 to stay for a night (or buy something in a store) anywhere from 1 to 5% goes to profit to the corporation, and not all of that goes to dividends.

The $5 million from TIF is only a small part of the funding for the hotel construction and backs the construction loans-- it is banks and other backers that have first call on the TIF money and would be stuck if it is insufficient.

Are schools and the other taxing districts (city, parks, county.....) losing out? They continue to get the same tax receipts from the site and the whole TIF they were getting in 2001-- whether there is any development during that time or not. During the life of the TIF they do not get each year's increment over the 23 years-- that is set aside for approved TIF expenditures and expenses, or may be declared surplus and taken, as some from the overall city TIF pool has been, for various taxing bodies including schools (but to the knowledge for this writer not from the 53rd TIF because its monies were committed before the surplus declared). The money coming into the 53rd and most other TIFs has been slowing dramatically in recent years (see Hyde Park Herald articles in summer of (f2012) but there is still sizeable increment. Once the Harper Court, Harper Theater, former Borders and other expected developments are done and online, the property value in the TIF will be dramatically larger, especially for Harper Court) and assessments thereon will be dramatically, maybe Harper Court and City Hyde Park for its proposed TIF five times higher? than present and certainly 2001 assessment even with changes countywide in weighting of different kinds of property. So when the 53rd TIF expires, the schools and taxing bodies will start getting a much higher amount of taxes (and if there were no development a somewhat higher amount of taxes) plus any monies left unused/uncommitted in the TIF's fund. So, the development results in a lot more for the schools than any that goes to Hyatt or Pritzkers.

In recent years, the TIF expended on the two schools (not seven!) that are in the TIF- Kenwood and Canter. Many wish it had been more, and that more could have been spent on other improvements including in parks in the TIF, and that Cleanslate had been kept going. And, with the commitment to Harper Court no more will be. It could be pointed out that it would have been irresponsible for the TIF to not do what TIFs do best and this one was at least partially meant to do--improve the capacity and value of the commercial district and simultaneously increasing the tax base for schools etc. for from when it expires. But the new 51st TIF (new 23 years) may provide a second chance (via portability) to provide those extra benefits including to the two schools, although the schools (ie CPS including other 5 schools in HPK) and other taxing bodies will have to forego the increased increment until 23 years have passed. If the argument is that providing public money for development should not also result in private gains, that's is one of the main way the whole country has been built, even though one can argue that such piling on of debt is unsustainable if value leveraged and created does not maintain a consistent ratio or the development cannot be supported by the shoppers, renters etc.

Harper Court Signed tenants:
LA Fitness
Chipotle restaurant (earlier)
(the next 3 September 2012) Park Restaurant (one in Rosemont, not Park 52.
Ja' Grill (one on Armitage in Lincoln Park.
Starbucks (whether replacing the one at 53rd and Harper not known)

The city was to come to the TIF meeting September 10 2012 with firm numbers on impact of a spit off of the City Hyde Park development tax PINS into its own 23-year TIF, how much compensation for lost CHP 2001-present City Hyde Park increment will be needed from CHP owner Silliman/Antheus as compensation to the remaining 53rd TIF, and how the TIFs look financially (including how much might be left over in the 51st. THAT MEETING WAS CANCELLED. MEANWHILE THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION GAVE ITS ADMINISTRATATIVE APPROVAL (ALL NEC.) TO THE SPLIT OFF OF VILLAGE WHICH MET 6 OF 13 CRITERIA FOR A TIF-- which will expire at the same time as the 53rd).

Latest on city Hyde Park changes- see City Hyde Park page. TIF DIVIDED. July 9, 2012 the 53rd St. TIF heard presentation on City Hyde Park from Antheus and report of process already begun to split the two pins of the proposed development at 51st and Lake Park into a separate, new tax increment district ("51st-Lake Park TIF") of 23 years duration to subsidize the project. The city has already begun the process with approval of Ald. Will Burns as an administrative action, and the TIF council (which will oversee the new TIF) voted its approval. Here are some details, as provided by George Rumsey, as known as of the meeting:

Peter Cassel presented for Antheus Capital. He explained there was a $25 million gap in their funding for the $145 million project called CityHydePark ( The project proposed 190 rental apartments, of which 38 (20%) will be affordable and on-site.

To close the gap ($10 million of the $25 mil gap has been mentioned in the past [as needing to be subsidized]), Antheus proposes to create a new TIF that would be an "in-PIN" project, as opposed to an area-wide focus on one project (such as Harper Court). This would provide it with the full 23 years to gain income, as opposed to the current 10 years still available to 53rd Street's TIF.

To accomplish this, there are three phases:

1. Amendment to the 53rd Street TIF to remove the 2 PINs that comprise CityHydePark (one block at 51st and Lake Park, and just the street itself of the adjoining north-south Harper Ave. for access). This would take an "administrative action," proposed through the city (planned for now through September), then going to City Council for approval (in October).

2. Create the new "conservation" TIF, to be called "51st-Lake Park TIF," comprising 2.25 acres and two tax PINs. This proposal has already been taken to the city agencies involved, with an expected approval in August or September. The city representatives at the meeting pointed out the district meets 6 of the state's 13 criteria for a TIF (and only 3 are needed). This proposal would go before City Council in October, with approval sought in November.

3. Signing of a "redevelopment agreement." The CDC will start preparing this in September, with expected closing by January 2013. Part of this involves Antheus reimbursing the 53rd Street TIF for lost revenues.

Alderman Burns then spoke briefly, stating his support for this proposal. He mentioned that the new TIF would be kept under the review of the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council.

Peter also mentioned that Antheus would not be using the TIF funding to secure a loan, as is the case with Harper Court and Vermilion Development. Instead, it would be used long-term to pay off expenses and debt.

TIF members inquired about expanding the proposed area to include blocks east of the train tracks along 51st Street. The city TIF representatives explained why this was not possible--it would involve removing additional tax PINs from the 53rd Street TIF, which would wreck its viability.

Audience members raised the issues of portability of funds between the two districts. Peter and the City representatives agreed this would need to be resolved in the redevelopment agreement.

Not addressed were[...] How much income does this remove from the 53rd Street TIF, and what is the impact over the next 10 years on 53rd Street? How much income is expected to be generated by the new 51st/Lake Park TIF? How much of it does Antheus actually plan to use, and what happens to any excess?

Response of Ald. Will Burns to criticisms of the 53rd TIF in a August 1, 2012 editorial

(Notes: Coalition for Equitable Community Development representatives say to this writer (GMO) that their statement of appreciation at the July TIF meeting to Antheus/Silliman for proposing the first affordable housing in Hyde Park in many years was not necessarily a total endorsement of all aspects of the local tifs or the proposal described herein.

This writer also notes that while parking at Harper Court will be open to all, it is not known at what price relative to to former lot, nearby pay lots, or street parking.)

Response To The Hyde Park Herald's TIF Article 8.1.12

To the Editor: (of the Herald? pre-sent as public statement and passed along by others)

Members of the Hyde Park community and its representatives on the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council have an exemplary record of community-based planning, open review of development proposals and, most of all, competent oversight of the TIF.

The August 1, 2012 editorial “It’s Time to revisit the 53rd Street TIF” denies that history.

The editorial incorrectly asserts, “No other community improvement of note has taken place.” A quick search of the Herald archives shows the 53rd Street TIF has accomplished much more than real estate development. Small businesses were provided funding for store improvements (Hyde Park Herald 8/6/08), funds were appropriated to Cantor Middle School for capital improvement projects (Hyde Park Herald 11/18/09), and to Kenwood Academy for new bleachers (Hyde Park Herald 5/12/10). The TIF funded CleanSlate for several years (Hyde Park Herald 5/12/10, 3/4/08, and 8/6/08).

The editorial references 2011 revenue estimates of the 53rd Street TIF and implies that this is new information. The issue was publicly discussed at the November 2011 TIF Advisory Council meeting and reported in the Hyde Park Herald in the story, “TIF District out of cash?”(11/16/11). To summarize last summer’s TIF Advisory Council meeting; the original financial projections for the 53rd Street TIF were adjusted downward due to policy changes made in the assessment of property by the Cook County Assessor. More recently, the City of Chicago has become increasingly conservative regarding TIF projections due to stagnant property values. “Special Tax Revenue Declines, Denting City Funds”, Chicago Tribune 7/18/12.

There are numerous community improvements within the current real estate developments. Harper Court Parking Garage will be available to the general public. Hyatt Place Hotel full-time employees will be paid at least the City of Chicago’s Living Wage (currently $11.18 an hour), benefits including retirement and savings plans, vacation, and sick days, and worker’s rights provisions, all of which are included in the project’s redevelopment agreement (RDA) with the city.

The City Hyde Park project will create 182 residential units along with 110,000 square feet of new retail space, including a Whole Foods supermarket. Thirty-eight residential units will be reserved as affordable housing, representing the first new affordable units in Hyde Park in decades, which is why the Committee for Equitable Community Development (CECD) endorsed the project and the new TIF district.

The editorial also incorrectly characterizes the Council’s recent recommendation for approval of the creation of a new TIF district specifically for City Hyde Park. The Council will hold a meeting in September to recommend a specific allocation from the new TIF to the City Hyde Park project. It is likely that the TIF allocation requested by the developers will be less than the amount of the money projected for the lifetime of the TIF. I look forward to engaging the community and the TIF Council to determine the allocation of the remaining increment.

Finally, there are other tools to fund community improvements; Special Service Areas (SSAs) provide a sustainable revenue stream to fund street cleaning, snow removal, and beautification services. An SSA for 47th Street currently exists. I look forward to engaging in a dialogue with business owners and residents on the merits of creating an SSA for the 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue retail corridors.

There is no question that TIF projects have been controversial throughout the city and the nation. However, the Fourth Ward has consistently managed its TIFs well, promoting a public and transparent process that exemplifies oversight and inclusive community-based planning.


William D. Burns
Alderman, 4th Ward
City of Chicago

The University of Chicago's proposed day care center east in the 5800 block of Stony Island, and the Woodlawn/University Avenue alley rerouting in the 5700 block were approved by City Council July 25, 2012.

U of C Quad club continued to undergo restorations and renovations in 2012.

December 7, 2011. An update meeting on Harper Court timetable and business problems was held at Chant. Many are very upset and business is really hurting despite some palliative (mainly signage, small drop off zones, and agreement to revisit timetables. Many said that to the extent planning was done at all, promises were broken-- what are you going to do about it?
See the latest about the Harper Theater project-- including that the UC had to acknowledge the use as not continuous and get a City Council exemption for amusement license (because too close to the church) and to have no parking.
See a video from Medill School of Journalism on the Theater and its renovation, January 2012.

April 2012: Chipotle Mexican Grill has signed for the retail building in Harper Court.

In March 2012 the City amended the 53rd TIF Eligible Costs Budget (see TIF News page)- The key items are Rehabilitation from 3 M to $3,003,634 and assembly-preparation from $500K to $665,605K. Total budget is increased from $20m to $26,624,220. The latter is above what was committed to Harper Court over the remaining life of the TIF and might provide enough leeway for subsidy to City Hyde Park. Rumored to be a possibility is extending the life of the TIF should amounts be insufficient.

The March 2012 TIF meeting was cancelled. AT THE MAY 2012 TIF MEETING, the University discussed splitting the former Borders building into FOUR separate retail spaces and complete redesign and replacement of the exterior- BY OCT. 2012. (Said to resemble Waffle House- rectangle with full glass front and back, no setback on 2nd story.) The design will be discussed by the Planning and Development Committee at a meeting tba. Only Akira has been announced so far, but some kind of restaurant/entertainment/catering and fitness/wellness seem likely from hints. Questions were asked about traffic, parking, trash pickup, and types of tenants.
Presumably rezoning Borders from B-1-B-3 was recommended by the council.
A special meeting of the TIF planning and redevelopment committee will consider redesign proposals.
Also: supported by Burns to start the process on exploration, creating an SSA special taxing district.

In mid July 2012 Wal-Mart announced it has signed to build a (basically grocery) 41,000 store in the large cleared and planned shopping mall and residential development (site 4 acres) at the southeast corner of 47th and Cottage Grove. Largely responsible are Quad Communities Development Corporation (led by Bonita Johnson-Gabriel) of LISC and Alderman Will Burns (and his predecessor Toni Preckwinkle). It is in a TIF and the residential will be 1/3 / 1/3 / 1/3. Developer is Community Building, which did Oakwood Shores and included many minority jobs.

June 2012 update. A near $3M TIF subsidy for Harper Court's hotel (part of previous approval for whole project) was approved by City Council.

June 27 we learned what goes into the Meadville main building- Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society.

Meanwhile... Third World Cafe closed in early June 2012. Third World in its thank you note cited economic conditions mostly.

In a letter to the Herald dated November 9, 2011, 53rd TIF chairman Howard Males announced his relinquishment of the post after 11 years of service. His very generous kudos and thanks can be read in the TIF News page, along with a release expressing gratitude to Males by HPKCC and three present and past presidents.

On TIF reforms (and complaints of lack of progress) see in the TIF News page.

Akira clothing chain is coming to the Borders site, 53rd (1539) and Lake Park. Coming fall 2012, the 8,000 sf store will become the expanding chain's flagship. It will take the front 2/3 of the first floor- suggested a day care center or restaurant for back? UC is seeking a zoning change- see meetings at top of this page.

Anyone who wants to see or have the 2010 annual report of the 53rd St. TIF or any others of the TIFs in Chicago can visit (look for Department of Housing and Economic Development). You can also go to City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 1006.
Direct: body

Background on University planning and Planned Development 43 is in University Master Plans Archive and Planned Development 43. Watch for a meeting in the fall on the expected UC expansion amendment to its planned development. Meeting Oct. 6. See flyer with detail map (note, a big file!)
The University is expected to close on 5711 S. Woodlawn said to be for the Henry Paulson Center for environmental improvement in China.
Ald. Hairston threatened to withhold support without changes protective of character- see Woodlawn Corridor page. Mtg. Nov. 9 had some added language, protective easements for half the UC Woodlawn properties. Negots. contin. but neighbors, HPKCC, other orgs. seek landmark district- see HPKCC release. Find the latest changes to PD43 filing esp. as affects Woodlawn Ave.- Woodlawn District, Master Plans PD43. HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO DEAL WITH HISTORIC PROPERTIES IN A PD BUT NOT AN HIST. DISTRICT.
March 28, Wednesday, 6 pm. Meeting by U of C and Ald. Hairston construction plans on 5757 University to Woodlawn including the alley and street- Report.

>>>See page on historic agreement MOU between city and UC announced end of August 2011. Promises 50 projects including UC $2.5 million toward new 59-60th Metra station, streamlining of projects, jobs.
Includes big deal fed grant for Grove Parc at edge of Woodlawn- see in Woodlawn News page.

Harper Court construction schedule revealed- and most investors finally announced (including Magic Johnson co, sev. banks) -See Harper Court home/latest. Construction log. Said to have closed on financing Sept. 2011.
There seemed some confusion in September 2011 when it was learned changes in tax assessment between commercial and homeowner could affect how much money would come into the TIF over time. The principals at the Sept. 12 TIF meeting did not seem to think what the TIF will have to pay for the project would be affected but it is possible that more money from the non-Harper part of the TIF will have to go to the project.
Feathers were ruffled over commitment to labor union at the Hyatt Hotel.
Ald. Burns gained a 15-minute standing zone for up to 3 cars on the northeast corner of Harper and 53rd.

First Unitarian members authorized the board to pursue sale of Fenn House to its north. It is temporarily occupied by Southside Hub of Production, an art, personal development, and advocacy center. The University of Chicago has backed off purchasing for present, said to be because the Church has not/did not agree to sell the side lot in front.

Hyde Park Produce is rumored to the considering seeking a zoning change to sell wine.

Demolished: the Booker Building sw corner of 47th and Cottage Grove for a large mixed development

Muntu's partially built dance theater building at 47th and Greenwood is increasingly viewed as an eyesore an potential dangers. As of January, Muntu is to meet with the city, after which a public announcement will be made.

First plan Oct. 5 for University purchases in Wash. Pk./Garfield Blvd.: Wash Pk Arts Incubator includes renovation of big building at 301 GB- see in Arts News.

July 28 2011 U of C buys Borders from Gottlieb (Northbrook) interest. Latter loses on 7.6M 2006 purchase, problem is separating the two floors (could no find a tenant for both). Staff was seen cleaning up and preparing for perspectives.

Some of what was said at the TIF reform hearing is in TIF Reform and News.

See coming developments-what and where.
Elm Park to Kimbark Plaza? see in own page.

RETAIL SURGE: SEE IN BUSINESS. Burgers and flicks coming to Harper Theater, Whole Foods coming to Village Center, Clarke's diner coming to 1400 block of 53rd, other new restaurants on 53rd, uptick in comics and records on 55th.

Deal between university and city for pilot for speeding zoning and permits promises much, touches much.
Sonya Malunda has been appointed Senior Associate Vice President of Civic Engagement at U of C. Search is still on for a Vice President.
The University will hold its 2nd community meeting on its PD 43 September 28, Wednesday 6 at I House.

DaVita Dialysis Center, having run into resistance in plans to move from 55th St. to residential streets outside HP, is now seeking a 43rd and Cottage Grove that is ample and can accommodate more patients.

Word from Crain's is that MAC's next acquisition is likely to be the huge (1030-unit) Regent's Park apartment complex at East End and S. Hyde Park Blvd. (5020-50 S. Lake Shore Drive.) The deal may be closed in early October 2011 for $160-170M.

July 28 2011 there was a South Side TIF meeting by the Mayor's TIF Task Force on transparency, accountability and efficiency. Well attended, with lots of smart testimony and some anger. If you want to submit input, visit

The 700 E. 61st 60637 postal station is among those to be evaluated for elimination at the end of the year. The only other of 13 in the Chicago region under consideration is the one at c600 E. 63rd St.

Can preservation and redevelopment work together? Reuse of Harper Theater buildings says yes, according to Jay Ammerman in article in the June 2011 Conference Reporter. Jack Spicer in same issue paints a much less rosy picture for CTU etc. (Documentation is being done for a possible Woodlawn-University Ave. landmark district to manage change (see in Preservation Hot and Chicago Theological Seminary. March 2 2011 CTS was put on Preservation Chicago's 7 Most Endangered List.) See George Rumsey's outline from the issue of developments underway to potential below. And the President's letter is mostly further updates on development- see in Board and President's News page.

May 2011 Update on Antheus developments and rehabs- Antheus page.

Harper Court- see below (1) and below (2) and 53rd TIF Meetings page. $23.4 MILLION VOTED BY TIF COUNCIL. TIF planning comm. looks at design next. Sept. 20.
The July 12 Developer presentation in PDF is found in
Also hot again: A high rise north of the Narragansett.
Next 53rd TIF
The next regular TIF meeting is September 12, 2011, Monday. 7 pm, Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone. Agenda: minutes, elections, Susan Campbell leads Harper Court and 53rd St. updates (including zoning change request for 52nd and Harper), Oktoberfest.
Reports on past meetings.
March 7,The Planning and Development Committee of the 53rd TIF Advisory Council met in open session on the
PROPOSED HOTEL FOR HARPER COURT. Info will is in Harper Court page.
University of Chicago and Vermilion Development Partners have selected the hotel developer for the Harper Court development project. That developer will introduce themselves and present preliminary plans for hotel. The TIF subcommittee will hold an open discussion of proposed ideas at this meeting. The results our discussion will be presented to the full Advisory Council at its regular meeting (March 14). This is your opportunity to provide substantive community input. Please come. Chuck Thurow. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell.

From the January TIF meeting.
At the July meeting UC announced it is under contract to purchase Borders for one or several core-retail stores and restaurants.
It also announced intent to issue RFQ for the Mobil-McDonald site.

New incl. HARPER THEATER BIG PLANS announced. and UC buys store across street- Clarke's Diner coming there- see in 53rd bus cor news.

U of C President Robert Zimmer announced on April 18 that Ann Marie Lipinski has left the position of Vice President for Civic Engagement to head the Nieman Journalism Foundation at Harvard. No replacement or interim has been announced for this position that is pivotal for planning and action in Hyde Park. Helen Sahli is Director of Civic Engagement.

Our Development homepage has the links to the big and small stories, analysis, vision studies and reports (including the VISION exercises and reports), and the work of the HPKCC Development, Preservation and Zoning Committee and also links to the work of Southside Preservation Action Committee (for which HPKCC is fiscal agent), Coalition for Equitable Community (of which HPKCC is a part), and other allies.
History and Preservation homepage
has material on relationships between development and preservation or restoration or zoning. Find also there links to the Urban Renewal years and a development timeline from the 1950s to the present.
Find more material and links in our Zoning homepage and our 53rd St. TIF District News homepage. TIF budgets-city Dept. Comm. Planning website, but see also our TIF Annual Reports/Budgets page.
The Reagan home and Hospitals expansion- is in Preservation Hot.

Services such as senior care, dialysis, sports health, women's seem to be leaving or directed out of have areas like Hyde Park to underserved areas rather than creating additional in the underserved areas. At the least this makes it further to go and weakens the stronger area without necessarily improving quality in underserved areas. Some of this would happen due to search of businesses for less expensive land or rents. But one has to wonder if this is now the "planning" policy, at least of the University. The dialysis proposed location has created friction with the business community at Wabash and 50th.

Antheus Capital's contract to buy the 53rd-Cornell lot adds a new wrinkle and possibilities in the TIF, which includes Antheus' Village Center where city approvals near completion. Antheus owns several high and low-rise properties in East Hyde Park and thinks of 53rd-Cornell as a bridge.


" NOTICE is hereby given, pursuant to Section 5/11-74,4-5(d)(9) of the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, as amended (65 ILCS 5/11-74.4-1 et seq.) (the "Act"), that discs of the 2009 TIF Annual Reports of the City of Chicago will be available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. beginning Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois in the Department of Community Development ("DCD"), Room 1006. Pdfs for individual districts will also be available. Annual reports are online at beginning Thursday July 1, 2001. "

[TIFs in the list in our area: 43rd Street/Cottage Grove Redevelopment Project Area
53rd Street Redevelopment Project Area]

Christine Raguso, Acting Commissioner, Department of Community Development, City of Chicago

From the Sept. 13 TIF meeting. Re Harper Court, Ald. Preckwinkle announced that plans have passed the Community Development Committee and Zoning Committee, and City Council passage is expected September 15. Chuck Thurow, chair of the Planning Committee asked what good his scheduled planning committee open meeting on Harper Court design would be if city approvals are already given. The Ald. replied that details are not set in stone.
There was a long query of the UC representative of its diversity program on the reality of diversity and use of local neighborhood and beyond businesses at the University. Ald. Preckwinkle (to paraphrase) called these shallow and weak.

The next regular TIF meeting is September 12, 2011.

At the end of August 2011, announced was that Chicago won one of 5 Choice Neighborhood Initiative Grants, in this case $30.5 million for GROVE PARC and its manager PoAH. It's directed to Grove Parc by Mayor Emanuel to help make this 504 unit complex south of 61st at Cottage Grove an anchor. It is part of the MOU agreement of the city (interagency) and U of C for planning and redevelopment of the whole area and is tied by the Mayor to his foreclosure program that targets inter alia West Woodlawn and to efforts to focus on rebuilding communities including jobs and not just spreading money around. The $30.5m is hoped to leverage up to $272 m.

Changes coming to TIFs, zoning

May 19 2011 Mayor Emanuel announced appointment of a 10 member TIF oversight committee. The panel will set up ongoing examination and standards of how effective the TIFs are in and to promote their use for job creation and economic development. Long overdue, he said. He also released much material on the 157 districts. He pledged to take politics out of the districts and frowned on having TIFs downtown - they are for blighted areas. He did NOT commit on whether he would move to eliminate TIFs that don't meet standards.

Sweet Home Chicago- a much watered down, localized version was passed to allow affordable housing in TIFs. See ordinance. Subject info.

For budget of 2011, City to account for TIFs in the budget, declare surplus the money in several TIF and send it to the taxing bodies, and to merge Housing-Zoning-Planning into one department (zoning inspectors would be under Buildings. Hearing dates set. (the following is a release from Chicago Rehab Network)

Here is from the Nov. 24 2010 Herald on what happened. TIF "surplus" was taken from (only) two TIFs in the 4th Ward, Bronzeville (5.5m) and 47th-King (6m), not from 53rd or 44th-Cottage. The two that contributed are the largest on the southeast side with a total of $35m. Most of the surplus-hence-returned TIF funds are from the big downtown TIFs- $118m. The city gets only 20% or $38m of $473 total freed up. , the rest going to the other tax bodies including the Park District (12m), Schools (245m), Cook County... On the total city budget, Ald Preckwinkle has a reluctant yea objecting to draining down nearly all reserves; Ald. Hairston voted against consolidation of departments saying inefficiencies should be addressed first.

Using a variety of strategies and cost-saving measures, Mayor Daley released the $6.1 billion balanced City budget yesterday. Most notable in this document is the inclusion of a new Fund 0B21 which details TIF administrative expenses and a list of each TIF District noted with its available balance and drawdowns--a measure which CRN has repeatedly called for in the budgeting process. [See 2011 Preliminary Budget Testimony]. As a critical part of the City's finances and operations, the inclusion of TIF in the city budget makes sense and we recognize this effort by the City to further increase transparency and accountability in city government.

Mayor Daley has proposed declaring a surplus on 25 TIF districts worth $180 million to help close the budget gap. Per State law, other taxing bodies are entitled to this surplus. The City's share is $38 million with the lion's share of $90 million to go to the Chicago Public Schools. This move also releases $15 million for Cook County, $12 million for the Park District and $6 million for City Colleges.

While the large budget deficit has deemed TIF as a necessary source of funds, we hope that this is a precedent that does not continue -- pulling those dollars into the City corporate fund makes them no longer available for neighborhood housing and economic development.

Another important change is the consolidation of the Department of Zoning and the Department of Community Development as part of cost-cutting and streamlining of city functions. The merger will form the new Department of Housing and Economic Development. Zoning inspectors will be placed under the Department of Buildings.

Departmental hearings will begin on Monday, October 18th. The Department of Housing and Economic Development hearing will be held on October 25th at 9:00 am at City Council Chambers. See the full schedule here.

A public hearing is set for November 3rd at 9:00 am at City Hall and the final budget vote will be held on November 17th.

Stay tuned for CRN's Full Budget Analysis and other budget updates. Contact CRN for more information at 312-663-3936 or visit

July 7 2010, 10 am City Hall 2nd fl Council chambers, there was a hearing on requiring 20% of TIF funds (c. $100m) to be spent on affordable housing annually. Here are some details and one set of suggested alterations. Local groups such as Coalition for Equitable Community Development are examining the proposal. The proposal was sent back to the committee. It was finally passed from the Finance Committee in November despite complaints that the blue ribbon reported draft still had problems. When it will come up in the Council is unknown. There was animosity between supporting aldermen and the city dept. which does not want housing to be the top priority. There is also a state law problem if it is desired to use the funds to buy and rehab foreclosed homes.

The July 6 Sun-Times carries an editorial on the use of 20% of TIF funds for affordable housing. The editorial strongly endorses and gives reasons to recommend, but suggests a number of changes.

Note that the proposed ordinance is for 20% of total TIF money, NOT 20% in every TIF. Not said here is whether this is retroactive to all money in tifs when it goes into effect but it appears the transfers and requirement would be annual. Not said here is whether such units would have to be inside a TIF district. It would not be just for building new housing, but could also be for preserving or rehabbing existing housing for affordable or converting foreclosed properties into affordable housing.

Recommended changes by Sun-Times:

Reporting requirements said to be weak, esp. that the developers alone would verify family eligibility.

For rental half of aparments in each development would be for families earning 50 percent or less of area median (+$38,000 for family of 54) with 40% for families earning under 23% Sun-Times fears this would derail development or lead to projects that don't enhance property values (which is a main source of increment in the first place). ST would change the percentages to 30% and a bit under 40%.

Homeownership rules: Proposed is that 50 percent of for-sale units be for families making under $60,000. But this is the group that most heavily took the now mortgages in the bubble and then lost them. It might also raise costs to the point that financing could not be obtained. S-T does not suggest an alternative.

The proposal lacks a means to prevent the city form concentrating affordable developments in certain (challenged?) neighborhoods. At least some affordable development should go into TIFs in neighborhoods that are not "challenged" (read Hyde Park 53rd and Cottage Grove TIFs?)


Gary Ossewaarde

From the January 10 2011 TIF meeting.

Harper Court hitting stride. By Sam Cholke

Financing is nearly secured for the major redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center. The developers said they would be back in the neighborhood in the next two months to show updated building designs. "We're checking off milestones," said Dave Cocagne, president and CEO of Vermilion Development, the lead partner for the new office and retail complex.

Cogagne said a bank has agreed to to term sheet to finance the $114 million project. he said a hotel operator for the project would be announced in February. He said leases for 60 percent of the retail spaces are being finalized, but declined to name any tenants. "We're looking forward to getting a shovel in the ground by the end of the year," Cocagne said.

University: Theater building to be spared. By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago announced Jan. 10 it will renovate the exterior of the historic facade of the Harper Theater and has identified a tenant for a portion of the retail spaces fronting East 53rd Street.

"I think the rest of the building once renovated wil show well," Susan Campbell, associate vice president for civic engagement at the university, said at a meeting of the 53rd street tax increment financing district advisory council. For the past week, crews removed art installation from the storefronts and began cleaning up the interior of the entire structure at the corner of East 53rd Street and South Harper Avenue. Renovation of the facade is expected to begin in two weeks.

The university purchased the 13,00 square foot theater, office and retail spaced in 2003. In 2006, it hired Baum Realty and Brinshore Redevelopment to rehab the building as an office building with retail and restaurants. The university and the the two firms had a falling out in 2008 and the building has sat vacant until last year when the retail spaces began being used for art installations.

The spaces were cleared of their second-run of installations last week in preparation for the clean up. The university ha hired OKW Architects to lead the renovation and HSA Commercial Real Estate to manage the property.

Campbell said a lease has been sent out to a tenant for the retail space, which would be identified next week. She said no tenant has been found for the theater space and the university is considering splitting up the interior for multiple tenants.

Also at the TIF meeting, Antheus Capital said it would close next month on the purchase of a vacant lot at 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue. Peter Cassel, director of community development for Antheus, said the previous owner, L3 development and its investors, have turned over all community studies done when the site was slated for a high-rise residential building.

"I think it's most appropriately residential," Cassel said of Antheus' intentions for the site, adding that retail would likely be included to tie any development to surrounding retailers on either side of the Metra viaduct. The site will not be left as a vacant lot, he assured. "East Hyde Park could use more parking and that lot could work very well for parking if there's an extended holding period before development starts," he said. Cassel said Antheus has begun discussing ideas with neighbors, but rental housing was an appealing option."I don't hesitate to say the for-sale market remains very, very difficult," he said.


Antheus asks consideration for up to $10m in future increment for Village Center redevelopment once that is done, as part of assembling financing.

53rd Cornell is now a 79-space surface lot for tenants of Antheus buildings, including East View and the Del Prado. Neighbors say it's not enough, doesn't help them, and want future plans to stress parking (maybe with retail) over other uses.

January 9, 2012 TIF meeting: Presentation and discussion was had on the Hyatt Hotel. A large group of students asked about such matters as whether the hotel would be unionized. The reply was said to be cautious, along the line that they would not oppose unionization should those hired desire it-- which is different from prenegotiating "hiring union." More information will be provided here as available.

Harper Court redevelopment was updated and vetted in two meetings in March 2011. Some news ahead...

March 7, Monday, 6:30 p.m.: The Planning and Development Subcommittee of the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Committee meets in open session at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell. The contracted subdeveloper for the hotel, Smart, will present and answer questions including about the currently expected number of rooms, limited meeting space, and amenities.

March 14, Monday, 7 p.m.: The 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council holds its open meeting at Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone. Vermilion Development will update planning. (The developer is expected to close with the University in May according to Susan Campbell.) It is likely that Ms. Campbell will give an update, as she did at the HyPa quarterly meeting today, on leasing of Harper Theater and the Herald Building-- the west part of the 53rd facade to Five Guys, a hamburger emporium said to be favored by President Obama, New 400 Theaters, which plans 5 screens, and negotiations or thoughts about the remainder of the theater.

At the HyPa presentation, Ms. Campbell responded positively to expressed desire for artists space on 53rd and in theater, but no such planning has yet been done, and discussed many of the properties along 53rd Street and differences between the east, middle, and west parts between Lake Park and Woodlawn and announced a planning process with the Park District for Nichols Park, to begin in the next few months. A primary objective from the University's standpoint is to create a southwest to northeast access/use corridor from the campus to 53rd Street. Another is cohesion along Lake Park from Hyde Park to 55th, and another is increased residential and retail density in general.

Vermilion presented a promising update to the HPKCC Development Committee on May 2 2011.

The University of Chicago anticipates it will need another off-site dorm. While thought is going into a graduate dorm above retail in the 1300 block of 53rdst (RFQ has been sent ou) thought is going into an undergraduate dorm to replace the facilities building in the 5600 block of Stony Island (an open RFQ has gone out.) This would be next to the AKA hq and to the south is a dorm and the future Early Learning Center.

Five Guys hamburger place slated for Harper Theater. Opening at the end of 2011 by this first tenant will follow cleanup and renovation. UC spokesperson Wendy Parks [?] is quoted in the Maroon that UC "has taken action to save these buildings" and is "committed to maintaining the integrity of these buildings." She added that OKW architects of Chicago tailored the project to community input. Renovation includes interior, facade, and "overall character." Windows will be redone and space created for signage. Five Guys will have an outdoor seating area with "attractive awnings." Five Guys will occupy the west part of the 53rd facade.


New five-screen movie theater coming to 53rd Street
The University of Chicago is bringing The New 400 Theaters, an independent movie operator that will offer a mix of art, children's and wide-release films, to the soon-to-be renovated buildings at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue.

The 10,149-square-foot theater plan includes five screens with state-of-the-art digital projection. One screening room will have tables placed between the seats for future lunch and dinner options.

The New 400 Theaters plans to discount tickets for students, seniors and children. General-admission seating will be below market prices.

"The theater, along with other strategic revitalization efforts, will bring added value to the area. It is one more piece of our ongoing conversations with the City and the neighborhood to build Hyde Park as a key destination on the South Side of Chicago," said Susan Campbell, Associate Vice President of Civic Engagement.

The New 400 Theaters opened its first venue in Rogers Park in July 2009. That site, built in 1912 near Loyola University and formerly known as Village North, is one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the country.

Tony Fox, owner and operator of The New 400 Theaters, said the Hyde Park location was ideal due to its close proximity to the campus and the overall commitment from the community to upkeep its neighborhood.

"We are proud to bring our theater to Hyde Park, a place where people really care about their community," said Fox. "My passion is community service, and we hope to continue in the same tradition as we have done in Rogers Park -- to bring safe, reliable and sound entertainment to the area."

Fox said his business partner, Tom Klein, will serve as general manager in Hyde Park. Klein is also the general manager for The New 400 Theaters in Rogers Park.

He said they are interested in talking with Doc Films, the University student group that screens diverse films each quarter for students, faculty, staff and the community, to see if there are potential partnerships that could work in the new theater model.

The movie theater has a targeted opening date of fall 2012.

January 14, July 26 2010: Harper Ct/53rd Lake Park developer selected, given funding. See below incl. meetings. The TIF planning committee will meet from time to time, including July 19. Report on the July 12, 2010 presentation and request for TIF funding. Visit Harper Court Sale homepage (incl. latest renderings).

The UC has bought the Mobil-former McDonalds site- eyes graduate housing or other residential in mixed development, to put out RFQ.
Antheus moves ahead with Shoreland and Del Prado, buying Sutherland
UC unveils Lab School plans, incl. former Dr. Hospital
UC converting Chicago Theol Sem, buys Meadville (moving downtown) and seeks expansion/amendment to PD43, esp. around east and in northwest.
HPKCC and its committee affiliate SPAF release report on Harper Theater structural soundness and adaptability. See Theater RFP page


Developments underway, planned, or potential. List, then short descriptions, then detailed.

Here are shorts on the specific development hot topics with links to their pages in this website.
For the big picture and residents' global concerns (Development General),
click here.

From the June 2011 HPKCC Conference Reporter
Development in Hyde Park-South Kenwood.
By George Rumsey, HPKCC Development Committee

With the pending start of construction at two of the neighborhood's largest development projects, it is time to take stock of the state of development in HP-K. There are several announced projects or projects currently underway. However, additional projects could impact the Lakefront, the local parks, and several neighborhoods in the area. The items that are marked with numbers are those which have ben announced or are in process. Those marked with letters are planned (but with no specific dates, rumored, or likely candidates for future development.

Announced or Underway:

City-University of Chicago Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) August 26, 2011 for three years to expedite and push projects and studies of mutual interest, and a new UC community investment fund. Could eventually include redevelopment of the major corridors to the Day Ryan including Washington Park and neighborhoods and south through Woodlawn and infill housing (employee assisted, not affordable, to be stressed.) See in own page.

1. Sutherland Hotel (MAC Properties)--Renovate historic hotel (with landmark status), immediate plans call for retaining affordable rental; long-term plans unclear. 1/3 affordable until 2018; tenants granted longer stays, more help, easier priority to return. In process.

2. Village Foods Center (Mac Properties)-- Two towers (170 condos or rental units in 2 buildings, 22 stories an 9 stories); 3 levels of retail. Underground parking, 400 spaces. 100,000 sq. ft. of commercial development, 384,000 sq. ft of residential development. Firs announced tenant Whole Foods. Estimated completion 2015.

3. Harper Court (Vermilion/University of Chicago) -- 14 storey office building for U of C; 26 storey condo tower; 2 apartment buildings; 6-8 storey hotel; 105,000 sq. ft.of retail, including fitness center. 200+ condos/rentals. still pending final financial agreements, approved by City Council, receiving $21 M in TIF funds, 2 phases, starting late-2011' estimated completion 2015.

4. Hyde Park Theater (University of Chicago)-- Restore theater building into 5-screen art house. The New 400 Theaters wil offer a mix of art, children's and wide-release film. Also restore Herald Building along 53rfd, with restaurants and officed space. In process, first restaurant to open in October.

5. MAC Rental Offices (MAC Properties-- Long-term plans to turn into retail, perhaps a restaurant. No dates.

6. [Mc}/Mobil (University of Chicago)-- Long-term, possibly a graduate student dorm for UofC. No dates.

7. Cornell & 53rd (MAC Properti9es)-- Perhaps short-term parking lot due to Harper Court development [and East View/Del Prado residents]. No announced long-term plans.

8. Del Prado (MAC Properties)-- Medium to high-end ($1-$1.5 K/mo.) rental with [restaurants retail. Also renovating East View similarly.]

9. Shoreland (MAC Properties)-- 350 high-end rental apartments, plus upscale restaurant. $50-60 M. Up to 266 parking spaces. Almost all approved, completion late 2012 or early 2013.

10 Solstice on the Park (MAC Properties/Antheus)--26 story condo tower. Currently on hold.

11. University of Chicago Lab School Expansion (University of Chicago)--Replace Doctors Hospital with a new lower school for the Lab School. Approved, construction to start in fall.

Planned, Rumored, or Potential:

A. 47th Street--Facelift from the Dan Ryan to Lake Shore Drive. Under discussion and analysis. New development at 47th and Cottage, with Aldi and 72 subsidized units.
Stony, Cottage, 63rd, 55th, 53rd, 47th, 39th, 35th, 31st.
In mid July 2012 Wal-Mart announced it has signed to build a store in the large cleared and planned shopping mall and residential development (site 4 acres) at the southeast corner of 47th and Cottage Grove. Largely responsible are Quad Communities Development Corporation (led by Bonita Johnson-Gabriel) of LISC and Alderman Will Burns (and his predecessor Toni Preckwinkle). It is in a TIF and the residential will be 1/3 / 1/3 / 1/3.

B. Muntu Dance Theater [47th Greenwood]-- Stalled.

C. Ancona School-- Some discussion of larger development. Stalled.

D. Ramada Inn-- Potential hotspot for development one the new Hyatt opens.

E. Borders-- Big question mark.

F. Elm Park-- Kimbark Plaza wants to convert it to a parking lot.

G. Nichols Park-- Possible facelift to make th park more appealing, better lit, and safer at night.

H. St. Stephens Church-- Stalled.

I. Lillie House (Pond and Pond)-- Possible site for Lab School expansion [denied]. Under stabilzation by U of C.

J. Historic Houses on Woodlawn[/Meadville/CTU]-- Possible site for University expansion.

K. University of Chicago Medical Center Expansion--Removal of housing unit between 55th and 59th, Cottage and Ellis [including Reagan House and protected].

L. Regent's Park- to MAC?, which would almost certainly keep it rental. Whether there would be remodeling is unknown.

M. 56th-Stony Island. RFQ put out. Use announced Sept. 2012- student housing (graduate?).


Here are the main developments currently on the public's radar and some (only linked here) just simmering or emerging. (Revised from a survey by George Rumsey, past HPKCC president. ()= owner.) If one were to rank how "hot" each is, one would guess HARPER COURT, SHORELAND, DOCTORS, HARPER THEATER although any one could shoot to the top at any moment. Next for announcement of certainty? probably LAB SCHOOL EXPANSION. Next for bidding? Probably Village Center.
At the end is a brief summary of University of Chicago development and the UC's role in development neighborhood wide.
May 2011 Antheus development updates

1. Harper Court Projected to be 150,000 sq. ft. of office space (for UC), 150+ room hotel, 105,000 sq. ft. retail, 200+ condos/rental, 333 public parking plus dedicated, large interior streets that can have events.(Phase II has rental and condo housing and more retail.
Initial presentation of updated plans was presented by Vermilion July 12. July 26 Vermilion was voted $23.4 million of $114 m Phase I costs from the TIF (with proviso for continuing consultation). The developing and owning partnership is now called Harper Court Partners.
Report on the July 12, 2010 presentation and request for TIF funding. Follow ups see the Harper Court homepage.
Sept. 20 6:30 at HP Art Ctr 5020 S. Cornell- presentation of design to the TIF planning committee (open session). The Chicago Community Development Commission signed off Sept. 14 2010,
although with some concern that Vermilion has never completed a project this large.

Applications to start the city process went in late July 2010. A key element was said to be response to application for a federal Empowerment Zone designation, which allows tax-free bonds and is a green light to financing-- must have had financing in place by end of 2010- in turn city approvals were said to be necessary to closing on that. These in turn depended on TIF council and aldermanic approval. Plan commission was to be done October 21, PD process continues. IN FACT, FINANCING COULD NOT BE ARRANGED IN TIME, SO THE SUBSIDY/TAX FREE BONDS COULD NOT BE UTILIZED. THEREFORE THE OTHER LEGS OF THE STOOL HAD TO BE STRENGTHENED AND REARRANGED. AS OF AUGUST 2011, THE MOST THAT COULD BE OBTAINED WAS SHORT TERM CONSTRUCTION FINANCING FROM A BANK. THE DEVELOPER KEPT SAYING ALL WILL BE WELL "WITHIN A MONTH"- MEANWHILE DEMOLITION IS STARTING.


HPKCC published a letter in the Hyde Park Herald February 3, congratulatory but setting forth things that we will be watching for as plans evolve: communication and public input, how and for what TIF money is used in the project, how public access and other needs will be met in the plan, and accommodation during construction. HPKCC holds that it is essential that the developer visit the HPKCC board. HPKCC and other organizations submitted questions in the months before and at the money ask.

The TIF Planning committee saw and discussed Harper Court design September 20 2010. The discussion continued in October including start of design refinements. The Plan Commission approved the concept Oct. 21. City Council should approve by November or December. Private financing had not yet been secured. 4 restaurants have signed and the fitness center were to soon an be announced in December. The developer was still looking for a gourmet grocer.

2. Harper Theater/Herald Building (U of C)- A structural study was commissioned under HPKCCC, Southside Preservation Action Fund that affirmed structural soundness. SPAF had sought the University keeping options for reuse open, facade repairs and removal of scaffolding. Study commissioned by HPKCC shows structure sound and adaptable; UC hired exterior repairs, removed 53rd scaffolding, made further improvements ahead of the July 25 2010 festival, and had art in the windows and limited studio space in September and October (Art Here Art Now).

In December 2010 James Hennessy head of UC Real Estate, sent a letter to the Southside Preservation Action Fund confirming the University's serious intent to renovate and lease both the shops and the theater. Additional facade work was under way. In spring 2011 heavy work started. There is generally pleasure with the great job the University and HSA have done.

Details on the decision to save and reuse, from June 2011 Conference Reporter- own page.

3. 53rd and Cornell (linked here directly to its own page) (F. Leal)- on hold, due to finances. Projected to be 20+ stories of rental apartments and retail on ground level. Track the controversies, changes, conversion into a vacant lot (formerly a low rise that houses such loved spots as House of Tiki, Cornell Lounge and later Cedars and Thai Twee restaurants). As as concept, the latest design iteration was well received, though economic feasibility of what would be Hyde Park's first rental tower in a long time, was widely questioned. The developer went bankrupt; the land was sold in summer 2010. It is now owned by Antheus Property, which will put in a temporary lot for its new tenants at East View and the Del Prado. Should the economy turn, thoughts are of various configurations that would combine ground floor retail, possible residential and or parking (maybe beyond the big buildings and the new development?)

4.^^^^ McMobil (53rd and Kenwood) (linked here directly to its own page) (was F. Leal, who had only an option)- on hold, due to finances. Feasibility studies showed it would have to be in the 8 story range, which raised strong opposition by neighbors and others who think this is not the place for a transit-linked high development. Others disagree. U of C announced July 2011 it will issue a RFQ for a mixed development.
The University of Chicago has in 2010 acquired the Mobil Station and the former McDonalds location.
Spokesman Steve Kloehn said they have no specific plans but "try to support local business and catalyze a robust retail environment." The University is looking at this as a site for graduate housing with ground floor and a bridge between campus and new 53rd redevelopment.

Borders- UC is purchasing, will bring in on to several core-retail businesses, restaurant. RFQ is out.

5.^^^^ Village Foods Center (also in Antheus)- projected start next summer or thereafter, In August 2010 it was approved by the Plan Commission, is expected to clear the Zoning Commission and City Council in September. This has promise to move forward And hopes to be ready to file with the plan commission and city as early as spring 2010. Tenants are being sought or identified. Village Foods apparently will move when and if construction begins. One 24-story condo tower, one 10-story rental tower, 3 levels of retail. Exciting design by Gang Studio that includes ways to engage the streets and nearby transit and have space for both a fairly large retailer and small, less unaffordable boutique shops was received well at its TIF meeting and endorsed by the TIF Planning Committee at a well attended meeting.
Some modifications were set forth at the March 8, 2010 TIF meeting, including putting parking underground and doing it in one phase with the nw condo tower being the possible held back part. Still, it will be 2-5 years before demolition starts and five before things open.
August 19 2010 the Chicago Plan Commission approved the project (next: Zoning Committee then City Council in Sept. ) according to Chicago Talks and an update from an Antheus representative, who also said that the affordable component is made difficult by shifting city rules-- the purpose shouldn't be to give a developer a wink and someone a bargain at the developer's expense so then sell high later.

Highlights: 179 condos in 2 buildings- 22 stories and 9 stories, 1-3 bedroom. Affordable component 15% set by market and income (according to quote of principals). There will also be 2-level retail, to be as much as possible a mixture of sizes and types, if possible filling in what is missing in Hyde Park, and said to have accessible, user-friendly features incl. for seniors. 400 parking spaces. A drive through delivery passage for Village Foods during the expected phased construction. Cost is $100m. Antheus and Silliman stressed the number of jobs. Drawings are expected to take 2 months and construction to start in 18-24 months.

6. ^^^^Del Prado (Antheus)- in process. Projected to be medium to high-end ($1-1.5K/mo) rental, with restaurants and other amenities. Plans and options for tenants are far from complete although demolition is well underway toward reopening in 2011.

7. Shoreland (Antheus)- after undergoing community review and neighbor negotiation that produced additional constructive changes. Part will be historic restoration. Ald. Hairston has recommended the proposed amended planned development, and the developer has filed the papers, to get things started even though they are far from settled. Projected to be 325-350 high-end ($1.5K/mo) rental, plus restaurant. The plan will continue to evolve in discussion with the city and with neighbors.
June 21 2010 public meeting heard of latest tweaks to maximize parking while ensuring restorations. Next goes to Landmarks Commission in July 2010 then to Planning and Plan Commission. Passed Commission on Landmarks, Chicago Plan Commission, and City Council Zoning Committee, and its application for amended PD in July 2010. Next City Council for final landmark status.

8. Solstice on the Park (Antheus)- on hold, use to finances. Projected to be 26-story high-end ($400K+) condos.

^^^^Sutherland (47th-Drexel) bought by Antheus. Deteriorated, lightly occupied building to be renovated, 30%-1/3 affordable til 2018-- tenants granted longer, more help, easier priority to return. Reveals much about complexities of affordability, zoning barriers to policy. Visit Antheus and click Sutherland. Famed ballroom just restored. Antheus purchase of the deteriorated Sutherland for rehabilitation for 1/3 affordable and 2/3 market rate precipitated a row (mainly with KOCO) over forced move of tenants (despite considerable concessions).

9. ^^^^Doctors Hospital (U of C)- slated for Lab School unit preschool-2nd grade. NOTE THAT THE HOTEL PLAN HAS NOW SHIFTED TO HARPER COURT (and is smaller). The Chicago Plan Commission signed off on Lab School plans for the site September 16 2010. Since a daycare facility has been added to the plan, thus fully utilizing the property. Concern over plans for the park.
The facilities building in the 5600 block of Stony Island is now out for RFQ.

Lot north of the Narragansett (1640 E. 50th ) in Indian Village- with a significant part of the parking lot spaces in foreclosure, plans for a high rise at this spot is again in play. Many neighbors are not pleased. Issue kicked to the new alderman (Burns).

10. St. Stephen's Church (Western Springs Bank)- unknown. Once proposed to be multi-floor condos but dead due to foreclosure ruling and bank ownership. It seems unlikely that another owner would inherit the unique agreement with neighbors - already adamantly blocked by one neighbor. Condition is very bad, but demolition would be risky. This one was more a bemused conversation starter than a hot topics, except for among neighbors who have to put up with the site.

11. ^^^^Chicago Theological Seminary (see in ITS OWN PAGE). Will be documented, but much will be changed. Public meetings will continue. Window removal started the by last week of October 2010.
Seminary Co-op Books will move to McGiffert House on Woodlawn, being renovated and paid for by U of C.
Visit Woodlawn Avenue District page.

Elm Park for Kimbark Plaza?

Meadville School (
Meadville Theological School backed out of partnership with Andover Newton Theological School, but still has intent to stay in Chicago or Hyde Park. It still seeks a location. The buildings have been sold to the U of C (no plans announced) except sw corner of 57-Woodlawn to Chabad House (which is considering an addition. Seminary to move to Michigan Avenue downtown. THE MAIN BUILDING WILL BE OCCUPIED BY THE NEUBAUER COLLEGIUM FOR CULTURE AND SOCIETY, the two building to the south on the east side will be respectively the Alexrod Center for Politics and the Henry Paulson Center for the Study of (economic relations between China and the US).

McCormick Seminary is selling its facilities.

12. Future and operation of the 53rd TIF District and the new TIF and SSAs along Cottage Grove and Stony Island, now that Preckwinkle is gone.
Concerns about the TIF (overstated here?) are largely that 1) It has not accomplished the objectives that the community bought into, such as a parking garage and separately addition to Canter and that its accomplishments have been modest-- in part because the revenue growth has been smaller than anticipated partly because the other objective, bringing in major new retail development, largely didn't happen on a large scale. 2) The advisory council has largely been a tool of the Alderman, perhaps being a reason residents have only attended the "town halls" when there was something controversial or exciting on the agenda. 3) The council's continuance and strength is dependent on the will of whoever is alderman at the time. The current alderman is running for another office. 4) The city makes noises that it would like to take TIF money for other uses and it also is unclear whether money that now can be transferred only to another touching TIF.
More, including TIF council meeting records, maps- start with TIF News homepage.
THE COUNCIL TOOK AN EXPONENTIAL LEAP JULY 26 WHEN IT APPROVED $23.4 OVER THE LIFE OF THE TIF FOR HARPER COURT REDEVELOPMENT. This was with proviso for continued consultation. The council is confident there will remain enough to do its nondevelopment projects and that additional jump-started development will fund larger things.

The 43rd Cottage TIF (which extends south to about 51st) and its council have been active and in late 2009 committed funds, including millions it does not yet have to a redevelopment and developer at sw Cottage Grove and 47th St. that has controversial aspects and connections. A new, at least partially co terminus SSA taxing body has been making improvements in its area. These hold bi-monthly or quarterly public meetings tba.
The new SSA for 71st St. and extending up Stony Island to 56th Street could have importance should the University use part of the Doctors Hospital site for a commercial venture, or similarly for what is now a commuting parking lot at 60th and Stony Island.

(12 Lillie House at 58th Kenwood is apparently safe.

Michael Reese, Lake Meadows-- so far away but so big there will undoubtedly be ripple effects. Michael Reese was already toast even before it was proposed for the now-cancelled Olympic Village. With great haste the city moved to demolish all but a couple buildings-- already being gutted by looters--despite historic concerns that generated a HPKCC/SPAF funded study of the Mies structures. The remaining structures will undoubtedly be demolished leaving a wasteland maybe for decades, although there is casino and hotel whispering.
Draper and Kramer has plans to replace many of the buildings of Lake Meadows, some for condo buildings. Heavy displacement is likely despite disclaimers as recently as July 11 2011 that they only want one new high rise and facelift for shopping center pending a major redo and expansion.

Others to watch: 47th and Cottage Grove proposed development (including demo of the Booker Bldg), whether Muntu Dance gets built at 47th and Greenwood, Windermere, Narraganset, friend center, UC warehouse on Stony at 56th, Boarders on 53rd, Dorchester Commons (53rd), Cottage Grove, Washington Park neighborhood, Quad Club and adjacent houses, Meadville-Lombard Seminary (57th), Chicago Theological Seminary including Seminary Co-op Bookstore.
Watch for a public meeting this winter on Lab School expansion projects.

And there are infrastructure concerns-- from its aging and sufficiency to broadband wiring to the rail embankments and viaducts and potholes-- in some respects falling apart.

In development in a broader sense, the University of Chicago has indicated it seeks pathway and illumination changes for Nichols Park (53rd to 55th at Kenwood Ave.). Nichols is in the TIF district. This interest has been made known to the Chicago Park District. Nichols, like most of the parks in the area has a Framework Plan-- most framework plans have had few of their recommendations implemented. A continuing question re Nichols and TIF objectives is the height and suggestions for at least partial removal of "barrier" lilacs along 53rd St. Some pocket parks like Elm have been fingers as breeders of undesirable behaviors and changes or elimination suggested.

Harper Court. (The web hub of our substantial reports and tracking on this subject starts with Harper Court Sale homepage and February 2010 Vermilion Presentation, July 12 presentation.)
Harper Court, in the 5200 block of S. Harper and now stretching to Lake Park and in the 53rd St. TIF District, is the longest going topic, and the one generating the most long term heat, since Promontory Point. Joint owners University of Chicago and City of Chicago selected from an initial 11 responders to their RFP (2008) in February 2010 Vermilion Developers and team. After hearing little over several months, on July 12 2010 a full revised site plan was presented and request of $23.4 million of the 114 million cost of phase I. Decision needed to be fast, they said, because federal opportunities for interest-free bonds would expire at the end of the year. At the alderman's direction, at a subcommittee meeting July 19 full financial projections were set forth. Another presentation and Q & A were held for Coalition for Equitable Community Development July 20. The TIF met in special session July 26 and after an abbreviated presentation, mainly on objectives met since the TIF and planning started about 2000 and the financials, the full TIF council voted to approve the $23 million for Harper with proviso of continued consultation. City timetable for approvals will be in Harper Ct. home.
Report on the July 12, 2010 presentation and request for TIF funding. See also Harper Sale homepage.

On Vermilion: Their site: One article about:

Harper Court was originally set up in the mid 1960s to house small businesses, especially arts related following elimination of much business space during Urban Renewal, and was paid for with government loan, U of C, and public subscription and governed by a non-profit board. A combination of stray from purpose in the business mix and increasing structure obsolescence and decay led the Foundation to decide to sell the center. When news of negotiations finally came out, there was an eruption of hostility based on perceptions of process and property transfer, abandonment of a public purpose, and for some desire to rehabilitate the structures. A string of workshops was held by HPKCC and others. Eventually the University of Chicago bought the complex and at the request of the Alderman, the site was combined with the obsolete city of Chicago parking lot and later a structure on 53rd Street and an RFP later put out for public review then issued. Further workshops including three professionally run 53rd Street Vision (collaboratively under the TIF District) and a very successful online survey conducted by HPKCC produced much public input on how a great retail and mixed use development could revitalize the 53rd business district, Lake Park Avenue, the Court, and the 53rd-Lake Park intersection gateway. HPKCC issued a condensed set of principles for guiding Harper Court Area Redevelopment and sent numerous reports and position letters to the TIF, the previous foundation owner, the University, the alderman and the city. These included insistence that affordable replacement space be found in the community for businesses displaced from Harper Court (and Harper Theater/Herald buildings-- these are linked in the Harper Court Sale homepage.)

Start with Harper Court Sale homepage portal to catch the latest, find the links to history, studies, reports, the RFP, archives of the controversy, and viewpoint and UC news websites. See there also HPKCC's letter to the Herald on what it expects and what it will be watching for in the project.

Harper Theater and Herald Building. In December 2010 James Hennessy head of UC Real Estate, sent a letter to the Southside Preservation Action Fund confirming the University's serious intent to renovate and lease both the shops and the theater. Additional facade work was under way. Meanwhile ArtHereArtNow continued to use parts of the shops. Details on the decision to save and reuse, from June 2011 Conference Reporter- own page.

Study commissioned by HPKCC shows structure sound and adaptable; UC hiring exterior repairs, plans to remove scaffolding, seeking tenants. See in Theater RFP page or Southside Preservation Action Fund page.
March 30, 2010, the firm of Klein and Hoffman, hired by the University, began simple facade repairs and evaluation of need for further facade work for the Herald and Theater buildings. If the latter is not too extensive and expensive, they will proceed to further work then remove the scaffolding, which was generally considered an eyesore. Fix up was done ahead of the July 25 53rd St. festival, and the facade and some space on 53rd will hold art in September and October.
Part of this gateway anchor facility at 53rd and Harper in the 53rd TIF District is on the Chicago Commission on Landmark's Orange list as of historic significance. Locally active architect Horatio Wilson designed it in 1913. At various times it served as a live and movie venue, although before it closed in 1999 it often drew a not-so-nice crowd and was not kept up well kept. After the University of Chicago bought it, lengthy study led to an RFP for a vibrant mixed use development. The firm chosen found it was cheaper to do historic restoration to the facade and redevelop the interior. The plan was rejected and the developer fired in a controversy over whether sustainable retailers of the kind the University envisioned could be signed. The property was emptied of tenants and has sat shrouded in scaffolding since mid 2008. A recent structural engineer evaluation concluded the complex is structurally sound and could be adaptively reused. The University has said its decision on the complex will wait at least for sorting out nearby Harper Court. At least one finalist for the latter has suggested adaptive reuse for the complex. 5
TheaterRFPguidelines has the story and the RFP and link to the history and architecture of the Theater/Herald complex, plus material on adaptive reuse or restoration of theaters. There is strong feeling by a part of the community that we need a movie house and or live theater in that area; others point to problems with other theaters and business facts.

Lot north of the Narragansett (1640 E. 50th). Owner had put this parking lot out for parking lease. A corporation with a majority of the spaces is in foreclosure and the ultimate owner is reviving plans for a high rise. Neighbor residents are very disturbed at this in an area with little off street parking. The present alderman indicated this would be an issue for the next alderman.

Del Prado. At 5307 S. Hyde Park Blvd. (not in the 53rd TIF), this was one of our large resort hotels from the 1910s, located at a key corner, 53rd and South Hyde Park Blvd., once closer to the lake shore. It once attracted many notables due in part to its proximity to the Sisson (Hampton House) and Chicago Beach Hotels and the latter's 2nd life as Fifth Army Headquarters. Later it was neglected but at least had affordable housing. The original thought (and expectation apparently by the Alderman) of Antheus/MAC Properties was to rehab it friendly to seniors and others of medium income. The plan became a gut rehab into high-end rental apartments with restored and adapted common areas and former ballrooms into restaurant and retail, for which purpose the owner went to zoning to allow restaurants serving alcohol and with more intense uses. A controversy arose with the city over rehabilitation with modest height increase of an addition on the roof that once housed the famed House of Eng restaurant and lounge. HPKCC was one of many groups that supported the changes, which were granted. Work goes forward, but there are questions about sufficient parking, which is not provided for the Del Prado or the East Park View building across the street, which MAC is also rehabbing for middle and high-end rental. Whether the last word has been said is unknown.
Find feature in the Antheus page. See also Local Option Zoning for Liquor and Other spot and re-zoning.

The Shoreland. One of Chicago's grand. legendary hotels from the early 1920s. Many celebrities lived there, and common spaces including the lobby and two ballrooms were amazing and historic. Rescued by the University in the 1920s and used as a rather high-density dormitory. The University restored the facade before selling to a developer. The vetted adn approved planned use development would have demolished much of the historic space for parking and condo units. Financial vagaries et al led to two sales of the property even before the dormitory closed. Antheus Capital gave long thought to redevelopment and various options, settling upon restoration of the common spaces with historic credits, which requires less parking than many of the neighbors want, and rental units- considerably fewer than either the dorm or the approved plan but likely with restaurants and meeting and event spaces. Therefore, the owner will have to go back to the the city for amendment of the Planned Development, with support of the alderman. Antheus (Silliman division) held many stakeholder and small group meetings, then a large public meeting at which the plan met with general approval except from near neighbors. Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference was one of several organizations that supported the process and the redevelopment concept. The owner is now negotiating with the 5490 South Shore apartments to try to reach an agreement, particularly on parking provision. The length of this process was, at the end of 2009, irritating several. Having made changes to parking and traffic movement that apparently satisfied neighbors and did satisfy Ald. Hairston, the developer got the needed recommendation from the alderman and filed papers in January 2010 for a revised PUD with the city. June 21 2010 public meeting heard of latest tweaks to maximize parking while ensuring restorations. Next goes to Landmarks Commission in July 2010 then to Planning and Plan Commission. Passed Commission on Landmarks, Chicago Plan Commission, and City Council Zoning Committee in July 2010. Next City Council.
Shoreland page, Antheus/MAC page.

Solstice on the Park. Antheus and Jeannie Gang (Gang Studios) made quite a splash a few years back with this innovative, seriously green design 26-story proposal for the parking lot of Windermere House (which Antheus had just acquired). While some neighbors opposed it as changing the character of especially Cornell Ave. (the designers convincingly showed it was well within the park-fringing buildings along 56th St.), after major public meetings and real efforts to take account of input and work with surrounding neighbors including Bret Harte School, most including HPKCC resoundingly endorsed the proposal. The structure will handle its own parking. A portion of the condo units have sold (at very high prices), but movement forward awaits improvement of the economy and market and more sales.
Antheus/MAC page.

Doctors Hospital. The University is vetting with small groups and its faculty, and will soon hold a public meeting on the option of locating the Lab School's early learning through 2nd grade facility, and possibly a second building on the Doctors Hospital site. (See in Doctors Hospital development.) Below is the 2007-2008 controversy over a hotel proposal for the site (to more archived).

Update on the April 15 2010 meeting. By Jane Ciacci, HPKCC Vice President.

Attendance at Lab School meeting last week was ... less than 10 people. However, we had a chance to ask questions. The plan includes renovations to the “historic” Lab School buildings [including a new arts wing partway into Scammon Garden] as well as building the ECC where Doctors’ is. The Wilder and Lillie houses will not be affected. I think that the design concept for the new school is terrific, but I am still not satisfied that they have the parking and pickup-dropoff issues worked out. Also, the University is still reserving a strip of land right next to the Vista as they did with the hotel plan, and I am certain they have some idea of building something there later.

Jane Ciacci, who attended the public meeting on February 11 2010, comments: The audience seemed to be mainly Lab School parents, with a few neighbors thrown in. The main bone of contention in the audience seemed to be the pick-up and drop-off issue, how the separation of the campuses would affect that, and the fact that the Lab School has such a car-centric culture. Plans for both sites were presented, but the school and the architects clearly favor the Stony Island site, and it does give them more options.

The proposed hotel for this site at 5800 S. Stony Island vied in 2007 and 2008 with Harper Court as Hot Topic of the Year. In fact, it culminated in a hard-fought and close vote to dry the precinct and hence kill the project. The disagreement both brought together the most sensitive worries and values of many and split the community (pro and anti change/development/density folk and second fault line of pro and anti University, or better yes-or-no on whether the University was (some said again) becoming a bad neighbor.

The project started with the University's acquisition of this closed and increasingly derelict huge structure, which served as at first innovative Illinois Central Hospital for decades after its design c. 1913 by a very noted architectural firm and then an increasingly troubled medical facility. A University Board of Trustees member who builds and owns a large chain of hotels suggested (for whatever reasons and in whatever manner) that the University contract with his firm to build on the site two much needed hotels (short and somewhat longer term) that would serve needs of the medical center, University staff and families, Museum of Science and Industry, and the neighborhood. Conference and dining facilities would also be included. A plan was quickly announced and despite public and small meetings, it became apparent that there would not be a long period of public input and adjustment as in other recent University off-campus development projects. Vociferous opposition developed on grounds that the facility would be out of character with the residential area and street and bring noise and congestion (despite the former hospital being non-residential and probably at times noisy), was too large and out of scale, would strain already burdened infrastructure such as sewers, and as a consequence would hurt property values in the high end condominium neighboring building. Also cited/alleged were fears of insufficient parking, blocked views, that the present structure is historic (Orange rated) with its necessarily messy teardown and new construction materials being anti-green, that the architecture was not distinguished, that the proposed managing hotel firms are non union or had bad labor records, that far more hotel space was being provided than any market study could show was needed-- and what happens if the business model is wrong, and that the development is too far from business districts to help them.

While some changes were proposed, the University and developer stood firm that this is the only location (including its prestige frontage on the park and despite similar sites two blocks north and two blocks south and elsewhere in the neighborhood), the only kind of project that would work, and that the current building was unsuitable and uneconomic for adapting, in poor shape, and undistinguished. Local and statewide preservation groups commissioned an architectural firm to develop an alternative plan within University guidelines that would adapt at least part of the current structure, but this was rejected. Residents and other opponents then had a referendum placed on the ballot of the precinct that would dry the precinct for four years, in effect killing the deal. A battle royal ensued, with many outraged that near neighbors would have the power to stop a private project and an amenity others (near and further away in the neighborhood) thought needed. It also brought to a head differing visions for the future of the neighborhood. The referendum squeaked through by eight votes in November 2009.

The matter sat dormant while the University considered options for the site, ultimately deciding to bet on a much smaller boutique hotel (150 rooms) that would be a component in the proposed Harper Court Area redevelopment. For Doctors Hospital, word is that at least part of the site is likely to be proposed in early 2010 for a new early learning and primary grades for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Will neighbors think traffic and noise of children being dropped off and being picked up is any more acceptable than a hotel might have been? O the other hand, the University may well think that given the economy and devaluation of sale value (inability to use the space in a way that includes alcohol consumption), the University might as well use the site for one of its own facilities. Although the University has started conferring with small groups on the lower school concept and says it will start a public process early in 2020, it appears likely that if this will be at the Doctors Hospital site, the University will proceed with demolition and construction despite opposition.
Doctors Hospital page.

Zoning- is there too much spot zoning? Some think sections,' if not the whole neighborhood's zoning should be reviewed. Others say that if this leads to pro-active rezoning of all that "should" be (i.e. so they will be ready for a more intense, say restaurant, use, then control over each spot will be more difficult since the zoning categories are quite coarse.

University of Chicago developments and role in development. Some tall and large new University structures have opened in 2009 or shortly before, mainly at the edges of its planned development area. Center for Integral Center Science, Center for Biomedical Discovery, Comer Children's I and II, and the newly started mammoth New Hospital Pavilion have changed the center of gravity and usage on the west edge of campus and for southwest Hyde Park--a new dense research complex. And more structures are planned (including on 56th to Ellis) once the economy and endowments recover. (Gifts continue to rise, though). This sector southeast of Cottage Grove and 55th St. have been envisioned for UC buildings for 50 years, and now leave only a small slice residential-- pushing many staff and students into the larger neighborhood. The University recognizes that this sector is weak in retail and public uses and amenities, and is looking at how that and increased parking need pressure can be addressed. The University takes such needs into the mix in providing alternative transportation, although the main consideration for the latter is student safety and convenience.

Chicago Theological Seminary. Meanwhile, dispute over the replacement of Chicago Theological Seminary replacement with and renovation for Milton Friedman Institute have flared up again, including 1) gutting much of the structure likely under future plans from newly-appointed architect Ann Beha of Boston, including removal of at least part of the stained glass to (as naturally desired) the chapel of the under-construction CTS building south of the Midway negating the historic and classy religious character of the structure (Coolidge firm?) 2) alleged corporatization of the University and distortion of mission and funding in favor of those departments that bring in money, 3) governance and accountability issues. Other questions might be lack of public meetings etc. to a project adjacent to the university but (presumably) outside its planned development area, such non-communication possibly setting a new precedent.
Meanwhile, Seminary Co-op Bookstores is looking at its likely move to the current dorm and office building of CTS north of Robie House as an opportunity to redesign and become ADA accessible.
Updates in CHICAGO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY page. A complete documentation and historic assessment will be undertaken before any work is done.

Also on the edge, South Campus has gained in density and importance with a parking-office-police structure at Drexel, the huge new dormitory at 61st and Ellis, several remodeling's that increase usable space, the soon to start Chicago Theological Seminary on the hitherto sparely used east land, and --construction to start spring 2010--the immense Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts. The University still says it will not develop south of 61st Street (including new commercial development that some in Woodlawn seek), but is decidedly interacting more with Woodlawn (including with some retail components) even if, ironically, the new dorm turns its back on 61st St.

On the main campus, the Library addition is well underway, there have been many building remodeling's, and once Chicago Theological Seminary's new building is built, there will be a major reconfiguration of the area north of 58th and east of University with the Milton Friedman Center. Gravity was already shifted there with the new Booth School Harper Center, and will move more with Lab School expansion. The future of both sides of Woodlawn 57th to 58th is up for grabs as the University decides what to do with houses and McGiffert Hall there and whether to buy Meadville Schools (and what to do with Meadville's houses. The University has also assumed direct operation of the Quadrangle Club and may decide to replace houses south of that. Not looming but likely at some time are more dense configurations of the arts and theater complex north of 56th Street and replacement of Pierce dormitory. Speculation remains on what the University may do north of 55th street, including at the Friend Center at Cottage Grove, which has low land usage, and at Stagg Field south of 55th.

In May 2010 the University chose the Boston firm of Ann Beha Architects for conversion of Chicago Theological Seminary (repurposing adn expansion). The current historic structures will be a point of departure. the firm says it does contemporary design within historic context and has a large portfolio of East coast preservation projects. Future of the chapels and stained glass (some at least moves to the new CTS) as well as Seminary Co-op Books remains unknown.

Observers are concerned at other proposed or potential leapfrogging out of traditional University footprint-- part of the new Harper Court is being proposed as large University office space, possibly in a dedicated structure. Doctors Hospital on Stony Island may become home to part of the Lab School. All of this would add to the already considerable UC ownership throughout the neighborhood-- dormitories, rental residential structures, and much of the retail space, especially on parts of 53rd, 55th , and 57th Streets. Some say this presence distorts rents and prices and that the University is not a good or sagacious property manager. In addition, the University recently bought a major block of land west of Washington Park, for retail development or possibly also for University use.

There is also concern that the University seems to have trouble developing clear vision and purpose for proposed developments (not the same as having "master plans") or for managing its assets, especially far from campus, as with Harper Court. Also that University aims may be too narrowly focused on what it thinks will appeal to students and their parents or high paid faculty (who do increasingly shun living in Hyde Park as unattractive and lacking in amenities while junior faculty say they can't AFFORD to live here). Long time residents often have ideas of what they want to see in development or neighborhood character different than those of the University as an institution or than University constituencies. But the University may be the only party able muster the resources, attract good developers, and throw the weight (especially in concert with the city) to get things done.

Stay tuned!

47th Cottage Grove-47th and Cottage Shops and Lofts project given a new chance at life

Based on Hyde Park Herald, June 2, 2010, By Sam Cholke. A year after being sidelined, a scaled-back Shops and Lofts at 47th and Cottage is being resuscitated. Principal is Frank Petruziello of Skilken co. More than half of the stores are committed, thanks in part to Quad Communities. The Community Builders will develop 72 rental (no longer condo) units that are to be mixed income one- and- two bedroom apartments. A third will be public housing, the majority below market rate and about a quarter market rate.

The property is still owned by the Rands, Everett and Timothy, although the city is negotiating for it- once purchased it will be turned over to the developer. Review process starts next month, with work hoped for early next year. No word as to whether the Booker building might be spared, apparently not. Developers for this site are strong funders of Ald. Preckwinkle, who also has her hq in the building across the street also owned by the developers.

Hyde Park Herald, December 1, 2010. By Sam Cholke. Project at 47th, Cottage progresses.

The city has signed off on a new Aldi and rental apartments at East 47gh Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue -- a complicated, highly subsidized project that is likely to be the format for future development on Cottage Grove Avenue and nearby areas during the downturn in the real estate market.

"It hinges on the Aldi lease. That is because in this down market, we need 60 percent of the space leased with a national credit occupant," said Frank Petruziello, of Columbus, Ohio-based developer Skilken. According to Petruziello, there are a number of factors at work inside and outside the neighborhood that make local development difficult, particularly fo the Shops and Lofts project. The neighborhood has relatively shallow lots, making it difficult to attract national retailers who are used to dropping a predesigned building on a big open lot. But a retailer with the national reputation is necessary to get creditors on board, according to Petruziello. The housing market in the neighborhood remains flush with vacant condos and unsold units at the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation sites. To get traction on a housing project it needs to be rental -- for Shops and Lofts it meant dropping all the condos from the plan and replacing them with a mixture of subsidized and market-rate rental units.

"We have all our ducks in a row to get this closed," Petruziello tod the city's Community Development Commission on Nov. 9. the last of the "ducks" that propelled Shops and Lofts forward while other Cottage Grove Avenue projects still languish is a considerable number of government subsidies.

The city bought the property where until Nov. 19 Pappy's Liquors stood and sold it to the developers for $1, a $1.7 million rebate for the developers. To pay for infrastructure upgrades, the city authorized $8.8 million from the 43rd adn Cottage Grove tax-increment financing district, a pot of the neighborhood's property tax dollars to be used to spur local development.

The rental apartments are also heavily subsidized. The Community Builders, which is in charge of the residential portion of the development, will contribute $2.5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Progam funds it was awarded by the federal government. When the units open to tenants, 54 of the project's 72 units will have some portion of the rents paid by the government. The Chicago Housing Authority will put up the cash for 24 units and low income tax credits will help fund 30 affordable units.

Even in the booming market of a couple years ago, the project was expected to receive some TIF funding and a deal on the property, but the developers credit the added rent subsidies with getting the project back on course. "Needless to say we were close to bringing this project before (the Community Development Commission) a year ago, then the housing market collapsed," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th). Shops and Lofts is one of the final development the alderman will shepherd through the city process before leaving next month to take her new post as president of the Cook County Board.

Petruziello said he sees the immediate future development in the neighborhood as similar to the Shops and Lofts project, focusing on basic community retail that is not well represented in the local market with a complimentary rental-housing component.


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