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Meeting reports and minutes of the Hyde Park 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Preservation and Development Committee, and the HPKCC website, Help support our work: Join the Conference!

To Earlier meetings (2002-September 2003). To late 2003-2007. To July 2006 (Harper Ct.). To receive e-mail notice of TIF meetings and agendas, go to site (South East Chicago Commission) should also has the cached TIF minutes from 2004 forward If you cannot access, call 773 324-6926 for appointment or contact Irene Sherr at Community Council. The earliest minutes are likely in paper file at SECC, 4th Ward Office, and Chicago Department of Planning at City Hall.
See July 2006 meeting report by Gary Ossewaarde, in its own page.
See Report of the Nov. 15 block exercise; pics from the Nov. 15 Block exercise: or

May 11, Monday, 7 pm. 53rd St. TIF Vue53 update meeting. On behalf of the TIF Advisory Council, please be advised that the TIF Advisory Council will meet at 7 p.m. at Kenwood High (small auditorium) 5015 S Blackstone on Monday, the May 11th. The topic is an update on Vue 53 -- re construction, traffic, etc. Our apologies for the late notice, unfortunately it was difficult to confirm the location. (Wendy Williams)


Note: There are still open positions on the Committees, whose meetings are open: Call the 4th Ward Office, 773 536-8103.

July 24, 2014 meeting.

Video of the meeting, taken by Andrew Holzman.

The University, SECC, and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns inaugurated a Parking and Transportation Study Committee, with broad representation from community organizations. Pedestrian and all-modes friendliness, and determination of real parking needs with development in progress or planned in the 53rd Ellis to S Hyde Park Blvd. and Lake Park E. Hyde Park to 55th St. corridors that are the main focus. The committee commissioned a study from T.Y. Lin that was expected to be finished by early 2014, with public meetings on any recommendations to be held. Members of the committee say they never got to review the final, post-markup draft.
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. Next steps and actions will be worked out by SECC, meetings with the city, and public forums. Find the report and Power Point in PUBLIC INPUT IS SOUGHT.
According to Herald summary (July 30),
the Study found plenty of parking, but hidden or inaccessible to the general public. In all HPK there are 4,429 spaces-- 1,759 on streets and 2,670 in lots (all private- HPK has no public lots since that at Harper Ct. was sold and developed). The Report says that the premise of the report's commissioners (SECC) is that any traffic or parking problems from development can be absorbed, or reduced by discouraging automobiles, making parking more efficient, and encouraging alternative ways of getting around. (The Report indicates this is mostly true, but not for heavy development in the west-central part of HP- see below). Weekdays free on street parking is at 77% of capacity, 82% on Saturday while the paid on street parking is only 51% filled on weekdays- though 77% on Saturday, same as for the free. Public paid lots (almost equal in volume to paid street) is just 37% full weekdays and just 26% on Saturday.

Richard Gill of SECC board led the advisory group and moderated the July 2014 presentation. Presenter was Jim Considine of TY Lin. The later was the only responder to the RFP and by far the "gold standard." Lin works for communities, not developers, but gives findings and strategies based on conditions,metrics and best practices, not recommendations- communities have to determine their plans. It works worldwide, locally in Evanston and DesPlaines. Noted was that funding and time were limited, even considering that UC students and resident volunteers were engaged for on-ground surveys (starting with areal surveys). So they focused on parking (which really does matter in a community's well being and development) but did not ignore the whole "complete streets," transit, and multimodal picture. Noted: this study was a snapshot with only Harper Court of the big 3 expected developments, and that barely open and its public parking as yet little utilized.

Existing conditions. The track was to look at assets and conditions, produce strategies that the community could use to determine changes based on community preference. Pointed out is that CMAP (the regional land and transportation planning agency) has outdated projections-- little population or job growth for HPK over the next 30 years-- with result that unless they can be convinced to update, will limit the resources available to adjust change or adjust to change here. Noted also was that Hyde Park is much more dense than the citywide average as well as jobs per square mile. Yet our use of transit (especially the rail-- Metra at a meager 50% of utilization and especially low for people coming INTO Hyde Park) is lower than most of Chicago and while we have one the the strongest job centers on the South Side (UC) we have poor connections to such others as Midway Airport, IIT and UIC university and medical center. The connections are mostly north-south in general and specifically to downtown.

Parking inventory. A starting point is that 85% utilization of a street or facility is considered the full capacity point-- after that people are circling. (Roger Huff pointed out that parking is too cheap if the facility is at 95% and too expensive when much below 85%, according to such experts as Mr. Shoup of California). Parking was divided by type: free on street, metered on street, public pay lots or garages, private-use lots or garages, and shared-use. Some patterns that emerged are that parking supply is heaviest nearest the Metra/Lake Park Avenue spine.
Onstreet parking, especially free, tends to be full and at the capacity mark.
On street parking is the largest proportion of parking west
(away from transit)- and there there are few off street lots and most of them are private and difficult to make shared-use. Some the findings are likely skewed by low use of the public parking in Harper Court, which charges $4 an hour. Noted by others- valet parking for the Theater at $4 an hour was also shunned.

Complete Streets. 53rd appears to be attractive to walking already-- half of the traffic is pedestrian vs. vehicles. (Audience members pointed out that many find it hard or inconvenient to walk several blocks to spread-out favorite stores or restaurants and would like a "3rd choice" beyond bikes, like a trolley. But is was noted there is room for more friendliness to bikes and recommended was modern zebra striping of crosswalks.
Lake Park, on the other hand is definitely an auto street.

Possible Strategies.

Improve parking utilization (don't increase supply) by such means as sharing institutional lots via 3rd party management.
Use demand pricing as possible.
Get as many private facilities as possible to share use including at night.
Look at eliminating or waiving public regulations such as those requiring developers to have too much parking (resulting in expensive oversupply for which they have to charge high, resulting in tenant/owner flight to overfill free street parking). Noted- some of the new developments are indeed providing more even than the regulations require.
In connection with above, push developers to reduce their parking and share with other facilities. NOTED- IN WEST HYDE PARK THERE ARE FEW SUCH FACILITIES OR SHARABLE ONES AND ON STREET PARKING IS HEAVILY USED- that is a limit needing attention.
Tied to above- encourage transit-linked development, develop close to the Metra-Lake Park spine. (question raised but not addressed- to what extent do the internal and external bus routes act as transit applicable to these equations?)
Make 53rd St. greener, safer, more multi-modal. (Any strategies for Lake Park and its expected increase in signals?)

Apply Complete Streets principles and strategies (see next section).
Persuade CMAP to revise its projections.

Complete Streets for Sustainable Development:
Retrofit, calm intersections and cross walks
Support and make room for alternative modes.
Move away from parking lots in front of retail.
Encourage employees and others coming to the neighborhood to use transit.
Encourage transit oriented, transit-close (1/4 mile) development

Questions and comments. Many focused on getting developers to limit or balance their impacts including shared use parking and not doing things that encourage tenants to turn to street parking while expensive lots/garages go empty. Also discussed was maximizing alternatives so all people's needs are met-- touted was trolley (there will be a survey on use). The Gray/Gold Line idea for Metra utilization upgrade and tying in to CTA was discussed.
Asked was web access to the study (in http.// and one or more forums on best plans-- will follow discussion with city experts and possibly a meeting of advisory board with SECC board. Note that Mr. Considine and Mr. Gill frankly said the study was focused (partly for reasons of funds) and the many more components have to brought into the mix.


Not TIF but of interest- February 4, Monday, 4 pm. UC Community meeting on a new project and planned development for 5200 S. Cottage Grove. We would like to invite you to a community meeting to discuss a proposed new project and Planned Development. The University of Chicago owns land in the 5200 block of South Cottage Grove, which includes a vacant parcel (previously the site of a CTA bus barn) and an existing one-story building. Our proposal includes constructing a new two-story building on the vacant parcel.
The meeting date and location: Monday, February 4, 6:00 p.m. Friend Center 800 East 55th Street, Classroom B-319. We look forward to seeing you to review specifics about our proposed development. Additionally, I can be reached at 773-702-6422. Please note:

· If you are driving to the meeting, please travel on 55th Street, head north on Ellis Avenue and immediately turn west onto the “old” 55th Street. Proceed past the Ronald McDonald House (turreted building on the north side of the street) and park in the parking lot. The lot is ADA accessible and has designated ADA parking spaces.
· If you require an ADA accessible entrance, one is available on 55th Street towards the east side of the building, as marked.

Anyone who wants to see or have the 2010 or subsequent 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

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. 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.

Presented at the February 18, 2014 53rd TIF meeting:

•Liquor licenses - Ja Grill, Pork Chop and Native Foods (Harper Court); Harper Theater - Tony Fox
•Retail updates - James Hennessy, University of Chicago - Former Dunkin Donuts space becoming the U of C Police Station
•New signage on building located at 1301-09 East 53rd Street
•Chicago Innovations Exchange (space above A10) - John Flavin

May 13, 2013 regular TIF meeting. (by Gary Ossewaarde)

(Follow up meeting May 22- the TIF consented to the allocation recommendation)

Ilene Reizner presiding. There was no quorum.
Desired is an understanding between the SSA board and the 53rd St. recommending to Ald. Burns that as the TIF take in increment funds, it allocate to the SSA the amount equal to the SSA assessment. This was said to allow a lower tax rate and allow both more flexibility and controls in fulfilling mutual goals of the two bodies. . Such an agreement was not possible at the meeting of May 13 due to lack of TIF AC quorum. Chief presenter on the SSA was Wendy Walker of SECC.

Christopher Dillion of Vermillion/Harper Court partners and Ed Small of Smart Hotels gave updates with renderings and blueprints. Space is 95% leased and has 223 underground parking spaces for Harper Court office building and the hotel. Above ground will serve the retail. LAZ Parking will manage parking. Plan is to keep the rates lower than on the street for now then adjusted esp. to make sure the parking isn't being taken by Metra commuters.

Turnover to tenants for buildout should start about June 10 with spaces along 53rd opening first. Dedication will be in September. 44% of ground-floor space is leased to Chicago businesses and all in Harper Court street. The configuration as known was given (there are still two spaces not ready for announcement). There was a question about a possible large sign on the office building advertising the University of Chicago. The hotel will open in September, being fitted now with porcelain block tiles.

Peter Cassel of Antheus gave an update. First work at City Hyde Park will begin in late summer- sewer relocation for or at the PB station. New retail has been leased and will be soon announced. Whole Foods has a hard opening date of September 2015. Leasing signage has gone up on the Sutherland. Shoreland will have people moving in late summer and early fall.

Hyde Park Bank's president Mike McGarry fielded questions on its acquisition by Wintrust and management from Beverly Bank (where loan services have moved).




(By Gary Ossewaarde)

May 7 2013 the Planning and Development Committee of the 53rd St. TIF held an open hearing at Kenwood Academy Auditorium, presided by Chuck Thurow with c. 150 attending. No actions were required and the meeting was held at the request of Ald. Burns and because changes had been made to the plans. At the end Ald. Burns endorsed the project, citing community process and transparency, changes made since the January meeting (and further airing will be done by the city particularly of traffic and parking); the project will make for a better place, growth, and jobs. The agenda: Reprise and update of the project by the developer (Mr. Hanson of Mesa), and taking of questions and endorsements on mixes of uses and density, massing and design, traffic and parking.
The main changes were completion of the traffic and shadow studies, addition of 12 parking spaces (5%, which will no longer be divided between tenants and shoppers and include two for employees, and more screening), movement of the loading area further away from Kenwood, further rationalization and placement of entries and elevators, reduction to 13 rather than 14 occupied floors although overall it's equivalent to 14.

In the presentation, Jim Hanson of Mesa, and team emphasized that the development would not take funds from the TIF but would generate funds expected to be $1 million a year. David Hanson of Mesa discussed the site, history (Visioning public meetings, small group discussions including with every organization, January 30 TIF public meeting, city department of planning- all city and many community suggestions were incorporated and the project/planned development and rezoning were approved by Dept. of Planning and Development and other departments.
Principles/objectives: increase economic activity, reflect diversity, include affordable housing, no public subsidy, more retail, eliminate a gap in the smile of west 53rd St. Cost c. $75 million.
Items reflecting community feedback- increased affordable housing, reduced height a floor (from 144 to 135 feet), added residences and screening on the parking floor, increased parking spaces from 218 to 230 (5%), and moved the tower to the southwestern corner, to reduce shadows, loading dock (in the back and enclosed) west from Kenwood.
Reflecting city feedback- modified the service access (moved to the west) and moved the parking and retail access and elevators to the east. There are ample amenities, it's smart environmentally including LEED Silver, visual interest, the green terrace pause at the 4th floor, set back on the west on the street side and east side on the back/Kenwood side, upper floors occupying only 40% of the footprint despite a short front to back distance. Retail (30,000 sq. ft.) will be divided into a number of stores of 3,000 to 17,000 sq. ft.) in both the east block and the west block-- far from big box though larger than many current stores on the street. Lots of glass along the street. Shadow studies revealed little additional shadow over the present.
He stressed that there are lots of tall buildings scattered here and there, though most heavily toward the east. He stressed the need for a FAR of 5, as Harper Court has. And said it fits the definition and distances for transit-oriented development according to Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Regional Transportation Authority. Also, the traffic study by KLOA revealed no net increase in traffic, though the distribution through the day would change (more in the morning). CDOT rates traffic A-F: in order to pass muster the PD has to rate of A or B. Under 50% of Hyde Parkers own cars. The site has 230 parking spaces v. zoning minimum of 200. There will be 2 Zipcar spaces and 225 bicycle spots. 3-4 spaces are being added to the street and the pedestrian experience enhanced by elimination of several curb cuts.

Questions and answered, as a previous meetings, were grouped by category: Mix of uses and density, Massing and density, Traffic and parking.

(Overall, Q and A was certainly divided between supporters and opponents, many of whom made it clear they wanted significant adjustments, not scrapping the project. A major concern with with setting a precedent-- the new development changes the "character" and makes it even harder to say "no" to the next proposal. UC Vice President was asked what and whether the university plans or wants to build more like it-- he replied "no more of this height."
Another concern was that even the 3,000 sq. ft. stores would be larger than and able to out compete? most of the stores on 53rd St. and the trade might not even sustain such large stores. There were concerns about traffic congestion and safety for Murray children-- fears denied by many.)

Mixed uses an density. Who is the market for? 30% 2-bedroom, 55% 12-bedroom, 15% studio. They want to avoid making it a student place, although no one can be turned away or targeted by their category.
Appreciation was expressed for the affordable set aside and for accommodating seniors needs. Some fear was expressed that "affordable" would bring undesirable or student, and who decides who qualifies for affordable.The city has standards, metrics and they will be equitable in the distribution of the affordable units throughout the complex.
Appreciation was expressed for eyes on the street from both retail and residents. That the large store spaces would be subdivided.
Fear that the new (brand-new) units will drive rents or house demand/prices down.
Believe they are bringing a new and different product into the market.

Massing and design. Some blasted the design, others praised. The architect, Valerio, has experience here- Lab School.
Too big/high, standing out v. not that much.
What's next on UC agenda?
Douglas- no more that height for 53rd St. The high one is in the right spot here.
Zoning is meant to protect, give expectation. This is spot zoning. Grady: zoning is not meant to be static or hamstring a community.
Same density can be achieved with lower building.
Not here. Also, this was planned here because it was a gap, not tear down viable mid sized. The norm is Kimbark Plaza.
Asked for a clear picture from straight-on. (a poster board was shown by resident showing this project twice-plus as high as adjacent).
Shadows not shown at the most damaging times of year and day; assertion of drop in nearby residential properties of 10-15% because of the shadows alone.
Chamber-- business welcomes this, including it not being squat.
People here don't want cutting-edge and futuristic.
Want the jobs including for construction.
Will work to exceed requirements , fairs etc.

Traffic and parking. Remediation? As much as required.
Congestion- These people won't use cards because of transit (disagreements, Kimbark Plaza and Murray cited). Getting rid of a gas station and carwash.
Will the developer/manager help pay for a trolley? Via the added taxes.
Put parking underground? Cost and high water table, and to keep within budget both for financing and for LEED certification and credits.
Objection that Mesa and University should have skin in the game on traffic and parking.
Brumfield-- the TIF strongly supports this plan.

Alderman Burns stressed open transparent process, willingness of the developer to listen, need for more people and density, jobs, retail that people said they want, the amenities, the changes made. Wants a better Hyde Park. Will continue to work on parking and transportation.

January 30 2013 (no meeting in November, and this replaced the January 14 meeting). Chuck Thurow presided in absence of Ilene Jo Reizner.

The bulk of this meeting was presentation and discussion of the McMobil development in the 1300 block of east 53rd St. north side. See details and discussion and concerns from this and smaller preceding meetings in the 53rd-McMobil page.
Of greatest interest were parking and traffic arrangements and impacts, whether the project is in keeping with the area and 53rd, whether prices (apart from affordability) will put it within reach of many living here now.
Because of the seriousness of concerns the Planning and Development committee will be convened by Chuck Thurow and co-chair to vet design and traffic.

City Hyde Park- After a brief presentation by Peter Cassel (earliest start is fall of 2013 with 2 , the Council voted to give a letter of recommendation and support to the Alderman to committing up to $11 million in funds over remaining years of the new 51st St. TIF to in part fill the funding gap for City Hyde Park.
Also approved was to endorse stretching the boundaries of Enterprise Zone #6 down Lake Park Ave. and include the City Hyde Park site in the zone. Such involves availability of Illinois tax exemptions.

Traffic changes under consideration with CDOT:
Add a left turn signal to northbound Lake Park at E. Hyde Park Blvd.
To prevent the latter intersection from changing from a "B" to an "F", add a signal light at the site entry-exit on Lake Park at the se corner just north of the BP station. (CDOT is proposing also a signal at 52nd St.)
These matters will be discussed at the Planning and Development Committee meeting mentioned above.
Harper Street opening (ongoing)

Special taxing district (SSA) -presentation by Jim Pomeyirou (sp): the committee met for the first time-- there will be many meetings and a long process. Boundary for now is that of the 2 TIFs. There was some discussion about this and the composition of the board.
See 53rd SSA page.

No September meeting



Presiding: Jo Reizner.
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 important attractor 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 benefits.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.

July 9, 2012

The meeting was relatively short due to AC being off and environmental upgrades underway at Kenwood Academy.
Draft of the April 53rd St. Vision exercise final report was distributed for comment (due Monday July 16) - call SECC for a copy or the web link.

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?

May 14 2012 (March was cancelled).

AT THE MAY 14 2012 TIF MEETING, the University (lead Joe Antunovich of Antunovich and Associates, with attorney Danielle Meltzer-Cassel) discussed splitting the former Borders building into FOUR separate retail spaces and complete redesign and replacement of the exterior- BY OCTOBER 2012. (Said by the architect to encourage people to come and stay and bring it into line with Harper Court, but others have opined it resembles a waffle house. Rectangle with zinc panels, full glass front and back, no setback on 2nd story.) Akari will have 7,605 sf of the 23,000, southwest first floor will have 3,778, 2nd floor will have two spaces of 6,990 in front and 4,347 in the rear.

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 the rezoning from B-1-to B-3 was recommended by the council.
Also: supported by Burns to start the process on exploration, creating an SSA special taxing district.

January 9, 2012.

Ilene Jo Reizner is now chair.

Antheus Capital's development arm Silliman Group , owner of Village Center, announced it would seek transfer of up to $10 million of any future increment on its Village Center (north of Harper Court) property, once redevelopment of Village Center is complete. Antheus says the cost of redevelopment rose from $100 M when it bought the property in 2005 to to $145 M estimated today. This would be $10 M or 40% of a $25 M shortfall it says it has in assembling financing. Silliman rep. Peter Cassel said they are seeking other tax subsidies as well. The Advisory Council referred the matter to its Planning and Development Subcommittee for a meeting February 1, 6:45 pm at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell, which will have a presentation by architect Studio Gang and discuss the possibilities of assistance for Village Center. Cassel thought such help will not conflict with TIF priorities or overtop commitments, and that this business has to be of note now because any such increment would have to pass through the TIF's books. Perhaps they expect the value of VC to be enhanced at a faster pace because of Harper Court redevelopment?

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.


November 14 2011.

Howard males announced his "retirement" as chair.

Nov. 16 Herald asks, TIF District out of cash? It depends. [based on Nov. 14 TIF Advisory Council meeting] By Sam Cholke

The 53rd street Tax Increment Financing District could lose its ability to fund new projects in hyde Park because of a tax break for commercial properties, according to developers of the Harper Court project, who are concerned about their own funding stream from the district.

Earlier this year, the tax rate on commercial properties was cut and the burden shifted to residential property owners. The local TIF district captures revenue from commercial property taxes and could experience a shortfall because of the tax change. The redevelopment of Harper Court into retail and a office tower could be damaged because it relies on a stream funding from the TIF to finance construction.

"In the best case scenario, there really is no change," Dave Cocagne, president and CEO of Vermilion Development, told the TIF's advisory council at a Nov. 14 meeting. In the worst case scenario, the $23.4 million promised by the TIF to support the development would be short by up to $1 million and the district would have no surplus revenue to spend on other projects [or the city's recently increased administrative charge]. "So frankly, all of this depends on how the project is assessed," he said.

Cocagne's hope is that county tax assessors overvalue the project and run up the property tax bill. That increased property tax revenue would go into the TIF district and help fund the promised $23.4 million bill for Harper Court

The property is a "unique asset," according to Michael Laube, an accountant hired to assist on the project's financing. He said it was difficult to determine how the completed development would be valued because the assessor changed the tax equation and there are few comparable projects in Hyde Park to judge against.

If the project does come up short it wouldn't be the taxpayers -- or the developers -- on the hook: $12 million of the promised payments from the TIF were sold as a note to MBFinancial in exchange for a lump sum up front to pay for construction. MBFinancial built a reserve into the deal, but once that is depleted, it could be left holding the bag.
[But separate is there possibility that there will be a zero balance in the TIF for anything else or even that there will be administrative deficit owed to the city?]

Chicago Maroon, November 15, 2011. Harper Court project may loose $1.25 million to tax ordinance [this story has some additional info on the Nov. 14 TIF meeting and SOME COMMUNITY OBJECTIONS AND CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROJECT, particularly parking by construction workers.] By Celia Bever

Developers of the Harper Court retail center met with the Hyde Park 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council to address fears about the project's financing in the face of recent tax reforms, as well as to assuage community members' concerns about the development's community impact.

David Cocagne, president and CEO of Vermilion Development and Christopher Dillion, the company's managing director, reported that the project's financing is secure, though they admitted that the budget surpluses they expected initially now seem unlikely. "The original projections were overly optimistic," Cocagne said. The project was expected to have a $20,000 annual surplus. However, with the 2009 passage of Cook County's 10/25 Ordinance, tax rates on the commercial property have dropped, which may cost the project $1.25 million in TIF funding. The ordinance may hit the incoming surplus for upcoming years as well, though possible solutions include seeking private sector funding, pursuing development elsewhere in the 53rd Street TIF district, and extending the time from for the district's TIF debt from 24 years to 36 years.

Still, Beth McGuire, the city's project manager, insisted the project will still have sufficient money for completion, citing the banks' confidence in the endeavor. "Nobody would be approving this if there wasn't enough money to pay for it," she said. The project has already secured funding for its first phase, which includes retail, parking space, and an office tower which the University has already leased.

Students and community members aired their concerns as well. First-year and Southside Solidarity Network (SSN) member Sofia Flores objected to a Hyatt Hotel that wil be built there. SSN objects to TIF funding being used to support a project that works with the Hyatt, which SNN claims mistreats its employees. "We want to make sure the workers have rights.," Flores said.

Kiley Russel, owner of Big Girl Cosmetics on South Harper Avenues off 53rd street, claimed that construction workers are hurting business by taking up parking spaces in the area. "We're being crushed," she said.

Construction on Harper Court began in August and will conclude by summer 2013.



September 12, 2011. In addition to elections, information on Harper Theater, and 3 announcements, there seemed some confusion in September 2011 when it was learned changes in tax assessment between commercial (lowered) and homeowner (raised) could reduce 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 what goes to the Developer to repay the loans may. A meeting of the Planning and Development Committee will be scheduled when there is more information and the chair has returned to town. The developer says final financing should be signed by the end of September (happened late October.)


July 13, 2011.

Susan Campbell of U of C announced UC is under contract to buy the Borders and convert it to one or several core-goods retail and/or restaurants.

She also announced that the UC will put out a RFP for the Mobil/McDonalds site or a mixed use planned development (RFQ first). It would be retail 1st floor and residential above. She said they are testing the waters.


March 7. The Planning and Development Committee of the 53rd TIF Advisory Council met in open session on the PROPOSED HOTEL FOR HARPER COURT. Report in Harper Court and below.
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.

POSTPONED- TBA. October 17, Monday, 6:30 pm. 53rd St. TIF Advisory Council Subcommittee on Planning and Development meets in open session with reps. from Vermilion/Harper Court Partners at Hyde Park Art Center, 5010 S. Cornell. Agenda: An update by Vermilion Development on the use of TIF dollars for the Harper Court Project. This is an opportunity for community members to hear where things stand with the project and ask questions. Any reply should go to

The next regular TIF meeting is November 14, 2011. 7 pm, Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone.


Next Parking Committee meeting will be announced. The most recent was on June 25- see Parking District page. Chair Ilene Jo Reizner.

The Neighborhood Business and Environment Committee (Repair and Rehabilitation). Co chairs: Andre Brumfield and Jane Comiskey- meeting will be announced.

The Planning and Development Committee vets developer proposals and strategic initiatives. Chair Chuck Thurow, cochair Mich Cohen. Meeting on design of Harper Court September 20, 2010, Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell.

March 14 2011.

Herald says the TIF council applauded the hotel plan at the March 14 full meeting. (The presentation was said by others to be reduced from that March 7 and there were virtually no questions v March 7.) March 16, 2011 by Sam Cholke

Developers presented plans for a hyatt hotel to the 53rd street Tax Increment Financing District advisory council on March 14. The council responded positively after on of its committees was critical of the hotel design and the architect revamped the renderings. The 130-room hotel will be a central feature in the redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center, which will also include numerous retail spaces, an underground parking garage and an office tower.

The full council was more approving of plans to put the attention of the hotel's activity on three sides, partially ignoring the current alley entranceway to the city parking lot. "The rear of VAlois does not look attractive," said council chair Howard Males. "I have no eyes for aesthetics at all, but I have a nose for garbage." Council member Chuck Thurow chimed in to add that it would be more of a city street than it currently is after the developer opens in the spring of 2013. The audience appeared to passively agree, leaving the issue to rest, and instead asking about the possibility of a continental breakfast being served at the new hotel.

The council remained critical of the business plan for the hotel and member Ilene Jo Reizner questioned Smart Hotels President Ed Small about how many rooms the hotel would need to be occupied to turn a profit. Small hedged before stating that about 70 percent of the rooms would need to be booked continuously. "The University... and the medical center give us a base of demand that allows us to expand to serve the rest of the community," S,a;; assured.

Also at the meeting, Tony Fox, who will operate a new five-screen theater across the street from the hotel, clarified some of his plans with New 400 of Rogers Park. The theater wil focus on art films and show some mainstream movies, he said There will be one screen setup to project digital 3-D films, he added.

Other questions asked were about safety and security in the future Harper Court and getting people around, including commitment to having a trolley.

TIF, Kenwood Academy has trouble getting CPS and the City to fork over the money for bleachers promised long ago (see minutes of May 2010 meeting)- principal asks what's going on! at March 14 TIF meeting. Or TIF 101 and City That Works (?) 102.

Herald, March 23, 2011. By Sam Cholke

Last May, the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District advisory council approved money for bleachers and a scoreboard for Kenwood Academy. The principal was grateful for the financial backing, but a the March 14 meeting she said she began to get impatient when the funds had not yet been released. "Our bleachers are really not in a condition where students should be sitting on them at all," said Elizabeth Kirby, principal of the school at 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. "Our scoreboard, you can't really tell who is winning or losing, you really have to pay attention to the game."

On May 10, the council approved giving the school $59,110, which would release a matching grant from the Chicago Public Schools for $35,000. The council is an advisory body for the 4th Ward alderman on how property tax revenue should be spent within the TIF district. the money was approved under former Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, who was succeeded by Shirley Newsome. The current alderman was not available by press time, but Mae Wilson, chief of staff for both Newsome and Preckwinkle before her, said the office was aware of the issue.

"This is a time that things don't get done -- that doesn't mean that they're not important," Wilson said. It's a "time of transition" in many city departments, she explained, adding, "People are changing at City Hall."

Staff from the Department of Housing and Economic Development said the money was never released because the TIF coffers were too depleted. "There was not enough to fund the bleachers on top of the other projects that were moving forward," said Peter Starzzabosco, a spokesman for the department. "That doesn't mean there won't be more funds in the district in the future."

Tax increment financing districts work by freezing the amount of property tax revenue going to municipal agencies adn city coffers for 23 yeas. If property values rise, increasing tax revenues, the extra funds go into the TIF account to be used to fund projects within the TIF's borders.

The city projects the 53rd Street TIF will collect more than $831,000 each year through 2012. The district recently committed $86,000 for a study on reopening Harper Avenue to through traffic, $157,000 for job training programs [CARA/CleanSlate}, $500,000 for the small business improvement fund an $150,000 for Canter Middle School. [$893,000, assuming the figures are right and all from the same annual pot, or 62 k more than annual income.] The district will soon begin committing the first chunk of a $23,4 million subsidy for the $114 million redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center.

According to documents released by the city, the TIF is expected to end the year with $754, 806 in available funds.

Howard Males, chair of the TIF council, said the body had asked for regular updates on all money it recommends spending. "It's not going as fast as any of us want," Males said. At the March 14 meeting, Males and the council renewed their commitment to find funding for the bleachers and scoreboard.

Kirby appeared somewhat appeased by the council's pledge. "I'm not sure what's going on downtown," she said. Kirby did not return calls asking whom she had contacted at the city when the money was not forthcoming. "I do know that patience is a virtue when it comes to government appropriations," Males said, adding that the council will continue to work on getting the money for the bleachers.

[This source was told that Mr. Males was able to make connections at the meeting to unlock the bureaucratic tieup.]


March 7 subcommittee meeting on the Hotel Plan (more in Harper Court Sale page)

Summary by Gary Ossewaarde, who attended the March 7 meeting.

The March 7 meeting of the 53rd St. TIF Planning and Development Subcommittee was convened at Hyde Park Art Center by Chuck Thurow and Rich Cohen, co-chairs. Presents with the audience of about 30 were representatives of Vermilion/Harper Court Partner, Smart, Olympia, some partners, and Susan Campbell from the University of Chicago.

Smart and Olympia (the latter formed in 1969 and runs hotels for various chains) were arrived at via RFP to which a dozen firms responded and five were flown in. Smart and Olympia were chosen because they adhere to specific principals highlighted for Harper Court including pedestrian friendliness, celebratory of Hyde Park and the project's architectural context, have done similar projects especially with university campuses, combine development and operational experience, and have non-generic examples. They have a project near Midway and 1120 in Oak Park. They would bring the Hyatt Place brand and thus work with McCormick Place overflow and be able to be innovative. Some of the things in this project, particularly the panel materials, would be improved state of the art. The name is expected to be Hyatt Place at Hyde Park.

The hotel arrangement and materials are limited by both budget and the prescribed footprint. Thus there will be only a modest meeting space- certainly not a conference center. And no rooftop, although that was said partly to concentrate energy at street level. They will do everything possible to accommodate the largely service drive on the south side, which faces in many cases the backdoors of 53rd St. businesses. There will be underground connections to other parts of the complex, but mainly to accommodate access to parking (which enters ultimately from 52nd St.). There will be approximately 130 rooms. The pricing was not discussed. Nor was whether there might be labor problems considering that Hyatt is among the big players that have an ongoing expired contract.

Graphics disappointed, but that was partly due to florescent lights, when these were off it looked better, and so did samples of the paneling. Some thought it looked more like an office building or 19th century factory.

The 6-story hotel will front on Harper Avenue at 52nd Place. The entry and valet parking will be at the northwest corner, with an outdoor cafe leading into a high-ceiling lobby with a wine bar. The parking elevator and service entry will be just around the southwest corner. Back of the house spaces will be along the south face, which will have little 1st-floor window space until one reaches the retail southeast corner. Retail reaches around the east side and a fitness center will be open glass along the north face that is on the Harper Court retail street. The West side will be a kind of glowing glass (LED), the north part of this wall also having a reflective brownish panel material and the south part a lighter reflective zinc panel material. Moving upwards, rooms will be oriented in all four directions, windows on the south, north, and east will punch through large sections of either the brownish or light zinc paneling. There will be a couple sections without variation made by windows because the rooms face in four different directions. Presenters said there will be much variation in the paneling, especially as they weather, but some in the audience suggested doing something to break up those large sections visually. The two treatments will sweep past each other at top or bottom so there will be a sense of "hanging together." The treatments are intended to echo architectural treatments and colors of buildings in the area. They will strive for Silver LEED certification. For example, the panel materials are insulating.

At the end Chuck Thurow pronounced it "moving in the right direction." A repeat presentation would be part of the regular TIF meeting the next week.

January 10, 2011. (There was no November 2010 meeting.)

Reports from the January 12, 1011 Hyde Park Herald

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.

The TIF council took no official actions beyond approving its minutes. Chairman Howard Males said teh council would continue to conduct its routine business until an alderman was named. The alderman appoints board members, who advise on use of the the TIF property tax money. "Just because one position is vacant, it doesn't mean that the opinions of tens of thousands of people stop," Males said.

Males said that one of the TIFs' sponsored programs, the street cleaning service CleanSlate, was briefly suspended in January when a number of TIF contracts came under review. He said the lost time would be made up at the end of the contract period.

The next TIF meeting is scheduled for March. Males said he might call a special meeting in February to discuss progress on the redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center.


October 4, 2010. A special meeting was held to catch up on Vermilion/Harper Court Partners' presentation to committee September 20 (see below) and any modifications (slight) since.

Minutes of the Sept. 13 meeting were approved. A simplified presentation was followed by some questions. Emphasis was on impression and interaction with surroundings of the office-retail Lake Park bldg. and the Harper Court street, and materials. Meeting adjourned at 8 pm.

Official minutes.

Members Present: Andre Brumfield, Mitch Cohen, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Toni McAllister, Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

Community Event Announcements:

Harper Court Presentation:

Representatives from Harper Court Partners (Vermilion, Drexel group, JFJ) updated the community on where the project now stands from a retail perspective and promised periodic updates at TIF Council meetings.

Design updates:

Project schedule:


Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, unanimously passed to approve teh TIF Council minutes of September 13, 2010.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Next regular Council meeting will be held on November 8, 2010, 7:30 p.m. in the Kenwood Academy Little Theater.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Secretary


From Herald report on the Planning Committee open meeting of September 20 2010. September 22, 2010. By Sam Cholke

The developers for Harper Court, Vermilion Development, presented their first design ideas at the Hyde Park Art Center on Sept. 20.

"It will be more like a beacon or a lantern than a solid element," said Jonathan Boyer, an architect on the project from Farr Associates. He said they decided to work in glass and steel because "limestone would be too heavy and would seem to weight the building down."

Structurally, the East 53rd Street and South Lake Park Avenue corner of the building will rise as a three-tiered tower. The first floor will be retail and restaurants set back along wide sidewalks, banded above by a screen in warm, neutral tones that hides the parking deck behind.

Above the parking deck would be a terrace with two stories of set back glass windows for the fitness center. Rising above and hanging over the terrace is a steel and glass cube that would house the University of Chicago office space. The office space will be an homage to the neighboring Hyde Park Bank building, Boyer said. Through steel and glass, the building will pay respect to the bank building's proportions and rhythms. Boyer offered the Inland Steel Building at 30 W. Monroe St. as an example of the direction the architects are headed with the design.

The next iteration of the design will be presented to the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District Advisory Council meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave...

September 13 2010 meeting

The next year's members and officers were elected.

A large laundry lists of recent and plans arts and other happenings in the community were announced and discussed. These include

Nadia Quarles of UC on the Ebony Education Forum;
Irene Sherr of HyPa on Art Here, Art Now and Hyde Park Jazz Festival;
Jane Comiskey of HPKCC on the Used Book Sale;
Wendy Walker Williams of SECC on OctoberFest;
Angela K. Sherrill on 57thSt. Children's Book Fair;
John Schmitz, Exec. Prod. of Dance Chicago 2010- first Hyde Park Event

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.

September 13 official minutes. In the Kenwood Academy Little Theater

Members Present: Mitchell Cohen, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Roderick Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske

Meeting called to order by Chair Males at 7:10 p.m. who announced that the Council needed to elect officers for teh coming term before moving into the agenda.

Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to elect the following officers and committee chairs: (Vote included proxy votes from Laurel Stradford and Tony Wilkins.)

Chair- Howard Males, Vice Chair- Jo Reizner, Secretary- Ginny vaske, Co-Chairs for Planning and Development Committee- Chuck Thurow and Mitch Cohen, Co-Chairs for Business and Neighborhood Enhancement (R&R)- Jane Comiskey and Andre Brumfield, Co-Chairs for Access and Accessibility- Jo Reizner and Rod Sawyer.

Guest Speakers: Irene Sherr, HyPa- Art Here, Art Now, Hyde Park Jazz Fest

Irene shared general information about HyPa, a membership group of about 50 arts organizations now in its fourth year that interrelates and connects arts organizations. It has its roots in the Hyde Park Jazz Fest. This year there will be 13 venues for the Jazz Fest with free jazz, shuttles to venues from the Midway, food and organization info booths. Contact [ed.- sub. new address] to volunteer.

Art Here, Art Now will celebrate Artist Month in October with various artists working in the corner space on 53rd and Harper. Other activities include a walking tour of the viaduct murals and numerous activities in the old Dr. Wax space that will bring energy to 53rd Street.

Because many of the audience members are leaders in the community who can spread the message about arts activities, Howard Males asked each audience member to introduce him/herself.

John Schmitz, Executive Producer, Dance Chicago 1010. Mr. Schmitz gave a brief overview of Dance Chicago, a 16 year old, 3,000 artists, 300 dance companies located and performing mostly on the city's north side. Due to the encouragement of Howard Males, one of the Dance Chicago shows will be held in Hyde Park, Oct. 22nd, 7:30 p.m. at Mandel Hall. Hopefully the inclusion of Hyde Park as a venue for this one Dance Chicago event wil provide impetus for other dance events in the neighborhood over time. For more information, go to

Jane Comiskey. Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Jane called attention of the Bulb and Mum Fair Sat., Oct. 2nd 10:00-4:00 at the HP Shopping Center Courtyard and the used book sale Oct. 9th to 11th. Used books should be brought to the lower level at Treasure Island starting August 15th.

Alderman Preckwinkle. The Alderman expressed thanks to the TIF Council for giving the green light to the Harper Court development. The project goes before the community Development Commission and Plan commission next week.

Angela Sherrill, 57th Street Children's Book Fair. Ms. Sherrill reminded those present that the Book Fair is in its 24th year and will be held Sunday, Set. 19th from 1:00 to 6:00 on 57th St. near Ray School. Blue Baillot will sign her new book, and numerous performances and presentations are planned. Flyers and posters are available.

Announcement of Planning and Development Committee meeting: The Planning and Development Committee wil meet on Monday, Sept. 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyde Park Art Center at which time Vermillion will present a more detailed rendering o the project, including design, materials and transportation concerns. In addition, there will be a special TIF Council meeting Oct. 4th, 7:00 p.m. at Kenwood at which time Vermillion will present its plan to the entire TIF Council and a larger audience.

Nadia Quarles, University of Chicago. Ms. Quarles was hired by the U. of C. to increase the university's minority business relationships. She pointed to the Ebony-sponsored Education Roundtable held Aug. 11th at the International House which brought together a panel moderated by Tamron Hall of MSNBC, workshops to help minority businesses become certified MWB enterprises, and University contracts to minority-owned businesses. While these are laudable efforts, alderman Preckwinkle noted that the percentage of African American students attending the University as remained low over the past 40 years.

Wendy Walker Williams, South East Chicago Commission. Ms. Walker Williams shared information about the Oct. 9th 11:00-7:00 Octoberfest on 53rd St. between Dorchester and Kimbark. Festivities include live entertainment, a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, food and a beer garden. Admission is free. Volunteers are needed (call 773 324-6929)

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to adjourn at 8:10 p.m.

Next Meeting

- Oct. 4, 7L:00 p.m. at Kenwood: Specail TIF Council meeting re: Vermilion Presentation
-Nov. 8, 7:00 at Kenwood: Regular TIF Council meeting

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Secretary


July 26 special meeting report. (Vermilion's request for Harper funding approved. Includes recommendation from subcommittee that met July 19.)

July 26 2010 special TIF meeting. Re-presentation, Q & A, Council vote

Introduction from Chairman Males stresses that this request and project are way and beyond what the Council has ever considered before. The infrastructure and new streets alone call for enormous amounts of money.

Vermilion and team presenters went mainly over the relationship of the project to TIF objectives and the financials/economics including the challenges to doing such a project

What's asked is less than what could be. The limit to TIF eligibility would be 27 million; the city top threshold would be $28.5 million.
Two-thirds of total TIF contribution, $15 million of $23.4, comes from the project- actually in the form of tax rebate to the owner-- money the TIF doesn't see-- but that is not all that is generated ($15 million a year), with part of that being surplus going annually into the TIF after the project opens. The project cost is paid off in 3 years after opening based on increase in wages and other kinds of taxes generated.

Step by step. 2010 TIF as $2.64 million, Gets additional $831,000 in normal districtwide increment > $3.47 million. Of that, $2 million goes to Harper Court, $964,000 is left. Non-recurring TIF costs 750,000 to Harper, recurring $213,000; left in the till half a million (low point).

2011. .5 m + 925,000 (reassessed districtwide increment) > 1.4 million. - $750,000 out for Harper Court, $273,000 for all else > .5 balance. About the same 2012, 2013.

2014. Out to Harper so far $5m
Project comes on line. .5 balance + $2.1 from new property taxes > $2.6 m + about $1 m in normal increment > $3.68. $750,000 goes to Harper, $233,000 to other > $1.733. $.6 is said to be balance, [so an additional $1.1 annually rising goes to Harper to end up at $23.4 by 2025? Since yearly average 2014-25 to reach $23.4 is $1.67, the amount must go up annually but so will balance].

2020 snapshot. $1.77 balance + $3.777 normal increment plus from the project. $3.25 going to Harper ($750,000 plus $2.5), est. $270,000 toward others and still rising balance.

2025. Surplus is now $2.55 with $4m coming in or $6.50. $3.5 million goes to last payment for Harper, leaving $2.5 million at end of TIF.

The total increment increase is 4,100 percent.

Committee recommendation- Chuck Thurow

Informational questions asked at the July 19 meeting.

Can we see the redevelopment agreement? It will be online and locked in by end of the year.
University's role. No ownership role.
Will future phases be staged? Can be.

Changes made that strengthen the project.

Pushing retail to Harper
Harper Avenue
Minority and women firms, training, hiring will move quickly
Enough money left for Canter, other projects


No architecture shown
Community input including on architectural contextuality
Gateway strategy
Traffic strategy including pedestrian, transit, linkages
Retail strategy specifics including Lake Park visibility
Net gain to businesses
Interim parking, business impacts and staging

Recommendation was in favor with the proviso of continuing consultation. Males stressed the unprecedented size of the ask and that it is less visible than small projects.

FAQs from the developer.

Who owns? A private entity composed of Vermilion and other equity partners- not the city or university. University will only be a tenant in the office bldg.

Performance requirements. Will be strong-- the city can take pack a portion.

U of C will pay property taxes? The office building will pay taxes. The University cannot go after an exception, and the developer will need the taxes to pay off the note.

Does this request cover only phases I? Yes.

Are there other public incentives besides the TIF taxes? Yes, city contributes land and more.

Will money be left in the TIF? Yes, in every year and growing rapidly after on line.

Questions from the audience

What are the milestones to the end of this year. They are driven by the need to secure the tax-free recovery bonds by the end of the year.
If approved tonight, first city papers (PD request) are filed tomorrow.
The city process is for the Redevelopment Agreement, which goes before the Community Development Commission then City Council committees and the full City Council. This takes 60 to 120 days.
The Planned Development Ordinance process takes about 120 days.

How does retail leasing fit into the project's going, where are you? Needs to bed at 60% to close on the bond. It's underway. Also required is design to a certain level. They hope the bond can be done late November or early December.

Residents on Blackstone had many questions about how close the west building will come to their line and whether there will be room for vehicular/service vehicle access. Males said the council will pay attention to this, plus it will be in the Harper Avenue study. Vermilion said there will be a setback above ground level. More discussion was held and contacts asked.

How much of the developer's money will be invested? $15 to $20 million. The University will lease its building at market rate and be paid substantially less for the land it bought than it paid.

A question was asked on triennial reassessment- it will be for all properties in the district.

Space inside for community groups as well? Suggested was to look to the major tenant of the office building (UC) or to certain lessees of the retail spaces. The hotel will have a conference center.

One said the project over all looks consistent with the original TIF objectives, except there seems to be no subsidized or free public parking. The developer said it's a balancing. The structure and underground parking are very expensive, but tenants will want prices to be low enough that people will park there. They will look with tenants at validated parking options. The performance requirements do not include free public parking. One pointed out extensive areas of nearby free parking, including Hyde Park Shopping Center.

Who provides and pays for the infrastructure. The developer.

Is it possible to accurately forecast employment? There are industry benchmarks.

What is the breakeven occupancy? Not answered.

Could you break down the $114 million cost? Hotel $23 million, leaving $87 million for all the rest of phase I (office, retail and parking). Private capital is $75 million, leaving a gap because the city measures the TIF dollars at $23.4 million but when that is monetarized it's not that much (lot lower.) Clarified: the federal contribution is not money but right to have the note at tax exempt rate, resulting in a 6% savings.

Height, sf. Hotel 8-10 stories, east retail/apartment 6 stories, west apartment/retail 5 stories, office [12], condo [up to 24]. Retail is 100,00 sf, office 150,000 sf.

Can anything else major be undertaken with TIF funds? Requires additional development.

What if TIFs are raided or redeveloped? Unlikely a law would change what is in place for a particular TIF.

Retail interest and what kind? Much, and many that are not or are no longer in Hyde Park.

Will you present on UC campus. Willing to.

Is the MWE a floor or a ceiling? Floor. A plan is being developed with the city, schools, agencies. 28% minimum is built into the RDA.

Why is Vermilion so interested in doing this in Hyde Park? Fits with university community experience, fits with this community's extensive visioning-- there is commitment from many sides.

Mae Wilson spoke for Alderman Preckwinkle's enthusiasm and support.

Motion was made to proceed to a vote. Chuck Thurow moved his committee's recommendation to the council that the request by Vermilion be accepted with proviso they continue to consult with the council. The motion was seconded. Vote by hand and orally of proxies was taken. The motion was unanimously approved.


Herald report. TIF council backs $23.4M subsidy. By Sam Cholke

The 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District Advisory Council on July 26 unanimously approved the largest expenditure in the council's history, a $23.4 million subsidy for the $114 million redevelopment of the Harper Court Shopping Center.

"This project does all the things that were set forth when this TIF wa created," said Dave Cocagne, president of the lead developer on the project, Vermilion Development. The TIF was created in 2000 to finance a parking structure within the district. During the last decade, the district has added retail development, job creation and support for education and the public parks to its priorities.

The $23.4 million will go towards the project's 278 underground parking spaces and 55 on-street spaces, a significant increase in parking compared to the current city-owned parking lot the project will be built on. The new spaces will be metered, and discussions are ongoing about a validated parking system with potential retailers, according to the developers.

The audience was approving of the project, but was concerned that parking would be set at an affordable rate -- possibly free, since it is a publicly subsidized project. "Structured parking is a very expensive amenity to offer," Cocagne said. Parking fees will be set near market rate -- retailers will demand that parking fees be low enough that people will want to come there, Cocagne said.

The TIF district will not put up the whole $23.4 million right away. The redevelopment agreement will be structured such that tax subsidies are paid out over the life of the TIF. The deal is arranged so that the TIF district only puts up about $750,000 a year through 2025 and the rest of the money comes from the developers getting what amounts to a property tax refund.

"When we created the TIF in 2000, we envisioned a transformative project much like this one," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) [outside the meeting], who will shepherd the project through the legislative process over the coming months. Preckwinkle said she expects the project to be in front of the Plan Commission and the Community Development Commission by October for the next phase of city signoffs.

Before going to the commissions, the developers said they would be back in the community to talk about the design process of the project, which includes a hotel, office space and 10,000 square feet of retail space.

The developers are working to get teh project fully funded by the end of the year to take advantage of Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, which exempt the developers from some taxes on the money they borrow to finance the project. The bonds must be used by the end od the year.


July 12, 2010 meeting

Official Minutes- Ginny Vaske, Secretary

Members Present: All members present: Andre Brumfield, Mitchell Cohen, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Roderick Sawyer, Laurel Stradford, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins.

Meeting called to order by Chairman Males at 7:05 p.m. who apologized that a meeting notice was not printed in the Herald, but hopefully community members received an email reminder.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to approve the minutes of the May 10, 2010 as submitted.

Committee Member Terms: the following TIF members were approved by Alderman Preckwinkle for another term: Andre Brumfield, Rod Sawyer, Laurel Stradford, Tony Wilkins.

May Business Followup: Howard Males read from a letter he sent to LAZ requesting $20,000 snow removal reimbursement for Clean Slate work or acceptance of full responsibility to move snow from around parking meters as requested at the May TIF meeting. A copy of the letter was sent to the Hyde Park Herald.

Planning and Development Committee Report: Chairman Males explained that given the two major developments planned in the near future, Harper Avenue will be an important piece. However, such opening will create complexities for 51st and Lake Park as well as some businesses and residents.

Chuck Thurow, on behalf of his committee, recommended that the TIF Council vote to authorize $87,000 to begin a design engineering study. Motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.

Alderman Remarks: Alderman Preckwinkle also apologized for the lack of newspaper notice for the TIF Council meeting and thanked TIF members for their service over the ten years since its creation. At that time Susan Campbell from the U. of Chicago and Alderman Preckwinkle began discussions about "kickstarting" 53rd Street and improving parking. parks and schools within the identified TIF district were added to provide support with public resources. She stated that the proposal that will be presented by Vermilion is one that goes broader and deeper into the project.

53rd and Lake Park/Harper Court update and report: Before introducing the presenters, Howard Males thanked Irene Sherr for her tireless efforts with community visioning of 53rd Street. he also stated that big ideas cost big money, and with the slowdown of the economy and the difficulty for developers to get financing, a relatively fast decision may be unavoidable.

James Wilson, City of Chicago, summarized the history of the development of this project, beginning in 2008 when an RFP was issued; four strong proposals were pursued; and Vermilion was selected as the developer.

David Cocagne, President of Vermilion, along with Chris and Sophie from the company, shared a power point that noted the site plan, parking changes since the last presentation, a new configuration for the hotel and retail, a new design for the hotel, and expanded and reconfigured residential. 278 parking spaces are now below surface which will serve the retail stores as wil above ground floor level parking. Loading was moved to the back of 52nd Street; the proposed fitness center to 53rd and Lake Park where its activity will add vibrancy to the projects. Phase I will also include a hotel and 8 to 10 stores to be developed by a third party. Phase II will add retail and courtyard rental apartments as well as a residential condo tower. Types of usage include restaurants and entertainment on the interior of the site, a national retailer with high visibility and neighborhood retail.

Mr. Cocagne summarized the rational for TIF district creation that included the following: aging property stock; lack of growth; existing structures below code; excessive land coverage; and inadequate utilities. He then stated that the redevelopment plan vision being offered was cohesive, vibrant, and offered a range of goods and services.

Mr. Courtney Pogue, a consultant from The Waterworks Group hired by Vermilion noted the objectives of the redevelopment plan as a mixed use development, the rehab of some existing structures, additional parking options, employment growth, and minority/female business participation.

Other items noted in the presentation included the belief that this project would serve as a catalyst for continued rehab and revitalization in the neighborhood, the creation of jobs in both the construction and Phase I completion and the increased amount of parking provided (333 public spaces, a 100% increase over existing spaces).

Mr. Cocagne then presented his reasons for needing public assistance from the TIF funds: big costs associated with public parking and infrastructure improvements on the site; constraints in getting financing in the current economy. He cited examples of other Chicago area projects where TIF funds were used as a gap financing tool: Marshfield (25.7% TIF funding); Loyola (24.7); Brickyard (24.1%). He asked for TIF Council approval of $23.4 million (20.5% of the project) from the 53rd Street TIF to fund this $114 million first phase of the development. He and Mr. Pogue stated that the boost in property tax income the development would create would pay for about $15 million of the $23.4 million requested.


Next Steps:


In response to questions rom TIF Council members, the following information was shared:

- Tony Wilkins: The HP Bank is not currently involved; "excessive land usage" refers to the parking lot; $114 million cost is for Phase I, including the hotel; the developement will own the parking lot; the "wages payback" refers to gross wages.
- Toni McAllister: building height is 12 stories; no "big box" negotiations are sought due to lack of sufficient space
- Chuck Thurow: the reduction in retail space in the plan since February is due to removal of the movie theater from th e plan
- Laurel Stradford: In response to the "no movie theater" info, Mr. Cocagne explained that the decisions regarding which retailers are considered is a function of zoning requirements, approval by the City of Chicago and the U. of Chicago as well as banks' views of credit profiles.
- Tony Wilkins: TIF funds would be layered in with 2/3 of TIF funds from the new taxes generated by this development and 1/3 from current TIF funds.
- Rod Sawyer: There is a performance clause that guards against a possible "project stall". Not all TIF money is contributed up front. (Mr. Pogue will prepare a yearly projection of TIF funds that will allow for continued support for CleanSlate and schools.) LAZ envisions using CleanSlate to clean parking and open spaces in the development.

Community members asked the following questions:

- What about the Canter School addition? Using this amount of TIF funds for this development leaves little for schools.
- What is the urgency: Thers is a need for time sensitive funding to take advantage of tax breaks from the federal stimulus money; City Council approval is needed by the end of the year; and given we are almost half way through the TIF years, it is time to move.
- There will be a local hiring preference. Rental units are planned for future phases.
- Developers definitely want to meet with groups that ensure that minority hiring occurs in the best possible manner.
- Vermilion is meeting with current retailers in Harper Court regarding issues of negative impact on them during construction as well as relocation issues.
- Once the development is underway, land developed in Phase I now owned by U. of C. will be transferred to Vermilion as certain milestones are met.
- Vermilion is open to meeting with various groups to improve the training, recruiting, placing, etc. of minorities in this project.
- Alderman Preckwinkle foresees no problem with City council approval for this project.
- There is currently approximately $2.5 million in the TIF coffers.
- Government stimulus funds is not an allocation of a specific dollar amount but rather the ability to borrow money at lower interest rates.

Adjournment: After thanking the Alderman, Vermilion and TIF Council members as well as announcements for neighborhood events/meetings, the meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

(Three additional meetings on the area were announced.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske, Secretary


By Gary Ossewaarde, HPKCC Development Chair

The principal agenda item was Vermilion presentation of revised plans it intends to take to the city as soon as possible to take advantage of Recovery Act Empowerment Zone tax credits that expire at the end of the year, and request for $23.4 million in TIF funding (20% $114 total Phase I cost.) This led to serious concerns expressed in over an hour of questions. The conversation will continue in the July 19 open meeting of the Planning and Development subcommittee-- which will hear details on the project and TIF financials over the lifetime of the TIF and then is expected to make a recommendation to a July 26 meeting special meeting of the Advisory Council, in turn expected to take a vote on funding and the project. (More below. Details of the presentation will be placed in a separate page).

The meeting opened with a statement concerning upcoming appointments and reappointments (September meeting), which this reporter was not in time to hear.

Chuck Thurow reported on a meeting June 24 of the Planning and Development subcommittee, convened to consider the recommendation of Alderman Preckwinkle (apparently already submitted) in response to a memo from the city Department of Transportation April 30 for an engineering study on reopening Harper Avenue 51st to 53rd, to be funded at c. $87,000 from the TIF. (No vote was taken June 24 but consensus was reported as in favor.) Thurow said the recommendation fitted general TIF objectives independently of Harper Court redevelopment, although was necessary to forward progress on the redevelopment-- but not a substitute for the traffic study the developer has to do-- and is also necessitated by likely redevelopment of Village Center to the north, also in the TIF. The design is complex because of current ill-fitting components of the right of way and because it will impact all the crossing streets and their traffic flow from E. Hyde Park to 53rd and beyond.

Thurow said the following expanded considerations were raised and discussed at the meeting:

Moved by Thurow, 2nd by McAllister to appropriate $87,000 for the study. Approved unanimously.

During the meeting, Chairman Howard Males read a letter he wrote under Council direction and endorsement from Ald. Preckwinkle to LAZ Parking complaining of inadequate snow removal at pay and display machines, necessitating and extra $20,000 for next year to CleanSlate to do this, and asking LAZ to either do its job or reimburse the TIF $20,000. (There had been no response so far.) The letter is a follows:

To Daniel Hoffman, general manager, LAZ Parking:

Dear Mr. Hoffman:

I am the chairman of the 53rd Street Business District Tax Increment Financing (TIF)Council serving Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), the city of Chicago and our residents.

I am writing to inform you of a decision made by the council at our regular May public meeting concerning snow removal around the pay-and-display meters along 53rd Street (from Lake Park to Woodlawn avenues) and operated by LAZ Parking LLC. At the request of our community, and after numerous complaints about the absence of snow and ice removal around the perimeter of the pay-and-display units, the council voted unanimously to authorize the street cleaning crew (CleanSlate, a non-profit organization under the CARA program) to begin clearing a path around all display units beginning with the Winter 2010 season.

Further, the council moved to authorize additional funding for the CleanSlate program to perform such work, and to formally request that LAZ either assume full responsibility for safeguarding our community residents and visitors during the winter by cleaning ice adn snow, or reimburse the 53rd Street TIF in the amount of $20,000. This represents the amount the council appropriated, and subsequently approved by the alderman, to disburse to CleanSlate to perform this work.

The vote was unanimous, and this recommendation was memorialized both in the minutes for the council and covered by the local press. There is consensus within the community for this action and request to you.

I respectfully request that you respond to this matter in writing to me and Preckwinkle. I am taking this action with the full approval of the alderman, the TIF Council and the residents of the 4th Ward of Chicago.

Respectfully yours,

Howard E. Males, Chairman, 53rd Street TIF Council

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle gave the alderman's report. She apologized for lack of notice of the meeting-- notice sent to the Herald was not published. Teh meeting was flyered. She thanked the TIF for its diligence since founded. 53rd street improvement was always the focus of the TIF, and this included solving parking problems in one way or another and funds for parks and schools. This is to be a public purpose TIF not just to help developers. Today's presentation (from Vermillion, not the U of C) covers an expanded and more specific proposal. She thanked the city staff, U of C, Vermilion. She said that the city was bringing land and planning and other resources, Vermillion equity, and the UC land and investment.

Males thanked Irene Sherr for her work beginning in the 1990s and including through the Vision Process. He thanked the many organizations and residents who participated through comments, letters, and blogs. The principle is to spend for large needs, not just plant.

James Wilson of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development explained that what we are seeing here is not the architecture. The site plan is much changed and improved.

The presentation and Council and audience comment are described in a separate page. Next here is the Herald coverage of July 14, which gives foundation facts, particularly on the request for funding, but cannot give the import, consequences, and probing questions on the presentation and request. Top

May 10, 2010 meeting

Official minutes

Members Present: Mitchell Cohen, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Charles Newsome, Jo Reizner, Roderick Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins, Laurel Stradford (by proxy)

Meeting called to order at 7:300 p.m. by Chairman Males.

Approval of Minutes: Moved by Chuck Thurow, seconded by Jo Reizner, passed unanimously, to approve the minutes of March 8, 2010.

Chair remarks: The agenda was explained, including a recommendation by the Business and Neighborhood Environment Committee (R&R) to appropriate funds for CleanSlate and a request from Kenwood Academy for capital funds.

CleanSlate Proposal: Jane Comiskey reported on her committee's recommendation to fund CleanSlate for a total of $217,000. this amount is an increase because of the addition of Saturday ($20,000) and for a full sidewalk snow removal ($40,500). Council member reizner inquired about recouping money from LAZ since they should be doing snow removal around the parking pay stations.

Moved by Reizner, seconded by Newsome, unanimously approved (including proxy from Stradford) to allocate $217,000 for CleanSlate services, including the additional responsibilities. Note that Howard Males and Alderman Preckwinkle will follow up with LAZ for a monetary giveback of $20,000 cash or labor.

Kenwood Academy Request for TIF Funds: Kenwood Principal Dr. Liz Kirby, presented her request for TIF funds to replace the bleachers in the upper gym and for a new scoreboard. She submitted a proposal for $59,110, which includes a $35,000 contribution from CPS, which is already in the school's budget. Chairman Males asked for unanimous consent to proceed to a vote as this matter is time sensitive -- bleacher and scoreboard work can best be accomplished over the summer months. Moved by Thurow, seconded by Comiskey and Wilkins, approved unanimously to allocated $59,110 to Kenwood. Work is to begin over the summer.

Harper Avenue Commission Engineering Study: Howard Males explained the need for an engineering study to open up Harper Avenue from 53rd to 51st Street. Given the proposed Antheus and Vermillion projects, it seems prudent to determine the best configuration of harper to accommodate both development projects and their impact on residents. The Planning and Development Committee is charged with discussing this at its June 14th meeting and making a recommendation to the full TIF Council in July.

Announcements: Attendees were advised of the Garden Fair and the need for volunteers and teh Fourth of July parade/festival. Joe Kelly, from the Englewood Chamber of Commerce was present; anyone wishing to contact him regarding the work of his organization should call at l773 331-1165.

Adjournment: Moved by Reizner, seconded by all, unanimously approved, to adjourn the meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Next TIF meeting will be on July 12, 7:00 p.m. at Kenwood Academy.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske, Secretary


Hyde Park Herald, May 12, 2010. By Sam Cholke

The 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council committed May 10 to paying for new bleachers and a new scoreboard at Kenwood Academy. "They already have half the money; we're competing the whole pie," said Howard Males, chair of the board.

In total, the council approved $51,200 for Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. Chicago Public Schools has already committed $35,000 towards the bleachers. The council will cover the entire $7,910 for a new scoreboard [for a total of $59,110].

Kenwood Principal Elizabeth Kirby said she requested the funds because the bleachers were becoming unsafe and the scoreboard was nearly unusable. "You have to avoid a splinter when you sit on them,"Kirby said of the bleachers. The council voted unanimously to approve the funding for Kenwood. The council also approved renewing a $157,000 contract with Cleanslate street cleaning crews. a final contract for $217,000 was unanimously approved. The contract adds an extra day of street cleaning on Saturdays for an additional $20,000 and sidewalk now removal for an additional $45,000.

Part of Cleanslate's mission is to hire at-risk individuals who find it difficult to find employment. The additional services requested by the council will allow Cleanslate to bring several new hires onboard next year.

The council also voted to purse recouping some $20,000 from LAZ Parking, which manages all Chicago parking meters, for shoveling snow around pay-and-display kiosks.

The Planning and Development Committee of the advisory council has been tasked with considering the first use of TIF funds on the redevelopment of the Village Shopping Center and th Harper Court Shopping Center. The committee will discuss commissioning an engineering study of opening Harper Avenue between East Hyde Park Boulevard and East 53rd street. The Chicago Department of Transportation would conduct the study for $86,594. "This is the beginning of the process of getting developers to the table to say where they're going to put things," Males said. The committee meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. June 14 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. "This wil be our first use of TIF funds for this project, and it's pretty straightforward," said Chuck Thurow, chair of the committee.

Though there are currently no immediate plans to start work or to open the street, Males said the study would be a signal to developers that both the council and the public is invested in the redevelopment of the Village Shopping center and the Harper Court Shopping Center going through.




March 8, 2010 regular meeting

Official draft minutes

Members present: Antoinette McAllister, Howard males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome, Mitchell Cohen, 2 proxies (for Ginny Vaske and Tony Wilkins). Meeting called to order at 7:05 p.m.

Approval of minutes: January 11th 2010 minutes - motion to approve made by Mitchell Cohen, seconded by Charles Newsome, approved as submitted. Special TIF Council Meeting February 8th 2010 minutes - motion to approve made by Antoinette McAllister, seconded by Jane Comiskey, approve as submitted.

Remarks by the chair: Tonight's agenda was reviewed. The new SECC Executive Director, Ms. Wendy Walker-Williams, was introduced.

Update on Cleanslate Program by the Cleanslate Team: A short presentation was given by Natalia Wright Assistant Manager of Operations for Hyde Park, John Rush, Managing Director, and Logan Quan, Business Contracts Manager. Together, they presented a proposal to the community and Council for services for next year. A summary of the proposal: Create 30 permanent jobs, up from 24, and that they were branching into property reservation service. They will also add an extra day of services, Saturday to the current service schedule, all while maintaining 2009 funding request levels. The proposal was presented in response to the challenge from the Chairman to be "bold and ambitious" next year in creating additional jobs through additional services.

The proposal will now go to the Repair and Rehabilitation Committee, to be voted on by the full Council at the May, 2010 meeting. This meeting will be held at the New Op Shop, located at 1530 E. 53rd St. 53rd Street (Hollywood Video building) on March 27, 2010 at 9 a.m.

A short Q/A followed (Council member questions are initialed and bolded):

(Q). How are recyclables handled? (CT)
(A). CleanSlate uses its own carts for recyclables.

(Q). What is CleanSlate doing in Pullman [Neighborhood]" (AM)
(A). CS is working with Park National Bank (now US Bank) to clean near the Ryerson Plant.

(Q). Walking from 53rd to 49th Streets on Lake Park, why are there not garbage cans on the west side of the street?
(A). Mae Wilson, from the Alderman's office made a call to Streets and Sanitation, and will follow up on this.

(Q.) Will you clean bus shelters?
(A). Cleanslate will clean and make paths to shelters on snow days, and clean around shelters on regular days.

(Q). How do you get interns? What is the contact process?
(A). We work with referral services. There is also information in the packets that were handed out.

Update on 51st and Lake Park development, Village Center: Peter Cassel, Silliman Group, presented a slide show of proposed development for update. The project is ready to be submitted to th Planning department for review. To summarize the project, it is on a 2.5 acre parcel of land, 100k sq ft of commercial development, 384 sq ft of residential development, up to 179 units of one- to four-bedrooms, and over 380 to 400 parking spaces.

A short Q/A followed (Council Members questions are initialed and bolded):

(Q). How does now development mix with current property styles already there? (RS)
(A). The architecture should blend in. There are no preservation issues, and density is at the corner of the block.

(Q). Please review retail on Lake Park (AM)
(A). A prior slide showing retail was reviewed

(Q). Is the site plan available? (MC)
(A). A prior slide showing the site plan was reviewed.

(Q). The center of development - is is all retail?
(A). 70k sq ft of it is.

(Q). Progress with Village Foods [lawsuit resolution]? Describe phase of building, Will there be an elevated walkway to Metra?
(A). The Village Foods lawsuit has been settled, and the plan can go forward. Construction will be in a single phase instead of a double one. There will be no walkway to Metra (James Wilson, Chicago).

(Q). When will you return to zoning?
(A). Late Spring, early summer to the Planning Commission.

(Q). The questioner asked multiple questions regarding timeframes for the next steps in the process.
(A). Cassel answers: A couple of months to close with new retailers, three months for construction documents, ne year for the permitting process, 18-24 months to demolition.

(Q). Please comment on style, perhaps Art Deco?
(A). From Chair HM - The north end plays homage to Kenwood [Academy], the south end to the Hyde Park Bank building.

(Q). Will retail be functional during construction
(A). Building One along Harper and the parking lot will be built first. The timeline is five years out.

(Q). Village Foods?
(A). We don't know what their future business plans are.

Planning and Development Committee Update, Chuck Thurow, Chair

The committee met on 3/1. Topics discussed: TIF funding, pedestrian circulation, Farmer's Market Survival, rentals, density, retail and traffic as it relates to 52nd and 53rd street. The project timing will be in two phases - retail will be included in the first phase, with residential in the second as market conditions permit. The staging of interim parking while the old parking lot is under construction is an open issue. Neighbors along 52nd Street west of harper have no alley, currently using the parking right-of-way to access behind their homes. This is an open issue. The next steps Vermilion is currently working on are architectural design and materials. Audience comment and questions include (1). Donating Harper materials to Canter Middle School, (2). The need to follow progress of the project and processes, (3). A start date for construction, and, (4). The need for coordination of current projects as to not disrupt current business activity on 53rd .

Repair and Rehabilitation Committee Update, Jane Comiskey, Chair

Jane made the announcement of a committee meeting on 3/27 to discuss the Cleanslate proposal. Refer to the cleanslate report section for meeting details.

Laura Shaeffer, of the Op Shop, explained the purpose of the Op Shop, where temporary shops open in unused building spaces for the purposes of community-based art activities.


Chairman Males announced that the TIF Council would be considering a proposal from Kenwood High School at the next scheduled meeting.

Motion to adjourn was made by Antoinette McAllister, and seconded by Jane Comiskey. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted

Rod Sawyer


March 8, 2010, Antheus/Silliman Group presented an update at the TIF meeting. The most significant change was that parking will now be entirely under ground, with entry/egress to the retail parking on Lake Park and for residential from Harper. Trucks will enter on Harper and exit on Lake Park. It appears there will be a mix of rental and condo (the later being in the tower on the nw corner. These will include a proportion of affordable-- it's in a PUD and TIF and Ald. Preckwinkle has been requiring 15% in projects to get her approval. Also being clarified is whether any part of the site will be west of Harper. A question was raised about a passerole over Lake Park to the Metra station-- reply was that the city would not approve.

Herald report, March 10, 2010. By Sam Cholke.

The Silliman Group presented a slightly modified version of the development for the Village shopping center at the March 8 [TIF meeting]. The two-and-a-half acre development that encompasses much of the block south of East Hyde park Boulevard and South Lake Park Avenue will move all onsite parking below the building. About 400 parking spaces will be housed in a two-level underground garage after potential tenants requested improved accessibility, according to Peter Cassel, director of community development for the Silliman Group.

The project still includes a 10-story residential and retail building on Lake Park Avenue, and a lower strip of retail that stretches down East Hyde Park Boulevard, culminating in a residential tower on the corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and South Harper Avenue. Smaller retailers will be housed along the Harper Avenue side of the development, according to Cassel.

Unlike when first presented in Fall 2008, the project will now proceed as a single phase instead of two. "If part were not to be built... the narrower tower would not be built," Cassel said.

The Chicago Plan Commission will likely reviews the plans in late spring from final approval before Silliman begins seeking zoning changes and the city permits, according to Cassel. It will likely be longer than two years before any of the existing buildings at Village Center are demolished and roughly five years before the new development opens, he said.

Other business:

(Herald report continued:) Also at the meeting, teh Cleanslate program presented a proposal to continue street cleaning and snow removal in the district for next year. The program, which will hire 30 people next year, presented a proposed cost of $157,000 to the board, the same as last year's budget. Cleanslate offered to extend its trash removal services from five days to six, increaser snow removal and powerwash sidewalks for an additional $87,000 [including a machine, as per proposal last year]. The board will consider the three options [in committee?] at a March 27 committee meeting at 9 a.m. at the former Hollywood Video store, 1530 E. 53rd St.

The board will vote on spending property tax increment funds on Kenwood Academy at its April [sic- May?] meeting. Top.

February 8 and March 1 special meetings- Visit the Vermilion page.

January 11, 2010 meeting

During the very brief update on Harper Court (said to be re designated "53rd-Lake Park") Development at the January 11 TIF meeting, the University (Susan Campbell) and city (James Wilson) appeared to toss the potato as to whether and how much of the non-selected finalist proposals will be aired. some said that would be important for deciding the full range of what's to be in the development regardless of the developer, which seemed likely to be chosen on fiscally able grounds since the proposals were said to be "similar."
OF GREAT IMPORTANCE IS THAT THE VETTING WILL BE DONE IN THE TWO TIF COMMITTEES. While these (R&R and Planning) are "open," the TIF has an inherent interest in the development having as much as possible so as to increase the amount coming into the TIF, and since it is definite (according to release from the Chicago Dept. of Community Development) that TIF funds will be used-- if "more" of the latter brings "more" of the former, some wonder whether there could be conflict on the part of the vetting party and with other potential demands on TIF funds. Also, if we are to forget Harper Court, what of all the public input for the project (based on its being an expanded replacement for Harper Court) and any lessons including the Harper Court Foundation experiences? The chair said to the parties, get it right and together.

The budget was announced--This TIF generates about $745,000 a year (recently). At the end of 2010, after disbursing about half of that, the TIF should hold about $2.4 million. About $13,000 goes to city administrative costs, $160,000 to cleanslate. The standard has been to spend about half of the increment each year. The Harper Development "will" demand funds; how much is not known, and there likely will be differences over this.

The remainder of the January 11 2010 TIF meeting was devoted to a very positive report on arts initiatives and creation of cultural destinations in Hyde Park and Bronzeville. Reports were by Irene Sherr and Monica Haslip for Hyde Park Alliance for Arts and Culture and by Paula Robinson of the Black Metropolis History Commission. Sherr said that HyPa wants to find pays for arts organizations to get into the schools, and brought in special performing artist o work with Kenwood students: Casandra Wilson and Jade Simmons, the latter in conjunction with the University of Chicago Dept. of Music. Hypa's latest project is Passport to Jazz-- when up, people going to listed events get perks from the venues and if they sign up for enough a free Jazz Festival vip pass. Robie House is an example of a venue new to performance, having a jazz program February 12. And ties extend as far as the Museum of Contemporary Art. The first-level objective is to have programs in Hyde Park people want to go to and to get people from all over to visit venues in Hyde Park-- make Hyde Park a cultural destination. About five places have jazz or related weekly and some occasionally, including pop-up art places and galleries such as DOVA Temporary, shopping centers and farmers' markets. They have a large e-blast list. The University of Chicago's support has been important, especially for insurance. An important exhibit on one of the HyPa partners, Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, opens at Regenstein in February. Their March production of the Mikado celebrates 50 years--and they had a tremendous turnout for auditions.

Paula Robinson of the Black Metropolis History Commission described progress of their petition and nomination to National Parks and National Trust, which would run from 18th St. to 71st and Dan Ryan to the Lake. The theme would be the Great Migration and the special community (Bronzeville) and cultural flowering in the dense area that was confined by restrictive covenants .Feasibility study is being sponsored by Rep. Rush. So one unifying focus is preservation including identification of assets-- they are doing or want to do GIS mapping. The Commission serves as umbrella for many business, cultural and tourism organizations.


November 9, 2009 meeting

November 9 2009. FINALISTS FOR HARPER COURT REDEVELOPMENT WERE PRESENTED IN CONCEPTUAL OVERVIEW FORM, without ID. The proposals were similar: All open Harper Avenue and at least one creates a new "52nd Place" walkway that would have (low?) retail buildings on them, but maybe one higher also (one concept had one going somewhat off the grid and curved on the north side of the new 52nd place). Total retail is still 90-150 sf including the first building (quite high) at the corner of Lake Park and 53rd. Park-like spaces would likely be near where the present plaza would be and at the north end of the site by Lake Park. 150,000 sf of UC office is still included, as well as a hotel, some residential, maybe a theater, or more. The southeast part would be first. TIF money would almost certainly be involved, amount and uses are being "negotiated." To see views of Powerpoint, visit and click 2nd bar down. See also the Nov. 18 Herald. See more in the Harper Court homepage.

Separately: There are reportedly some kind of differences in objectives between the City and the University. Whether there is a consensus "winner" among the parties is not known to us. The meeting also had presentation on the new Michael's Market in the former Co-Op space. This market will compete with Treasure Island and Hyde Park Produce, maybe with a little lower pricing and have a restaurant.

In addition, Canter Middle School principal Colleen Conlan had invited the TIF to meet at the school to see what the TIF's funding ($150,000 matched by CPS) accomplished. She said an addition is still needed. Improvements included new furniture for an painting of the main office, window shades and new doors for each classroom (with safety locks), chemical washing and tuckpointing of all windows and the building. A new sign reads "Canter Middle School" (and covers the old engraved Kenwood sign). New exterior doors, lighting, limestone flowerbed and tables, seating in the north "playground", and repaving and relining of the parking lot complete the suite. More offices and corridors will be painted.

September 14, 2009 meeting

At the September 14 TIF meeting, an overview was given by the city, saying the finalist would be selected and only that one would present, November 9-- which caused strong objection as Ald. Preckwinkle promised the final 3 would present.
Plans are to build a structure comp. to Hyde Park Bank at nw. corner of 53rd and Lake Park, with a up to 25 stories building at the north end along Lake Park. These buildings are committed to 9,000 plus retail and the rest office including heavy UC commitment and residential (which not yet clear to this site). No details about what would be in Harper Court side or on parking, although Harper Avenue will be pushed through fairly soon. For further details on the meeting's Harper Court details, see the Harper Court Sale page.

Official minutes.

Members Present: Antoinette McAllister, Howard Males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome, Andre Brumfield, Mitchell Cohen, Anthony Wilkins, Laurel Stradford.

Meeting called to order at 7:02 p.m., with a quorum present.

Remarks by the Chair: Welcomed all in attendance and opened the meeting speaking on the accessibility of the Little Theater meeting room and the concerns brought up by Hyde Park's Older Women's League (OWL). Chairman Males will address accessibility with our meeting host and attempt to make arrangements to acquire and accessible room, or make meetings more user-friendly in the near future. He also presented tonight's meeting agenda, noting modification of removal of discussion of a future special meeting. Other Chair announcements include the launch of Hyde Park's Cultural Alliance (HyPa) website, the University of Chicago's new informational blog, 53rd St. Blog and introduce its editor, Community News Officer Kadesha Thomas, and a reminder to the audience that TIF news information is disseminated through the Hyde Park Herald, community members and now, trough the 53rd St. Blog. The chair also encouraged all to get flu shots.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes were read by the committee. C. Thurow made a motion to approve the minutes as presented, which was seconded by A. Wilkins, the motion passed unanimously.

TIF Council Committee: Chair. Males introduced the newest member of the TIF Council, Mitchell Cohen. Mitchell replaces departing member Steve Soble. Chair Males thanked Steve for his dedicated service.

Alderman's Report: Ald. Preckwinkle briefly remarked on the progress of Harper Court RFP process and that a finalist would be presented at a future meeting, as well as ideas that emerged from all developers. James Wilson, of the City of Chicago, named team members from the city and introduced those present, as did Susan Campbell of U of C, who introduced the members from U of C.

Harper Court Presentation: Messrs. Timothy S. Brangle and Kimball T. Goluska, both of The Chicago Consultants Studio, presented a PowerPoint presentation of the selection process for redevelopment of Harper Court. Initially, 11 proposals had been submitted, with five selected. There are currently three finalists: McCaffrey/Taxman Corporate Partners, Mesa/Walsh and Vermillion/JPS Development Partners. Due Diligence and assessments are still ongoing. All proposals will include the Hollywood Video building on the corner of 53rd St. and Old Lake Park. The proposals from this stage of finalists include 90k to 150k sq ft of retail/entertainment/restaurant space, and uses to make the location a travel destination. 150k sq ft of office space is also proposed, in which the University has committed to be a major tenant. In a later phase, up to 200 residential units have been proposed, as well as well as a 150-room boutique hotel. Onsite parking is proposed and building heights range from 3 stories to 25 stories. Other amenities include open spaces/parks and a green-top roof.

The next steps will be to finalize and evaluate proposals for identification of a single preferred proposal, then at a future TIF meeting present a summary of proposals, and provide a detailed presentation, soliciting community input and comments. After the preferred proposal is presented, teh matter wil be referred to our Planning and Development committee for detailed public discussion.

A question and answer period was conducted after the presentation (see attached).

Announcement: Chuck Thurow announced that a local business, What The Traveler Saw, owned by TIF member Laurel Stradford, had been nominated for the program Amex/NBC "Shine a Light". The next step would be a review that chooses three finalists from over 200 entries. George Rumsey [announced that] Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC) will have its annual book sale on Columbus day weekend.

The meeting ended at 8:25 p.m.

Submitted Respectfully,

Rod Sawyer

Attachment: Q/A on Harper Court. Committee- (TIF Committee members initials are in brackets)

Q. Effect on Theater building process? (AM)
A. Slowed because of duplicate uses with Harper Court.

Q. Effect on Park 52 building? (CT)
A. Included in development, but P52 has a long-term lease that will be honored.

Q. What happened to proposals that did not make the cut? (JC)
A. Some were non-responsive; others were close but had minor shortcomings. Note: Andre Brumfield has reminded the audience and council of a direct relationship with Mesa/Walsh and will recuse himself from all Council decisions regarding Harper Court.

Q. What are the phases? Can the developers begin immediately? (CT)
A. Residential will be in a later phase to be worked out in the proposals. Retail is ready because of the hotel and office components.

Q. What is your best guess on when the project will be complete or near complete? (AW)
A. Perhaps 2011, 2012, but cannot abe concrete.

Q/A- Audience (TIF Committee members initials are in brackets)

Q1. Will development be 100% ADA accessible?, Q2. Need for movie theater. Q3. Keep Olympics in mind.
A1. City mandates accessibility. (CT adds that visioning process goal was to exceed mandated accessibility.)
A2. Some of the proposals contain a theater, but cannot mandate it.
A3. Statement taken as commentary.

Q. Respond to criticism from Hyde Park Herald on demolition.
a. UC tried to move remaining tenants out by June, 2009, stated that demolition would begin two weeks after above mentioned move out date.

Q. Why was Hollywood Video building added to development but not Theater building?
A. UC came before the TIF council with the news of the Hollywood Video building purchased, and asked the current bidders if expanded space would fit [within the current proposals].

Q. It was thought that three presentations would be made to the community by the finalists. Why is there only the one selected developer who will present?
a. Alderman made commitment will revisit (Ald). Bring in best one, and send it back if we do not like it (AW). What was best [proposal], U of c or the community? (JC)

Q1. Will there be an effort to maintain parking during construction? Q2. Expressed surprise at the 25-story height. Q3. TIF was set up to generate funds for schools and parking, where's the parking? Q4. Can it [development] be phased in so that successful restaurants can stay beyond their leases?
A1. Depends on the phases, but the importance of keeping maintaining parking is realized.
A2. This was discussed at the visioning meetings. The understanding is to keep it set back from the Bank side (53rd street) and Lake Park Ave.
A3. The [final] developer will replace the 150 parking spaces in addition to the parking requirements new development will bring.
A4. The same plans involve keeping and/or incorporating them.

Q. How much of the [office space] will U of C occupy? How large is the [office] space?
A1. The current building that houses Village Foods (51st and Lake Park) is 42K sq ft. Proposals for the HC redevelopment state as much as three times that size (50K sq ft.)-Peter Cassel, MAC Properties.
A2. The proposed development won't be larger than the Hyde Park Bank building - James Wilson, City of Chicago.
A3. The RFP did not proscribe 150K sq ft. Developers presented square footage through the parameters developed in the workshops. - Susan Campbell, UC.

Q. Does the commercial square footage include the hotel?
A. No.

Q. Developers usually perform their own demolitions, but UC started - (question interrupted)
A. Did not give dates. Harper Ave. will be cemented from 52nd to 53rd STreet. Demolition is part of site preparation.

Q. Discuss further staging (like BSBCIL) building, [built in stages to increase number of floors][[?]])
A. would like to clarify and use the word "phases" to better explain office, hotel, and residential development. The finalist will present the project in entirety.


July 13, 2009 meeting

Official minutes.

Members Present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Roderick Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

Meeting was called to order at 7:05 with a quorum present.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed unanimously, to approve the minutes of May 11, 2009 as submitted.

Chair Remarks: Howard Males explained that TIF members initially serve a three-year term, followed by two-year terms after that. The Alderman then decides whether to reappoint those members whose terms are expiring. Current members whose two-year terms are expiring, have been reappointed to the TIF Council by Alderman Preckwinkle. Those members are: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Toni McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

Leaving the Council is Steve Soble, who for personal reasons has asked to step down. He is thanked for his nearly seven years of service to the TIF Council.

Steve Soble's resignation leaves a vacancy on the TIF Council beginning September 2009. Interested Fourth Ward residents should submit a letter of interest and a brief bio to The new Council member (or members should other vacancies occur) will be announced at the September TIF Council meeting.

Howard also encouraged audience members to participate on one or more of the TIF Committees, where most of the Council work is carried out.

In response to a news article about the need to advertise a free lunch program, Howard explained that the free lunch program is available over the summer to all children whether or not they are enrolled in a summer school program. Any child ages 1 to 18 can go to one of the 756 school sites or 350 non-school sites throughout the state of Illinois. Presently only 16% of eligible children are taking advantage of this statewide program. For more information call 800-359-2163, the Illinois Hunger Association.

Proposed Zoning Change for 1363-67 E. 53rd Street: The Council has been asked to approve a proposal to change the zoning from B1-3, Neighborhood Shopping District, to B3-3, Community Shopping District. Danielle Meltzer Cassel of Vedder Price PC presented the proposal, explaining that the change would allow a veterinary office to rent the vacant space previously occupied by Subway. While there is no guarantee that the property owner and the owner of the Hyde Park Animal Clinic will reach an agreement (building lease negotiations are separate and apart from the zoning change), the possibility of the animal clinic leasing the storefront cannot be considered without the zoning change. Regardless of who the tenant will be, Ms. Meltzer Cassel stated that the change in zoning does open up the possibility of more diversity of businesses in this section of Hyde Park.

Ms. Meltzer Cassel explained some of the use differences between the two zoning designations and also explained the need for additional hearings should a B3-3 "special use" facility be considered (e.g. tattoo parlor, shelter or boarding kennel, fortune teller, hotel/motel).

Jack Spicer reminded members that the new zoning ordinance allows broad zoning changes to occur on 53rd Street, if the Alderman and community so desire. This would negate having to make recommendations on a case-by-case basis. However, it was pointed out that doing this would lessen control over which businesses come into the neighborhood.

Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to approve the request for a zoning change for said property from B1-3 to B3-3.

Harper Court Update: James Wilson, City of Chicago representative, and Essie Banks, also from his office, gave an update on proposals submitted. Susan Campbell and Jim Hennessey from the University of Chicago were also present. (This development site is jointly owned by these two entities.) Of the 5 original finalists, 4 remain. Their proposals will be presented on July 16 and 17 at the University of Chicago. By the end of summer (hopefully by the Sept. 13th TIF Council meeting) the best of these proposals will be vetted to the community. If not, a special TIF meeting will be called for in October. (Note: TIF Council members Jo Reizner and Andre Brumfield have excluded themselves from any discussion/voting on this site development because of possible conflict of interest.)

Questions from TIF Council members and the audience concerned the privately owned parking spaces (the Alderman has assured that this will be handled properly); whether Hollywood Video site is part of the project (it is); and elements of the RFP (retail, entertainment, residential, parking, hotel, office).

On the whole, those in attendance seemed pleased that progress is being made and that plans will be shared with the community.

Other Issues: A question was raised about whether or not development of the U. of C. owned property at 53rd and Harper (the former movie theater site) will included demolition or rehab. According to Susan Campbell, both possibilities remain.

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce has moved to 5501 S. Everett and is hosting a reception on Wed., July 15, 4:00 to 7:00 to introduce its new home.

There seems to be no movement on the development of the project at 53rd and Cornell by L3.

Adjournment: Chairman Males wished all in attendance a safe and happy summer. Moved, seconded, passes unanimously adjourn the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 13, 7:00 p.m. at Kenwood Academy.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske Secretary.


At the July meeting, Dr. Wake, UC and Vedder Ltd. presented a request to change zoning for 1365 E. 53rd St. (Freehling bldg.) from B1-3 to B3-3 to accommodate a part of Hyde Park Animal Clinic. The council approved. James Wilson of the city encouraged all to come to the Sept. meeting for presentations by the Harper Court finalists.

Harper Court: The University has included for the finalists the option of including the former Hollywood Video building.

According to the U of C. News blog on Harper Court by Kadesha Thomas, at the July 2009 TIF meeting, James Wilson of the city reported the number of developers has been winnowed to 4 (Since 3). They only want "doable" projects. The presentation meeting may be postponed to October.

Here is the complete:

And then there were four
15 July 2009
Posted by kadeshathomas
The City and the University have narrowed the field of candidates to four in their search for the right development team for Harper Court, James Wilson of the Department of Community Development told the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council, a community group, on Monday.
Five finalists had submitted proposals earlier this month, and four of those met the terms of the request for proposals Wilson said all four had creative ideas and all included plans for hotel, retail, entertainment, office, residential and parking spaces.
City and University representatives will interview the remaining teams this week and next, and examine their plans to make sure the proposals are viable.
Those proposals that make the next cut will be presented to the TIF Council this fall, possibly as early as the regularly scheduled September 14 meeting.
“We don’t want to bring anything to you that’s not doable,” Wilson told the TIF Council Monday. “We need to go through this process and make sure the ones we bring you are truly good ones.”
That could be all four, or it could be just one or two, Wilson said.
Members of the Council and the public said they are anxious for the project to move forward, and glad to see signs of progress. TIF Council Chair Howard Males underscored the urge to move forward, promising to schedule a special meeting in October if the presentation was not ready for the September meeting.


Also, THERE IS AN OPENING ON THE TIF COUNCIL-apply to 4th Ward Office 773 536-8103. Noted also by the chair- the percentage of parents who have signed up for the school lunch program is very low--school's money depends on turning those forms it- and the kids should be getting lunch!


May 11, 2009 meeting

At the May TIF meeting, an update said Harper Ct. redevelopment is still considering 5 or so strong proposals. Antheus/Silliman described its request for zoning upgrade from B1-2 to B3-2 to allow a restaurant with alcohol and catering in the 1350 former WaMu space and that it expects to use the space for its offices only for a about a year. The zoning change was unanimously supported by the TIF. An adjustment was made to the CleanSlate budget, and Harper Court Arts Council reported that the realized from the sale of Harper Court ($6m minus taxes) and its giving so far (info is on its website,

May 11, 2009 meeting

Official Minutes as revised

Members Present: Jane comiskey, Howard males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Roderick Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske

Meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. with a quorum present.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of March 9, 2009 as submitted. Thanks to Rod Sawyer for assuming secretary duties in March.

Chair Remarks: Howard went over the evening's agenda, noting that Alderman Preckwinkle would be unable to attend the meeting and welcoming Mae Wilson and Pam Cummings from the Alderman's office.

CleanSlate 2009 Budget Revision: Because of a change in the services provided by CleanSlate that will not include power washing, there is a need to amend the amount of money allocated by the TIF Council. Moved by Rod Sawyer, seconded by Charles Newsome, approved unanimously, to budget $150,000 for CleanSlate, a reduction of $7,000 from the previous amount budgeted. (Note: Logan Quan from the Cara Program/CleanSlate noted that power washing was not a viable option given the current economy and that no new projects were being considered for Hyde Park at this time.) Chairman Males will send a letter to Alderman Preckwinkle authorizing the $150,000 and recommending that the Alderman's office sent a letter to teh appropriate parties in the City to release these funds to CleanSlate.

Harper Court Arts Council Update: In response to a question at the last TIF meeting regarding the Arts Council, Mary Anton, a HCAC member, updated those present on grant allocations. She stated that the Arts Council is a not-for-profit 501C3 entity, targeting economic development and arts programs serving the Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhoods.

In the first grant period that included all of 2008, a total of $320,000 was awarded to about 20 arts organizations. There will be four grant cycles in 2009 averaging between $10,000 and $50,000. To qualify for a grant5, organizations must be a not-for-profit, be in business for at least three years, have on paid staff member, and serve the Hyde Park/Kenwood Community.

In response to questions, Ms. Anton stated that the Harper court sale total was $6,500,000 with the money now invested with Northern Trust. She estimates that between $150,000 and $300,000 will be awarded each year. Economic development grants have gone to entities such as the Jazz Festival, Experimental Station, and the Quad Communities Development Corporation.

Additional information can be found on the web site,

Development Updates: James Wilson, representing the City of Chicago, gave attendees an update on the RFQ process for the Harper Court property. Over the past five months, he has been working with developers interested in the RFP who are financially viable and have strong plans for developing the property. June 30th is the due date for RFPs; hopefully finalists will present their proposals to the TIF Council in September.

Council members and audience members expressed concerns about what the development's use will be [dropped: strong voices against graduate housing,] how quickly work will begin, and site prep during what may be a three to five year development phase. The Chair stated that there are difficult questions out there for both the buyer and the seller.

Request for Zoning Change: Peter Cassel, representing Silliman Group LLC, agent for Kenwood Court LLC, owner of the former Washington Mutual building at 1350 E. 53rd Street, requested support for a zoning change rom B1-2, Neighborhood Shopping district, to B3-2, Community Shopping. Mr. Cassel stated that this would, in part, allow future commercial tenants at the property to apply for city licenses that would, if approved, permit them to function as "general restaurants" which allows restaurant and catering services as well as a separate bar. In an effort to solicit neighborhood approval, Silliman has met with residents on April 27th and, now, with the TIF Council members and neighbors.

Moved, seconded, passed to support the zoning change request note above.

Other business: Cynthia Liberty, Kenwood Academy LSC Chair, inquired about requesting TIF funds for the school. Howard Males encouraged her to meet with him to discuss funding requirements and teh process of requesting TIF funds. Kenwood is in the TIF district and falls within the education/parks/parking and development mission of the Hyde Park TIF.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.

Next meeting will be on July 13, 7:00 p.m. at Kenwood Academy.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Secretary


Hyde Park Herald, May 20, 2009, 2009, Harper Court Update offered at [May 11] TIF meeting. By Kate Hawley.

The city and The University of Chicago are making progress in identifying the development team for the project to replace Harper Court, a city official said recently. At the May 11 meeting of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance District Council, James Wilson of the city's Department of Community Development gave a progress report on the redevelopment of the Harper Court shopping center, owned by the university.

The city is currently narrowing down the field of prospective developers who submitted to a request of for proposals, Wilson said. Five development teams made the first cut. Those still in the running in September will give presentations to the community the TIF council meeting then, Wilson said. The selection process will wrap up by the end of the year. "We expect to see some development within the next couple of years," he said. [Note-several council members expressed skepticism about redevelopment in the next few years.]

Several local residents said they objected to the university's plan to clear out the shopping center this summer, since the new development is at least three years away. "I just think it's irresponsible to clear the land without a developer with leases in hand," said Robyn Kaufman. Irene Sherr, a consultant who has worked with the TIF council and Ald. Preckwinkle (4th), said keeping businesses operating in Harper Court will only prolong the redevelopment.

Harper Court was sold to the university last May by the nonprofit Harper Court Arts Council, whose secretary, Mary Anton came to teh TIF meeting to give an overview of the organization's grant-making activities. Last December, in its inaugural round of grants, the arts Council gave away $300,000. This year the Arts Council has four grant cycles. Applications for the first cycle were due feb. 25, according to the Arts Councils' Web site... Anton declined to say exactly how much the Arts Council netted from the sale after taxes and other expenses.

TIF council OKs up-zone, Cleanslate budget also discussed.

Plans to up-zone a Hyde Park building to accommodate a restaurant topped the agenda [May 11, 2009] ...The council voted unanimously to approve a plan by Silliman Group LLC to change the zoning for Kenwood court, 1350 E. 53th St., until recently home to a Washington Mutual Bank branch. Silliman is affiliated with real estate firm Antheus Capital LLC, which owns more than 70 buildings in Hyde Park and is behind some of the neighborhood's biggest development projects.

Kenwood Court, now zoned B1-2, a neighborhood shopping district, would be rezoned to B3-2, a community shopping district, according to Peter Cassel, director of community development for MAC Property Management, another Antheus affiliate. Silliman is seeking the higher zoning designation to move forward on a plan to lease space in the building to a full-service restaurant with a separate bar area and catering facilities, Cassel said.

Several in the crowd of roughly 30 that attended the meeting asked whether the up-zoning might open the door to other kinds of businesses the neighborhood might find objectionable. Cassel noted that liquor stores, tattoo parlors, cremation facilities and a range of other businesses must undergo community review before approval under the B3-02 zoning classification. Council member Jane [Comiskey] asked if the building's resident and immediate neighbors had expressed any concerns about the zoning change and restaurant plan. "The ones we spoke to were all for it," Cassel said.

In other business, the council revised its earlier budget for Cleanslate, which provides neighborhood cleanup services. The program also helps people with troubled employment histories transition to permanent, stable jobs. Teh $157,000 allocated at the council's March meeting was scaled back to $150,000 since Cara, the organization that sponsors Cleanslate, chose not to include power washing in its menu of services for the neighborhood.


March 9, 2009 meeting

11 initial responses to the Harper RFQ were announced as narrowed to 5, who will prepare proposals due in May and would present to the council in the summer. The preliminary bids were explained, all including mixed development and a graduate housing component and 2 to include a hotel. Arnold Randall reported on Olympics (not to have new transit). CleanSlate was renewed and repair progress at Canter described.


Members Present: Steve Soble, Laurel Stradford, Antoinette McAllister, Jo Reizner, Howard Males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome, Tony Wilkins, Andre brumfield.

Meeting called to order at 6:06 p.m., with a quorum present.

remarks by the chair: Welcomed all in attendance and orally presented tonight's meeting agenda. Chairman Males explained the purpose of the TIF Council and described its committees and open membership processes. TIF Council members introduced themselves and the areas of the Council subcommittees they individually served.

Approval of Minutes. Minutes were read by the committee. J. Reizner made a motion to approve the finalized minutes, which was seconded by L. Stradford. The motion passed unanimously.

R & R Committee Report: Co-chair J. Comiskey reported that the Cleanslate proposal for the 2009-2010 budget had been reviewed, and recommended approval in the form of a motion for the requested amount of $157,000. J. Reizner seconded the motion, and was brought to the floor for discussion. a representative from Cleanslate was present to describe the program to the audience. Chairman Males motioned that a vote be taken for approval by the entire council, seconded by T. McAlister. The motion passed unanimously.

2006 Olympics: Arnold Randall, Director of Neighborhood Legacy, Chicago 2016, presented a slide show regarding Chicago's 2016 and its purpose, Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid. Mr. Rand[all] presented an overview of CHICAGO 2016 and its purpose, Chicago's competition in the bidding, Chicago's strengths, benefits to the city if awarded the Olympics, and chronology of events and next steps. A handout summarizing the above was given, and Mr. Rand[all] gave the audience an opportunity to ask questions.

Harper Court Redevelopment: Susan Campbell, Associate Vice President of Civic Engagement, University of Chicago (UC), presented an update on the developer selection process by announcing five finalists. She described each bid, and introduced represent from those bidders who were present in the audience. Summaries of the finalists' bids and the UC press release announcing the finalists were out. Ms. Campbell expressed her intentions to be in attendance at the council's next scheduled meeting.

Andre Brumfield, TIF Council member and Co-Chair of the R &R subcommittee noted that he was engaged with Mesa Development/Walsh in developing their bid for Harper Court, and other non-related projects. To resolve conflicts of interest, he will recuse himself from untrue issues regarding Harper Court Redevelopment.

Issues from the audience: Two issues were brought forth from the audience regarding entities within the TIF district.

(Q). Harper Court Foundation received $6.4 million in the sale of the Harper Court properties. What is being done or has happened to the proceeds?

(A.). C. Thurow - Issues are being finalized, and must clear IDRS requirements. Mr. Thurow will look into this issue and my have something to report on at the next TIF Council meeting.

(Q). Comment on Hollywood Video Building (HWB) purchase - is it part of 53rd St./Harper Court revitalization?

(A). S. Campbell - Indicated that options regarding HWB were still being evaluated.

Canter Middle School: Ald. Preckwinkle remarked that Canter Middle School had selected a vendor from tree finalists to effect maintenance and modifications to the building from requested TIF Funds, which were matched by Chicago Public Schools. Funds were provide for tuck pointing, a building chemical wash and front glass doors.

Alderman's Report. Ald. Preckwinkle remarked that the press release (see Harper Court Redevelopment) handed out by the University of Chicago stated that a decision on winning bid would be made by the end of summer. She stated that the community had expected finalists [to] present their plans before the selection process was final, and asked that the University take the opportunity to have the finalists present their plans either at the July 09 or September 09 TIF Council meetings.

Motion to adjourn was made by the Ch ir, and seconded. The meeting as adjourned at approximately 8:35 pm.

Submitted Respectfully,

Rod Sawyer


January 12, 2009 TIF Council meeting

Susan Campbell of U of C gives an update on tenant evacuation of Harper Court and the RFP process.
Panel of developer experts from the Nov. 15 exercise evaluates the Nov. 15 block exercise findings.
Alderman Preckwinkle reviews 2008. 50 + attended.


Members Present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Joe Reizner, Roderick Sawyer, Laurel Stradford, Ginny Vaske.

Call to Order: Howard Males, Chair, called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. with a quorum present. He assured those present that the TIF has money available and will continue with its focus and mission. He re-stated the open and public nature of t he 53rd Street TIF processes and encouraged neighbors to sign up for a TIF committee. Howard thanked Irene Sherr, the U. of C., South East Chicago commission, Council members, adn neighbors who braved the evening's snowy weather to attend this meeting.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes of Nov. 10, 2008 with one typo corrected.

TIF Business: Council members introduced themselves. Howard Males then stated that the Clean Slate budget proposal would be looked at in March after the TIF R & R Committee vets the bid and makes its recommendation to the full Council for a vote. Howard Males further added that he has asked the Clean Slate/Cara group to include the purchase of a power washer. The power washing service could be added to current Clean Slate responsibilities.

University of Chicago Harper Court Development Update: Susan Campbell, Assistant VP at the University of Chicago, gave an update on the Harper Court project. In response to questions about whether or not tenants needed to leave by the end of January, the University will give a 6 month extension to tenants still occupying the site. Jan. 26th is the RFQ deadline; both Susan an James Wilson, City of Chicago Dept. of Community and Development, stated that several "strong" developers have expressed interest in the project.

53rd Street Vision, Block Building Workshop Report: Irene Sherr summarized work done at a series of three community workshops in which participants, with the help of real estate and financial advisors, experimented with development ideas for three sites along 53rd street: Dorchester Commons, McMobile site, Harper Court adn city Parking Lot. (See 53rd Street Vision power point. [visit our 53rd Vision page.]) Several professionals who worked on the site scenarios answered audience questions, most of them concerned with the financial viability for developers and the chances these sites will be developed in th near future. In response to a question about TIF funding, it was stated that this would depend on the percentage of affordable housing available.

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle summarized the financial status of the TIF: $3,000,000 has been generated. Support has been given to Clean Slate, aid given to small businesses on 53rd Street; beautification funds to Carter Middle School (matched by CPS)' and viaduct work on 53rd and 55th. The art panels have been delayed and will be installed in spring.

Regarding the Harper Court project, the Alderman reiterated the two-step process of RFQ (due in Jan.) and the RFP which w3ill be completed by those deemed "qualified" based on the RFQ process. The Alderman responded to a question regarding presentation of the final RFPs at a TIF meeting. While not all financial information can be shared, it seems possible that the broader concepts can be presented. The process will be clarified at the March TIF meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske

From Hyde Park Herald, January 21, 2009. TIF council meeting talks Harper Court, 53rd St. By Kate Hawley

News that leased will be extended at the Harper Court Shopping Center and a recap of a community workshop about development on 53rd Street topped the agenda at the Jan. 12 meeting of the 53rd street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council. About 50 people braved a snowstorm to attend the meeting at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. Among them were a handful of architects and developers who worked with community residents att he Nov. 15 workshop which focused on creating a vision for developing the 53rd Street commercial corridor.

"The goal was to have everybody understand what it takes to come up with a viable development," said Irene Sherr, a local development consultant who coordinated the event. "I think most of the groups found it was not as easy as they thought." [The report distributed can be found at or our 53rd Vision Report page.]

Participants used building blocks to design development concepts for three sites: Dorchester Commons, 1322 E. 53rd St; the Mobil-McDonald's site at 1410 E. 53rd St.; and the Harper Court shopping center and adjacent city parking lot. A major mixed-use development is planned for the roughly three-acre Harper Court site. No development is currently on tap for the other two parcels.

Experts who attended the workshop then crunched the numbers to see if the hypothetical proposals were sound investments. Four of the eight scenarios in the report Sherr presented at the meeting broke even, and four others showed returns between 1.1 and 7.8 percent. Sherr assembled five architects and eight developers for the workshop. According to the report, the developers included Peter Holstein of Holstein Development, Collin McKenna of Related Midwest and Dennis Harder of Joseph Freed & Associates, the company behind the redevelopment of Block 37 in the Loop.

"We like urban infill projects [like Harper Court]," said Kevin Augustyn, senior vice president of retail development for HSA Commercial Real Estate, who attended both the workshop and the TIF meeting. "That's where long-term value is."

A few of the developers who attended the TIF meeting stressed that increased density would probably be required in order to make the hypothetical 53d Street projects more profitable. Introducing the benefits of density was one reason for the workshop and two that preceded it, according to Sherr. "There is this allergic reaction to density," she said.

The workshops, sponsored by the TIF council, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) an a range of other city and community groups, showed people in the community like the vibrant, busy streetscapes the denser buildings can help create, she said.

University of Chicago officials also came to the meeting to upgrade the community on progress at Harper Court. Leases will be extended to June 30, five months after the Jan. 31 deadline initially set by the university to clear the complex, according to Susan Campbell, associate vice president and director of the university's Office of [Civic Engagement]. "Our rationale for vacating the property is primarily to prepare it for development," she said.

The process of finding a developer is moving forward, Campbell said. The city and the university issued a request for proposals, or RFP, on Dec. 8 and held a pre-proposal meeting and site tour for developers on Dec. 17. "We've been hearing from some very strong development companies," Campbell said. The RFP for harper Court has two parts. The first part is a request for qualifications, or RFQ, in which developers submit their credentials. Campbell said the RFQ deadline has been extended from Jan. 19 to Jan. 26. The second part asks developers who made the cut to submit their proposals for review. That deadline is May 11, according to the city's Web site. To see the harper Court RFP and the timeline for the project, visit the city's Web site at Click, on City Departments, then Planning and Development, then Land Sale Information. Harper Court is among several projects listed on the page. [For direct full link, visit our 53rd Vision Report page.]

There was some dispute at the meeting about whether the community will see proposals from the top three developers who submitted to the RFP, or only the top one. Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) said the community has always heard from the three front-runners, while Campbell and James Wilson of the city's Department of Planning and Development said only the top candidate will present.

In other business, Howard Males, council chair, aimed to reassure the audience about the state of eh DTIF given the downturn in the economy. "We have money," he said. "The business of handling the people's money will continue." About $3.2 million are in the coffers according to an annual report for 2007.

The council will vote at its March meeting on whether to continue funding for CleanSlate, the neighborhood beautification program that helps people with troubled employment histories transition into permanent jobs, he said. ...



November 10, 2008 TIF Council meeting

The following were discussed at the meeting.
Harper Court - hardly anything except that RFP discussion meeting will be held with the city November 18 with hope for issuance December 8. (We are awaiting clarification that revisions proposed by the Planning Committee are incorporated and whether Harper Theater will be included. The University gave no commitment on delay of teardown because of economy.)
Jane Comiskey reported on the walk through by the Streetscape/Business Envir. and Revitalization Committee. Problems, good signs and opportunities were seen.
Nichols Park entry and desire of some for more openness to 53rd was discussed. It is likely that some pruning back will be done and evaluated. The park council chair said that crimes in the park are not in that sector.
Work on the Canter Middle School (half financed by the TIF) continues.

The University's Brian Shaw discussed University bus routes and inability to extend the non-CTA routes to non ID'd riders.

Official minutes

Members present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Joe Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins.

Call to Order: Chairman Males called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. with a quorum present. He assured those present that there would be a designated "TIF entrance door" for future meetings, thanked Principal Kirby for her hospitality, and reviewed the agenda.

Approval of the Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of Sept. 8, 2008.

Report from Rehab and Repair Committee: Chair Jane Comiskey reiterated the committee's mission of enhancing 53rd street in any way possible to assist residents and retail establishments. A group of reps from numerous Hyde Park organizations walked 53rd Street and took note of many "good news" items: new businesses, signage, awnings, trees, Friday night music at Chant and Mellow Yellow, and only one vacant site, Baskin Robbins. The group did not take into account large vacant sites as these are more complicated issues.

Suggestions included trimming lilac bushes along the perimeter of Nichols Park on 53rd Street (safety concerns), what to do with the empty space at the Metra station, and possibly a new newsstand at 53rd and Lake Park. The committee will visit other neighborhoods for ideas.

Irene Sherr suggested the committee consider the U. of C. student task force recommendations and investigate the "Place Making" initiative for process ideas. Marcie Schlessinger suggested that some of the lilacs in Nichols Park be removed entirely to provide a sight line into the park. The R & R Committee is working with the Nichols Park Advisory Council and looking at the original plans for the park.

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle invited all present to attend the Nov. 15th "53rd st. Block Building Workshop" at Kenwood Academy.

Update on Harper Court" Susan Campbell, U. of C. reported that the University, in partnership with the City of Chicago, represented by James Wilson, continues to explore options for redevelopment. On Nov. 18th the Community Development Commission, meeting at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, 2nd floor, wil meet and hopefully approve the release of an RFQ and RFP, thus moving the project forward.

Update on the Canter Middle School Project: Tony Wilkins, Canter LSC member, reported that the beautification project is definitely moving forward with a certificate of inspection being issued by Tishman Co., project managers. The project will include glass doors at the main entrance, chemical cleaning of the exterior, and replacement of all inside doors and hardware. Tony also mentioned Canter's admirable ISAT scores of 84.1 in Reading and 77.7 in Math, its Spanish program, Algebra for 8th graders, and partnerships with Kenwood Academy and Shoesmith Elementary. The school's mantra is "Think big: think college." On behalf of the principal, Dr. Colleen Conlan, Tony thanked Alderman Preckwinkle and the TIF Council for its effort on behalf of Canter students.

U. of C. Parking Demand Management Program and U. of C./CTA Hyde Park routes:
Brian Shaw, Director of Transportation Services at U. of C., explained the partnership of the University with CTA to provided free transportation to U. of C. students adn faculty and, in some cases, availability to non-university people at a fee.

Route 171 serves the Shoreland and Broadview residences during a.m. and p.m. rush hours along 55th St. to Ellis. The 172 serves Regent's Park, 53rd and East Hyde Park Blvd. during morning rush hours. A Shoreland/Stony Island route shuttles students from Shoreland Hall to campus.

Routes that non-university riders can use include CTA Route 173, a 3:30-6:30 express to downtown and north to Belmont: Route 174, a rush hour service M-F and weekend evening and late night service from Garfield Stations; CTA Route linking Metra's Union and Ogilvie stations during weekday rush hours.

Evening bus routes provide U. of C. ID holders with transportation to train stations; academic evening routes to large housing spots and around Hyde Park.

SafeRide provides point-to-point service in areas covered by the U. of C. Police Dept., available 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Sun.-Wed. and 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thurs.-Sat. Call 773 702-2022 for this service, which is available to everyone concerned about safety during those times.

Mr. Shaw emphasized the challenges he faces given the increasing ridership on some routes. He also explained that the U. of C. has opted to cover its students and faculty, not the general public, because of liability issues and costs. However, everyone can use university parking free of charge after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Monthly parking permits for a fee are also available. A campus transportation study will begin this winter to evaluate all aspects of the University's transit system given the impact of new housing opening up at 61st and Ellis. An interface with 53rd Street is possible. Web links are at;;;;

Let's Play with Blocks!: Irene Sherr announced the model block workshop on Nov. 15th, 8:30 til noon at Kenwood. Participants will "develop" three sites, the Mobil/McDonald's site; Dorchester Commons; and Harper Court/City Parking lot. Architects, realtors, adn planners will facilitate table groups to help groups see what is possible at the site, get a sense of what it takes to develop a site, and how to manipulate variable.

Howard Males thanked Irene for the series of workshops that help educate the community as well as ensure their input and involvement.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, and passed, to adjourn at 8:35 p.m. The next TIF Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at Kenwood Academy.

Respectfully submitted,
Ginny Vaske.

Herald report, November 26, 2008. TIF council hears variety of updates. By Sam Cholke

Representatives from the University of Chicago said they are still working with Harper Court businesses to help them relocate before leases expire at the end of the year. Except for the Park 52 restaurant and the Hyde Park Animal Clinic, most leases at the Shopping center will have ended in early January, said Susan Campbell, associate vice president adn director of the office of community affairs at the University of Chicago.

"We're still working with tenants of Harper Court trying to find them places to relocate," Campbell said. Campbell shared these plans during a sparsely attended Nov. 14 meeting of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Council. It will be close to a year before a developer is picked, said James Wilson, 4th Ward coordinating planner for the Department of Planning and Development.

Campbell told the audience that they wanted to help businesses from Harper Court get set up in a new location as quickly as possible, though the university was still flexible if a suitable location could not be found before leases expires.

Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., is ready to utilize TIF money allocated more than a year ago to replace doors adn clean the exterior of the building, said Tony Wilkins, a member of the TIF board and the Canter local school council. The school received matching funds from Chicago Public Schools and will be replacing all glass exterior doors and all interior doors and begin cleaning soon, he said. Cost estimates took a "ridiculously long time," Wilkins said to explain the delay in beginning work.

Brian Shaw from the university's Transportation and Parking Services said the bus routes around Hyde Park may be rethought in conjunction with CTA as the student population becomes more condensed on campus when the new dormitories on 61st Street and Ellis Avenue open. " We're doing a transit study this winter," Shaw said. He also said the university is working with students to come up with another bus line that would run from Hyde Park to the South Loop area.

Shaw reminded people that though some CTA buses in Hyde Park are subsidized by the university, the buses operate to residents the same as any other bus in Chicago. Smaller buses that are clearly marked as University of Chicago vehicles do transport students and faculty around the neighborhood late a night, he said. These late-night services remain available only to university students and faculty for liability reasons. Umbrella service, a program where university police will escort any resident when they do not feel safe traveling through the polices' coverage area, remains available to everyone in Hyde Park Shaw said. The police will escort you, but cannot provide rides, he said. "They have to arrest you to be comfortable putting you in their car," Shaw said. "They're not being rude, they literally can't let you."

The TIF council announced at the meeting that the Blackstone Avenue entrance at the north end of the Kenwood Academy building would be the only accessible entrance to future council meetings at the 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. school.


September 8, 2008 TIF Council meeting

The Advisory Council met September 8 in its new location, Kenwood Academy Little Theater, 5015 S. Blackstone.
Vacancies were filled with existing members, officers, committee chairs.
The council approved a resolution to change the name and focus of the Parking Committee to Access and Transportation.
The Business and Environment Sub-committee ("Revitalization and) is undertaking short and longer range planning and action for improvements and filling of vacancies/relocations for businesses to be displaced by development, and general brightening up. Any interested can contact Jane Comiskey at 773 324-0750.
Planning and Dev. Chair Chuck Thurow reported favorably on review of the Lake Village proposal. Village Foods objected to the proposal, saying there has been no progress in negotiations 1 1/2 years. The proposal was endorsed by the Council.
The University of Chicago announced a new Vice President for Community Engagement, Ann Marie Lipinski, recent exec. editor of the Chicago Tribune, effective October 1. The University is still deciding the future of Harper 53rd (Theater and Herald) Property, though its state of deterioration was noted, consistent with an earlier consultant's assessment. No new news on Harper Court Area.
Next Council meeting: November 10, Monday, 7 pm, Kenwood Academy.


Members present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAlister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Joe Reizner, Roderick Sawyer, Steve Soble, Laurel Stradford, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

Call to Order: Chair Males called the meeting to order at 7:03 with a quorum present at our new location, Kenwood Academy Little Theatre.

Approval of Minutes: Move, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of July 14, 2008. Thank you Rod!

TIF Council Elections and Business. Chair Males noted that Council members Brumfield, Comiskey, Males, McAllister, Newsome, Stradford, Reizner, Thurow, Patel and Vaske terms were expiring. He asked the Secretary to report results of member responses to expiring terms on the Council and for officers and committee chairs. Members unanimously elected to retain all members and current officers/committee chairs for another two year term

Chair Males then entered a motion to rename the Parking Committee:

Whereas the Parking Committee has been underutilized because of its limited charge (to review automobile parking solutions for the district) and whereas times and mobility needs have changed since the Council's inception, I am asking that the Council approve re-tasking the Parking Committee and rename it "Access and Transportation" in order to reflect a broader mission to review all proposals having to do with pedestrian, bicycle, public and private transit, as well as issues having to do with accessibility and mobility -- with gas prices rising and person choices expanding, we need to make sure we can tackle both green and gray matters. If the Council agrees, we will rewrite the By-Laws to reflect this change. The current Chair of the Parking Committee has previously consented to this motion and agrees fully with its new direction.

Moved, seconded and passed unanimously. Committee Chair Comiskey moved to have her committee work include working with existing and empty stores to improve retail. Moved, seconded, passed.

51st and Lake Park Planned Development. Chair Males noted two letters submitted to the TIF Council by Don Notaro, Vice President of Village Foods, expressing opposition to the Antheus Capital proposed development at the Village Center. He contends that its construction, even in phases, would put Village Foods out of business. Letters entered into official minutes.

Chuck Thurow reported on the August 18, 2008 meeting of his committee at which the Antheus proposal was reviewed. He noted proposal strengths:

- A strong interface with Kenwood Academy, metra tracks, and possible future developments on 53rd;
- Parking, traffic, and pedestrian movement were dealt with well. (Facing street, extra wide sidewalks, internal parking, loading on south end, and minimal curb cuts, etc.)
- Strong design materials (Masonry quality on pedestrian levels, glass on 34d level, "eyes on the street" design). The project architect reviewed the project, noting the green roof, movable sun shades, and maximum use of green materials. The project is 170 units, 15% affordable (based on city standard) and will include small retail along Harper. (Village Foods voiced its opposition.) The committee recommended approval of this project to move forward with the public processes, noting that no TIF funds are involved at this point.

Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to approve moving forward with this project by Antheus Capital.

Alderman Preckwinkle Report: The Alderman shared the city report of the 4th ward TIF, giving and overview and summary to all in attendance and a full report to Council members. A balance of $3,196,344 is in the TIF. In response to questions about the Canter project, it was noted that the Chicago Public Schools, who matched the TIF $150,000, is identifying its priorities for Canter which does include exterior doors. Chair Males noted that TIF funds will most likely continue to be used for SBIF proposals.

53rd and Harper U. of C. Property Update: Susan Campbell, U. of C., reported that the University is still waiting to find a developer for the property, given that its previous developer was terminated in June for its failure to meet contract specs. The property is in disrepair. According to Jo Reizner, VP of Real Estate for the University, the property is deteriorating and may have to be razed. it is possible that this property may become part of the Harper Court development. All public comments were incorporated into the RFQ for the Harper Court development.

Ms. Campbell announced that U. of C. President Zimmer had appointed Hyde Parker Ann Marie Lipinski as head of he newly named Office of Civic Engagement, replacing Hank Webber and the Office of Community Affairs. Bob Rosenberg, U. of C. Office of Communication, noted the expanding role of the university into safety, transportation, job training, charter schools, etc. and the need for an office that reflects this broader view. Ms. Campbell noted the U. of C. retail study and its strong support for Hyde Park as a destination locale and, therefore, the University's desire to assist with retail development.

Community events:
Members noted the coming mum and [bulb] sale Sept. 20th, Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Sept [2]7th, the 57th Street Children's Book Fair on Sept. 28, and building block exercise on Nov. 15th.

Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m.

The next TIF Council meeting is on Monday, November 10, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., Kenwood Academy.

Respectfully submitted,
Ginny Vaske

July 14, 2008 TIF Council meeting

July 14 2008 TIF meeting saw much-
1. Roll out of Village Center proposal to enthusiasm(see Antheus page-open Committee to review August 18);
2. Reports on Harper Court Area updates:

At the July 14 TIF meeting, TIF Plg. and Dev. Chair Chuck Thurow expanded upon and pushed his committee's strengthening revisions (after a May meeting) to the draft guidelines for Harper Court Area RFQ/RFP. There was general approval from the audience. Tim Brangle of Chicago Consultants Studio echoed these high standards and Hyde Park-consistent principles-- as did also presentation from the UC Student Committee on Retail. Timetable indicated below continues on track.

3. Reports on other developments/upgrades (Giordano's to keep historic facade on Blackstone s. of 53rd while remodeling and going up a floor-looked attractive; new cafe planned for old HP Produce)
No report on 53rd Theater/Herald (Susan Campbell of UC had a death in the family)
4. UC Student Retail Committee reported on needs and structural, other barriers to drawing students to business districts, esp. 53rd.

Hyde Park Herald report, September 17, 2008. By Kate Hawley.

A single developer may end up owning the Harper Court shopping center and a vacant building at the norwest corner of Harper Avenue and 53dr Street - a structure that houses both the defunct Harper Theater and a chunk of commercial space widely known in the neighborhood as the Herald Building.

The University of Chicago, which owns Harper Court and the Harper Theater building, might bundle them together in a package deal, according to Susan Campbell, associate vice president for community affairs. Officials are currently considering the future of the theater building, perhaps to "include it or hold it out as another element for Harper Court," she said Monday, Sept. 8, at a meeting of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance (TIF) advisory council at Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave. "It's a consideration, not a decision," she added. "It hasn't been fully vetted."

The theater building has been in limbo since May, when the university fired Baum Realty and Brinshore Development. The developers planned to rehab the structure for retail space, but had trouble meeting financial commitments and contractual deadlines, university officials have said. Also in May, the university announced its purchase of Harper Court, the shopping center located among Harper avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets, and its plan to acquire the adjacent city-owned parking lot. The university will seek a developer for the Harper Court parcels through a Request for Proposals, or RFP, a competitive bidding process approve by the city. Campbell had no word yet on whether the RFP, which will likely be issued in the fall, will include the Harper Theater building.

And it's unclear at this stage what bundling the properties would mean for efforts to preserve the 1913 Harper Theater building, designed by noted Chicago architect Horatio Wilson. Its orange rating in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey means a 90-day hold on demolition. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Campbell and Ilene "Jo" Reizner, director of real estate operations for the university and a member of the council, said the building may not be worth saving. Three years ago, before selecting Baum and Brinshore as developers, the university commissioned a study on the property from Bauer Latoza Studio, a Chicago firm specializing in architecture and historic preservation, Reizner told the roughly 50 people who attended the meeting. The study concluded that razing the site was the most feasible solution and that "the building was not something that anyone should put a significant amount of money into," she said.

Moreover, the complex is in bad shape, she added, saying, "It's barely able to withstand another winter, I'd say." Baum and Brinshore took on the project, "hoping to gain a foothold in the community. It wa not an economically viable project," she said.

In an email message, David Baum, principal of Baum Development and Baum Realty Group, reacted to Reizner's comments by saying, "Given the current economic conditions, we couldn't get the project to pencil." "Preserving a building is important from both an historical and environmental perspective," he continued. The job "would have required extensive renovation, particularly the theater [portion of the] building, and it would have proven to be an expensive endeavor." He held out the possibility that his firm would seek other projects in the neighborhood, saying, "I continue to believe very strongly in the fundamentals of Hyde Park. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when."

Reached by phone, Brinshore president and CEO Rich Sciortino declined to comment on Reizner's assessment of the projects' financial viability or the condition of the building.

Jack Spicer, a local preservation advocate, asked at the meeting how much effort the university plans to put into maintaining the building, "so we don't end up with demolition by neglect?" Measures will be taken to ensure that the structure remains sound, Campbell said, adding, "It's not in our interest or the community's interest to have the building fall apart."

In other business, the council approved Antheus Capital's proposal to redevelop the Village Center shopping mall at the southwest corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue, paving the way for the company to seek approval from the Chicago City Council.

Also at the meeting, council Chair Howard Males announced the results of the biennial TIF council elections. The 13 members voted unanimously to reelect Males and Reizner, the vice chair.

And he announced that Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who appoints the council, had reappointed eight members to new two-year terns: Tone McAllister, Trushar Patel, Chuck Thurow, Laurel Stradford, Tony Wilkins, Jane Comiskey and Ginny Vaske, who serves as council secretary.

Three additional members, Andre Brumfeld, Rod Sawyer and steve Soble, are up for reappointment when their terms expire in September 2009.


Minutes of the July 14, 2008 meeting

Members Present: Steve Soble, Antoinette McAllister, Jo Reizner, Howard Males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome, Ginny Vaske

Meeting called to order at 7:02 p.m. with a quorum present

Remarks by the Chair: Welcomed all in attendance and orally presented revised meeting agenda.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes were read by the committee. C. Thurow made a motion to approve the minutes as presented, which was seconded by J. Comiskey. the motion passed unanimously.

TIF Council Nominations: Chair Males noted that some council members terms were set to expire soon, and that the nomination process for members is now open. Interested parties can either have someone nominate them or can nominate themselves by presenting a letter stating their desire and experience to the Alderman's office. Officers' (Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary) terms are also set to expire, and nominations for all expiring terms of sitting members of the TIF Council need to be turned to Secy. Ginny Vaske by 8/1/08.

TIF Council Meeting Change Notice: Beginning with the next meeting in September, The TIF Council will conduct meetings at Kenwood High School in the Little Theater. Chair Males thanked the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club for its hospitality and accommodations over the number of years the TIF Council met at the Neighborhood. Club.

Alderman's Report: Ald. Preckwinkle was out of town and not in attendance. Pam Cummings and Mae Wilson from the Alderman's office were in attendance. Mae Wilson announced the Health and Housing Fair sponsored by the Alderman's office, to be held August 16, 2008 at King High School, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Giordano's Pizza Renovation: Angelo Stamotoukos, architect, presented plans for the renovation of Giordano's Pizza and an overview of changes for the restaurant.

Village Shopping Center, 52st and Lake Park: Eli Ungar, Antheus Capital, presented an overview and initial rendering of the redevelopment of the Village Shopping Center. Graham Grady, Attorney, Bell Boyd and Lloyd, discussed zoning processes and an overview of community needs. The plan represents a mixed used commercial development, which requires a zoning change and must go through the planning process. The development plan will house two buildings with office, retail and residential space, totaling 453,000 sq. ft. Of that total, approximately 337,000 sq. ft. will be residential. There will be tentatively 170 residential condominium units - sixty 1 bdrm, ninety 2-bdrm and twenty 3-bdrm. 15% will be set aside for affordable housing. One building is planned at twenty-four stories. There will tentatively be 519 parking spaces underground. Negotiations for retail are currently underway, with the Original Pancake House planning to move into one of the developed retail spaces. Ungar stated that negotiations with other tenants, as well a new ones, were ongoing.

Margaret Cavenagh, architect with Studio Gang Architect, presented renderings of the buildings and a overview of their design. She also reviewed the design concept and functional features of the proposed buildings and their amenities, and objectives to sustainability. There is as desire to develop all parcels together, but consideration was made to allow development in two phases.

Chair Males asked that a motion be made to refer further review to committee. G. Vaske made the motion, seconded by A. McAllister. The motion passed unanimously. C. Thurow, head of the Planning and Development Sub-committee announced the meeting to be held and August 18, 2008 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 6:30 pm.

Planning and Development Sub-committee report. Chair C. Thurow went went over details of a meeting concerning the Harper Court RFP/RFQ process. Public input into the process concluded on 6/30/08. There were over 35 persons in attendance, and the main topics of discussion were development and program criteria. TIF member T. McAlister was present at the meeting, and noted a expressed emphasis on the arts. Tim Brangle, of Chicago Consultant studio, noted that feedback was in line with the presentation he took part in in the last TIF Council meeting, and was overwhelmingly positive. The next step is to work with the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago in revising guidelines. The current phase was stated to bed on target. A copy of the proposal can still be downloaded at the SECC website.

UC Student Study/Student Perspective on Neighborhood Life: Bill Michael, Asst. VP of Student Life at the University of Chicago, along with students Susanne Sellers, Ashley Alger, Halley Trotter, along with Wallace Goode, performed a study of the neighborhood from a student's perspective. They discussed the retail, entertainment and late night options within Hyde Park, the architectural diversity within the retail mix, transportation and access to retail and the need of better marketing to UC students on what is available. They also gave recommendations based off of their study.

Other business: Salvatore Pappalito announced the soon to be opening Sit Down Cafe and Sushi Bar at the old Hyde Park Produce location on 53rd St.

Motion to adjourn was made and seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m.

Submitted Respectfully,

Rod Sawyer

Village Center (E. HP Blvd./Lake Park) plans were rolled-out at the July 14 TIF meeting.

Antheus Properties' Eli Ungar and team including Studio Gang Architects and Graham Grady of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd presented a large redevelopment plan for the shopping center, consisting of a mid rise of mixed retail (national and local) and residential on Lake Park, extending along Hyde Park 4 stories including a glass, open-view (including to view from Metra) passage to a 24 story tower at the northwest corner, and a hidden 519 story lower and third level garage and a line of smaller shops along Harper. Whether the project is done at once depends on willingness of Village Foods to vacate its lease; also on rate and pace of leasing. Ungar expected good luck at enticing several retailer to come to this larger, 2.5 acre site--indeed, retail publications are speculating on growing likelihood of retail redevelopment in Hyde Park. Ungar also addressed to general satisfaction of the meeting the growing community consensus on standards, desires and expectations in a development.
Next: August 18 consideration of the plan by the TIF Planning and Development Subcommittee, 6:30 pm at Hyde Park Art Center, then approval by the full TIF in September and submission to the Chicago Plan Commission et al.

July 16 Herald Report, Antheus reveals plans for Village Center site- Studio Gang design calls for four levels of shops, 170 condos. By Kate Hawley

Developer Eli Ungar, head of Antheus Capital, unveiled plans Monday to redevelop the aging Village Center mall into a glassy modern complex that will house commercial space, condominiums and parking.

Creating vibrant street space after dark is one of the project's main goals, Ungar told a crowd of about 100 at a meeting of the 53d Street TIF Advisory Council, held at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. "If everything that happens at this development closes after 5 o'clock, we will have failed," he said.

Margaret Cavanagh, an architect with Studio Gang Architects, laid out the details of the proposed building, a steel-and-glass structure with masonry accents that rises to 24 stories at its tallest point. The four-story base will contain about 116,000 square-feet of commercial space, including a glass-walled storefront that will be visible from the Metra tracks across Lake Park Avenue.

Unlike the existing Village Center mall, 1525 E. Hyde Park Blvd., which is fronted by a surface parking lot, the new building will line Harper Avenue, Hyde Park Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue with shops. Parking in the new building will be masked, with 519 parking spaces tucked out of sight in one underground parking level and on the third and fourth floors. Condos will occupy a 24-story tower that soars upward from the northwestern corner of the building and a 10-story section--which Cavanagh called "the bar"--running along Lake Park Avenue. The 170 condos will have one to four bedrooms.

Sustainable elements include a green roof and plans to seek LEED certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a national environmental rating system set by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington-based nonprofit.

Reaction from the TIF council members and the assembled crowd was generally positive, although questions arose about the viability of such a large development in the midst of a slump in the housing market. Ungar expressed confidence that "the numbers work" for the project, in part because the 2.5-acre parcel, which Antheus bought a little more than two years ago, is a large enough space to attract multiple retailers. Businesses hesitant to foray into Hyde Park on their own are more willing to come s part of a group, he said.

He declined to give specifics about what kind of tenants the company is seeking, but he did say that the popular Original Pancake House, 1517 E Hyde Park Blvd., will be part of the new development, and it will stay open later to bolster the project's nightlife.

The council will ultimately vote on whether or not to approve the project, but first community members will be allowed to comment on the redevelopment through its Planning and Development Committee, to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. The council will reconvene in September, said its president, Howard Males.

With local support secured, the developers will seek approval to rezone the land as a Planned Development, said Graham Grady, the zoning attorney for the project. Demolition of the existing buildings would begin at the earliest in December 2009, with groundbreaking tentatively planned for that spring, according to Peter cassel, director of community development for MAC Property Management, which oversees Antheus's more than 70 Hyde Park buildings.

With the exception of village Foods, 1521 E. Hyde Park Blvd., all of the retailers at Village Center have agreed to break their leases in order to make way for the redevelopment, according to Cassel. If Village Foods decides to stay for the duration of its lease, construction will take place in two phases. Otherwise the building will be reconstructed in one phase.



May 12, 2008 TIF Council meeting

Presented here are very informal notes and conclusions by Gary Ossewaarde, some press coverage, and a list of distributed documents and where to find them online. A one-page summary of top choices in the Harper Court Survey is included.

Location of meetings- approved to move to Kenwood Academy starting in September

L3 Cornell-53rd project

53rd Street Visioning Workshop II

Local retailer accomplishments, changes

Harper Court Priorities Survey Report
Alderman Preckwinkle et al- the now City of Chicago-University of Chicago Harper Court Area Redevelopment Project, including presentation of guidelines for RFP open for public comment through June 30. Q and A.

Official minutes.

Members Present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Charles Newsome, Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Laurel Stradford, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins

Meeting called to order at 7:12 with a quorum present.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed unanimously to approve the minutes of March 10, 2008

Agenda: The Chair reviewed the agenda and announce the likelihood that, beginning in September 2008, the TIF Council would hold its meeting at Kenwood Academy 5015 S. Blackstone. A motion was made and seconded to do so. Motion passed with one "no" vote from Jane Comiskey based on geographical preferences.

53d and Cornell Property Report: John [Roberson], of L3 developers, presented a modified proposal for the building design of this property. It is 2.5 stories higher and is a rental rather than a condominium building with 15% affordable units on site. The architect discussed details such as 206 units (40% 2 BR, 30% 1 BR) of approx. 1000 square feet average with a rooftop garden above the parking lot, 7500 feet of retail, 13 units per floor , 246 parking spots (1.19 ratio), 208 fet high, ADA compliant. Mr. [Roberson] explained the change in type as a result of market forces that made the condominium design financially impossible. Questions about finances led to assurances by Mr. [Roberson] that L3 intends to be responsible to shareholders in building a quality project they will maintain and not sell to another developer. Clark Morris, an owner from the townhomes just north of the site expressed concerns about the parking lot height of 50 feet negatively impacting the west view (originally design had the height at 30 ft.) and about the amount of space between his building and his unit. Mr. Males suggested that Mr. [Roberson] and Mr. Morris get together after the meeting to discuss these concerns in greater detail.

Moved, seconded, and passed to approve the new design.

53rd Street Visioning Report: Irene Sherr shared the process and results of the May 3rd Visioning Workshop in which participants further explored Dec. 8th workshop emergent themes with "experts" from around the city. Participants self-selected workshops led by a commercial real estate expert, urban planner, Dept. of Planning rep, pedestrian program coordinator, a movie/cinema group, etc. After the workshops, members walked the area, took photos, and returned to discuss their observations: 1) need for continuity/current lack of continuity; 2) transportation and the need to respect all modes; 3) need for quality merchants, 4) need for more facade work; 5) need to establish well done parking; 6) desire to create 53rd as a visual, aesthetic center of Hyde Park; 7) need to increase "friendliness" of amenities such as Nichols Park; 8) caution to avoid mistakes of the past. Next steps include uploading 35 photo disks taken by participants and plan for the November 15, 2008 workshop which will feature a "model block" exercise. Check the website at

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle introduced Jonathan Swain, the new owner of Kimbark Liquors. She praised Giordano's decision to preserve the facade of their building as they make renovations. Welcome to the retail community were Tim Schau who will open a neighborhood market at 1126 E. 47th at the end of June.

Hyde Park/Kenwood Community Conference: George Rumsey offered a summary report and overview of survey results regarding recommendations for the Harper court Development. (Official copy submitted to the TIF secretary). The survey queried respondents on the relative importance of specific "themes" such as level and type of activity, environmental friendliness, easy access, and need for community review.

Harper Court Property: Alderman Preckwinkle introduced Tim Goluska of Chicago Consultants, Tim Brangle of Chicago Consultants, and Susan Campbell of the University of Chicago to discuss the redevelopment process for Harper Court and the city of Chicago parking lot. Alderman Preckwinkle announce that the University of Chicago has purchased Harper Court and will work with the city of Chicago to develop an RFQ/P for the Harper Court property and the city of Chicago parking lot.

Tim Brangle then reviewed a RFP/Q process that would involve the community. Outlined redevelopment objectives include: 1) the combined parcel of both the Harper Court building and the city parking lot--a vibrant, mixed use development that would leverage the historic character of the area in a commercial/residential site with high quality architecture and convenient parking; 2) urban design components--a gateway to 53rd that would enhance a town center space possibly by reopening Harper Ave.; 3) program criteria--retail, entertainment, residential, commercial, specialty, open space and high quality urban design; 4) community input--using the 53rd St. visioning workshop and survey results in the plans as well as providing opportunities for continued community input; 5 precedents--look at similar developments i St. Louis, Philadelphia, an Oak-Park-River Forest. The RFQ process has already begun with RFPs to be announced in fall of 2008 and due in early winter of 2009. Community review will be part of the process with an anticipated developer selection in spring of 2009. The public is invited to comment on the proposed objectives and process until June 30, 2008.

After numerous questions from the audience, Howard Males thanked the presenters and encouraged everyone to attend the TIF Planning and Development Committee meeting on May 27th, 6:30 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, and passed to adjourn the meeting at 9:02 p.m.

The next meeting of the TIF Council will be on Monday, July 14, 7:00 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske, Secretary


By Gary Ossewaarde:

L3 Cornell and 53rd proposal

A shortened presentation based on that at a public meeting April 23 was made by the development team (including Antunovich Architects) and Q and A taken. Highlights include increased height to accommodate 15% affordable units now onsite, switch to rental from condo proposal, some building modifications. Objectives include continuation and contribution to the 53rd Street retail district. It will take at least 12 months to develop plans and permits and assess the market. The building will have a level of LEEDS certification, be ADA compliant and have 20% of units capable of conversion to fully handicapped accessible. In answer to skepticism, they said the numbers now look better, they are committed to include quality retail that serves both its residents and the community/53rd Street and are committed to local businesses and to returning restaurants. The team was instructed by the TIF chair to work with the next door resident who would be deprived of light by changes to the parking and roof garden. (For details of the proposal see the L3 53rd Street sites page.)

53rd Street Visioning Workshop II

Irene Sherr distributed a summary document on the December Workshop II (available in and our December 2008 page) and gave what happened at the May 3 Workshop (see our May 3 page for details) and chief preliminary conclusions by panelists and the four topic breakout groups including as they presented to the whole. These will be on line at and the pictures of 53rd, and environs taken by participants of the four groups are be up in

Major themes explored: mainstreet, density/land use, walkability and access, design and character. Stressed were need to restore continuity; that it isn't easy to get businesses to come- they don't pioneer, they look for unique experiences and a large, complete package that will draw customers. Groups said the low, newer buildings weren't bearing their weight, mixed uses are needed as well as friendliness for bikes and improvements to and more consistency in signage and facades. The next step will be a November 15 block-building exercise with planners and developers crunching numbers and advising what is doable.

Local retailers focused

Kimbark Liquors is being transferred to the owner's sister, which is why the license is up for review. Giordano's will have its facade preserved and the main floor remodeled with a second story. The owners of the new specialty market on 47th street will open the store within a few weeks.

Harper Court Priorities Survey Results

George Rumsey summarized and distributed print reports on the survey conducted by the TIF Business and Environment Committee and HPKCC's Development Committee. Print copies of the full report (with all the comments) were given to appropriate parties, and all are on line in The various kinds of rankings and breakouts were described, including by age, race, and gender. Some differences include that African-Americans see a need for more office space while people in their 20s see that the least; older people are much more concerned about parking; women really do seem more caring, including for current tenants and start-up businesses. Keyword search on the comments show support for restaurants and for Dr. Wake the veterinarian, farmer's market, and chess benches. Community input including presentation and review of proposals was strongly supported.

City of Chicago-University of Chicago Harper Court Area presentation and Q and A

Alderman Preckwinkle announced that Harper Court was bought by the University and all the parties would work together, with Chicago Consultants Studio, which did the Harper Theater RFP, to develop Harper Court and the city parking lot as a town center through the already announced RFP process with community input, starting with proposed guidelines that went up for comment now through June 12. She thanked the many organizations that compiled materials and sought out community ideas, including through surveys and workshops. She said she regretted someone higher in the UC administration did not come, but introduced Susan Campbell, Assoc. VP for Community Affairs, and Ilene Jo Reizner, Assoc. VP Real Estate.

The presentation is in and the bullet points summarized in our Harper Court Sale homepage. Timetable goals included issuance of full RFP after the November 15 Vision Workshop III and presentation of winnowed developers' proposals spring 2009. Comments on the initial guidelines for RFP can be made to Or at the May 27 meeting of the TIF Planning and Development subcommittee, 6:30 pm at Hyde Park Art Center. (University of Chicago releases and coverage are in the Harper Court Sale page.)

Public comments: It was said that sale of Harper Court was of questionable legality for a number of reasons. Sale amount was given as $6.5 million. Plea was made to help the current tenants relocated (assured) and to provide startup space. A community center that included meeting space was asked for. Presenters said in response to extend the time for Guidelines comments, time is critical because the clock starts running on property values and costs as soon as the appraisal (due soon) comes in for the parking lot part. The agreement between the city and U of C also has to be prepared quickly and work started on RFQ/RFP working and Planned Development amendment..

Questions were asked about intervening/adjoining spaces, at which point Susan Campbell revealed that there is a stop on Harper Theater/Herald building redevelopers due to inability of the developer to meet agreed upon deadlines including getting leases (She said the University was disappointed.)


One month comment period for Guidelines for Harper Court-city lot went online May 12-June 12 at . Comments may be sent to TIF Planning and Development subcommittee will also meet to take and review comments May 27, Tuesday 6:30- pm at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell.

Next steps: UC, city, consultants get appraisal for city lot part, prepare RFQ/RFP in accord with previous input such as 53 Vision, Survey, more and comments on Guidelines (post June 12) for issuance in late fall (after Nov. 15 vision workshop III). After receipt and narrowing of proposals, the leaders will present and selection made in spring 2009.

It came as quite a surprise to many at the May 12, 2008 TIF meeting that the University had closed with Harper Court Arts Council for $6.5 million (city appraised value), perhaps more than a month before. The University and city department of planning and development were now working with Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc. to get the necessary appraisals, create an inter party agreement, and start the process of preparing RFQ/RFP text. They said because the clock starts ticking on land values, it was necessary to complete public review and comments on general guidelines for what should be the RFP quickly, between May 12 and June 12. The presentation summarized below and online was given, with means to make comments. In looking at them, some felt privately that the objectives were (necessarily?) general and even buzz-word--(in fact they were largely from the Harper Theater RFP and The SOM 2000 Vision for the Hyde Park Retail District), but most thought that what is there is good--some saying after that they would have to be carefully parsed.

A couple of items were thought not included despite frequent mention at public meetings and in the Survey, namely keeping a part of the original mission re: incubating start-up small businesses and artisans, need for a community center, including intervening and opportunity parcels, as well as concern over tightness of parts of the timetable and that decisions will be set before the November 15 block-building exercise. It also looks as if the full emphasis is on upscale retail while the housing component is to be for diverse income levels.

It was noted by one that it is unclear that HCAC has a right to to hold or sell the public-purpose shopping center est. c. 1965 to further an original purpose, to shelter artisans and incubate small businesses and the arts. (The University was mentioned in the charter as a possible successor to the Foundation; on the other hand it had members on the Arts Council Board and is a different kind of nonprofit. The University said it would its new position to facilitate new spaces for current tenants.)

Noted after or since the meeting: Some are uncomfortable with the models for redevelopment held up for redevelopment of Harper Court and 53rd Street: Delmar at Washington University in St. Louis, redevelopment at the University of Pennsylvania, and Lake Street at the Oak Park/River Forest Illinois transit interchange (some saying the redevelopment to the east of the latter is more in line and scale.)


Herald coverage, May 14, 2008 By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago announced Monday it has acquired the Harper Court for $6.5 million, close to two years after the university made its first attempt to purchase the 53rd Street shopping center. "The deal is done," said Bob Rosenberg, a spokesman for the university. Rosenberg said he did not know how long the purchase had been in the works but it had begun over a month ago.

The purchase was announced Monday night at the 53rd state Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District advisory council meeting. James Wilson from the Chicago Planning and Development Department said the parcel would include the adjoining parking lot, but the coupling of the tow lots was not yet finalized and the city was awaiting an appraisal of the parking lot parcel.

The University has no plans for the shopping center in the immediate future beyond preparing for the city-mandated development process, Rosenberg said. The university has had individual discussions with current business owners at Harper Court and plan to extend what are for most month-to-month leases through 2008, he said.

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4gh) characterized the sale as a "positive development." she said she had been in dialogue with the university for some time concerning their intention to purchase Harper Court. "The Arts council, made up of our friends and neighbors, was having difficulty figuring out what to do with the property," Preckwinkle said. The previous owner of Harper Court, the Harper Court Arts Council, had delayed the sale of the property after the Illinois Attorney General's office became inclined to look into the legality of the transfer of the 40-year-old shopping center from the Harper Court Foundation to the arts Council in December 2005. The Attorney General's office has said it will not pursue criminal charges in the transfer, but has suggested organizational changes. Most recently, lawyer Jorge Sanchez expressed concern that the 501(c)3 nonprofit Harper Court Foundation did not follow accepted practices for dissolving its board when it transferred ownership of the property to the arts Council, a board helmed by many of the same board members as the Harper Court Foundation.

The alderman said after the meeting that she thought more people would be upset by the surprise transfer. I'm still letting it sink in, said George Rumsey, president of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC).

The university has contracted with the Chicago Consultants Studio to develop the request for qualifications and requests for proposals (RFP) from developers with the city's Planning and Development Department. The university worked with the downtown firm on the RFP for Harper Theatre, at the corner of Harper Avenue and 53rd Street.

Tim Brangle with Chicago Consultants Studio presented initial guidelines compiled from the Dec. 8 53rd Street Vision Workshop, the HP-K CC survey and other sources at the TIF meeting. Brangle said expectations for the development included retail space in mixed-use buildings and a height limit comparable to the Hyde Park Bank across 53rd Street. The initial briefing used to guide drafting the RFP is available on the Website and will be made available on vision in coming days. The public comment period on the document will be from May 12 to June 12. Chuck Thurow will be collecting comments at the f5:30 p.m. May 27 meeting of the 53rd Street Planning and Development committee at the Hyde Park Art Center. Comments can also be e-mailed to

Susan Campbell, vice president of community affair at the university, said they hope to issue the request for qualifications in the fall. Campbell assured attendees at the TIF meeting that public comment periods would come at every turn in the in the development process.

Rosenberg said it as "not entirely clear" what the university's expectations would be on a return for their $6.5 million investment. The university's priority is to facilitate a vibrant and livable environment for its students, faculty and neighbors, he said. "Ideally, this project can create something that is reflective of the distinctive nature of Hyde Park and something that represents the best of Chicago's mid-South Side," university President Robert Zimmer said in a prepared statement.


Appendices: Distributed at the May 12 TIF meeting re Harper Court:

Full Summary Report of the Harper Court Priorities Survey 2008 (includes all comments submitted)
Neighborhood and Business Environment Committee of the 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council and The Planning, Zoning, and Development Committee of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference.
To Alderman Preckwinkle, the TIF Chair Howard Males and to the Department of Planning and Development/Chicago Consultants Studio teams. And online and printable at

Summary Report and overview (6 pages) Online in pdf and printable at

Follow-up to December 53rd Street Vision Workshop Irene Sherr of Community Counsel. Below and in Note that these essentially correspond to list of key conclusions from the December 8 Vision Workshop voting prepared by Irene Sherr of Community Counsel.

[Guidelines for Harper Court Area RFQ/RFP] Heart of Hyde Park. TIF Advisory Council. Harper Court Area Redevelopment Briefing, City of Chicago-University of Chicago. Prepared by the Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc. May 12, 2008. Summarized below; online in pdf at and


Follow-up to December 53rd Street Vision Workshop: numbers = top ten vote-getters in the Harper Court Priorities Survey. Can be viewed and printed from

Busy and active, with lots of shopping, dining, entertainment choices

1. Well-lit night-time ambiance

2. Restaurants

Attractive and inviting

4. Welcoming landscaping

5. Destination, appeal to diversity


10. Environmentally friendly

Convenient and easy to get around

3. Stronger pedestrian character

9. Day and night access

Community input

6. Public presentations by developers

7. Community review and feedback



March 10, 2008 TIF Council meeting

Official minutes

Members Present: Steve Soble, Laurel Stradford, Jo Reizner, Howard Males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Andre Brumfield, Charles Newsome.

Meeting called to order at 7:04 p.m., with a quorum present.

Remarks by the Chair: Welcomed all in attendance and orally presented tonight's meeting agenda. He also described makeup of the TIF committee, and its standing committees. Some in the audience noted that the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (HPNC) did not have all the information when meetings were to take place. Chairman Males stated that all meetings would be given ample and appropriate notice, and that all TDIF meeting notices are done in the spirit of transparency. Chairman Males noted that the committee is looking to bring in presenters to future meetings to speak on topics concerning the 53rd Street Visioning process and its progress.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes were read by the committee. J. Reizner made a motion to approve the minutes as presented, which was seconded by J. Comiskey. The motion was passed unanimously.

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle encouraged attendees to be involved with the TIF/Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPLCC survey process concerning Harper Court, and to participate in the follow-up on the 53rd Street Visioning Process, tentatively scheduled for May 3rd. She also commented on tonight's presentation on Transportation.

55th Street Shopping Center Update: Joe Reizner, U of C Real Estate Operations: Thanked the audience and community for its patience and endurance, and announced that Treasure Island Grocery Store opens officially on March 12th @ 7 a.m. The parking lot will be re-striped. Treasure Island interviewed approximately 85-90 former Co-Op employees, and hired over 60 across their multiple store locations. They also hired 12 Kenwood High School students, and Hyde Park Produce hired approximately 6 former Co-Op employees.

Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference: George Rumsey, President of HPKCC, presented preliminary results of the Harper Court/parking lot survey. He thanked the core group (P. Mo[rse], G. Ossewaarde, C. Newsome, and J. Comiskey). He stated that as of Feb. 20, 1474 responses had been recorded. The survey will run until Mar. 20. He discussed various outreach efforts to increase participation, such as creating a page on the social networking website Facebook, and discussed highlights of preliminary survey results.

53rd Street Vision Workshop: Irene Sherr passed around 53rd street Vision workshop summary of the December, 2008 meeting. She identified several themes that came from the results of the workshop, to be developed further at the next workshop to be held May 3rd, 2008 at a location to be announced. Chairman Males thanked partners and sponsors of the December, 2008 workshop.

Center for Neighborhood Technology, Linda Young: Linda Young discussed Transit Oriented Design (TOD), its definition and its benefits and trends. More information can be found on its website,

Motion to adjourn was made by R. Sawyer, and seconded by J. Comiskey. The meeting ended at 8:33 p.m.

Submitted Respectfully,

Rod Sawyer


Hyde Park Herald, March 19, 2008. By Sam Cholke

53rd ST. dominates TIF meeting

The 3rd Street TIF advisory council meeting on March 10 proved anticlimactic for those who anticipated a breakthrough on redevelopment of Harper Court.

George Rumsey, president of the Hyde Park Kenwood community Conference, presented the initial results of a survey about how people want to see Harper Court redeveloped. The survey is a joint effort of the TIF council and HPKCC. Rumsey said the council has been getting about 00 responses a day and that slightly more since it put a link up on the social networking Web sit There were more than 1,600 responses to the survey as of March 10, he said. The survey will be available until Thursday at

"Passing out results of the survey now could skew it" said Irene Sherr of Community Counsel, a local planning and development consulting firm. Rumsey contended that the results compiled so far were too general to dramatically alter the final data.

Half of the responses were from people ages 19 to 39, with ages 19-29 and 30-39 each accounting for about 25 percent of the total. Seventy percent identified themselves as white. "African American results doubled in the last week," Rumsey said. Eighteen percent of respondents identified themselves as African American or Black, according to Rumsey's preliminary results.

"People are really making use of the comment box," Rumsey said. Rumsey said he has 56 single-spaced pages of comments so far to go through. A lot of people say they want more businesses in the neighborhood that are open ate 9 p.m.--and that's not just coming from the younger respondents, it's across the board, he said.

Sherr next presented the draft report analyzing the poll results at the Dec. 8 53rd Street Vision Workshop. There was a tremendous amount of consensus in the results, Sherr said. Diversity of the community ranked very high, she said. "The element is something that comes up all the time when we talk about development," Sherr said. "What does that really mean if we want to have more retail and housing?"

Sherr said another obvious trend that arose in the polling was the desire to see 53rd Street treated like the main street of t he community. The draft report is available online at

A follow-up workshop will attempt to address the questions raised by the draft report. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon May 3 at Kenwood Academy, 5015 E. Blackstone Ave., Sherr confirmed Friday.

The final presentation of the evening was from Linda Young of the Center for Neighborhood Technology who spoke on "transit oriented design" principles used to guide neighborhood development. Young emphasized that the concept focuses on development that utilizes public transportation methods into and out of the neighborhood. "It's not just for commuters," she said. "It's a destination --- people are coming here to experience your neighborhood."

Young said Hyde Park residents could leverage the possibility of the Olympics coming to Chicago in 2016 to advocate for better transportation in the neighborhood. A streetcar could work well in Hyde Park," she said. The infrastructure is not expensive and has a permanence that makes investors looking at the neighborhood more comfortable. More information is available online at


January 14, 2008 TIF Council meeting

By Gary Ossewaarde

Agenda: TIFormation (hard copy distributed along with TIF Annual Report), Alderman's report, Cleanslate, Canter, 53rd Vision, reports of committees, old business.

Present: all except J. Reizner and T. Wilkins.

Chair Howard Males announced (later reinforced by Ald. Preckwinkle) that the TIF Business and Environment Committee and Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference will work together on a on open community planning process for Harper Court RFP. She would not state any preclusions on the type of development or degree of change.

The minutes of the November meeting were approved with a minor correction.

Chair Howard Males thanked the council members and committees for their work, including on the December workshop, noting that the committees, which do much of the work, are open to all residents. He also thanked Irene Sherr and the Alderman for their work including on the workshop, and the residents who turned out in December.

Alderman's Report: Toni Preckwinkle. She thanked the council members. She read highlights from TIFormation, stressing the vision workshop- and those who collaborated to produce it- and said there will be at least one more broad-focus meeting: "only a beginning."

She summarized funds available at the start of 2007: $2.54 million with an additional $200,000 left expected at the end of 2007. Expenditures to Small Business Improvement Fund were $300,000 (Kimbark Laundry and Chant Restaurant), $150,000 for Cleanslate, and $150,000 for Canter School improvements (matched by CPS). She thanked the committees for their support. Those who received funds- SBIF, Canter Principal, and Cleanslate- in turn thanked the Alderman and the TIF council and said that the help was critical to their success. The Alderman said a key objective of the TIF was an addition to Canter; Chair Males suggested the school prepare a school physical improvement plan for the council.

Lake Park Corridor. Work will resume on 53rd and 55th in spring- lighting, frames, art. Planning is underway for 51st and 57th. In response to a question she said that some of the murals would be restored, including that on the north side of 55th. Money is being raised for the restorations, with Chicago Public Art Group.

Harper Court. HPKCC and the TIF Committee will work on an open process. At the March meeting the Dept. of Planning will present on Harper RFP. She anticipated that after a request is vetted for review, then sent to developers, it will take up to 90 days to receive resumes, and more time to review and winnow in committee, and be about a year before an award is made.

The Alderman called for one or two additional general and broad workshops on 53rd then site focus.

Cleanslate representatives briefly described success with their program, noting that Hyde Park was the most welcoming community in the program and that several interns had already moved on to regular employment. Audience members gave testimonials in support of Cleanslate. Motion was made to appropriate $157,000 to Cleanslate for the year starting May. Approved unanimously.

Report on the 53rd Visioning Workshop December 8. The next phase would explore themes such density and achieving cohesive planning as opposed to piecemeal or reactive planning. A full report will be issued once all the comments and votes from the table were studied--Irene Sherr said many important ideas came out of these that were suppressed in favor of big themes in the room-wide voting.

Hubert Morgan of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) discussed the major findings and distributed a set of pie charts. He said the overall agency goal for Hyde Park in the years up to 2040 is that Hyde Park be a "destination of choice." Morgan praised the residents for coming out in force, clearly people here feel strongly. The methods included both small table interaction with facilitators and room-wide voting on options derived from the tables.

Their first task in such exercises is to learn "who is in the room," Morgan said. The audience didn't wholly reflect demographics, but most demographics were there. Disproportionately represented were older (25% aged 5-59, 20% 60-69), whites (54%), and females (59%). In housing types the audience was very diverse. Most walked to the workshop (on a cold day) (53%, 31% in personal car- 6% were from outside Hyde Park). What type of housing? (35% single-family home, 27% high rise apartment, 24% multi-family home, 11% two- or three-flat). How long did they live here? (43% over 20 years, another 18% 11-20 years, and the rest closely divided among 6-10, 2-5, and under 2).

The sense of what the street should look like was gauged: Given first place in value were mixed use buildings (24%), variety of retail (23%), Green with trees and landscaped (16%), visually attractive (13%). Receiving single-digit priority were Sidewalk cafes, Off-street parking in the rear, stores close to the curb, upper floors residential, buildings in good repair, and green all year.

What should go in the buildings? 52% selected mixed use retail and residential. 18% 24-hour activities and late night options, 5% Trader Joe's, and lesser numbers small-scale entertainment, clothing stores, higher density retail, mixed income housing, restaurants, and mix of national chains--most really specifications within the first two categories.

What should the buildings look like? 45 percent said a mixture of historical and well designed modern buildings, echoed by those who specified continued use of traditional buildings (7%) and mixed use (17%). Others called for height limitations (8%) or 3-4 story tall buildings (6%- together 14%) or specified patios and balconies, rooftop gardens, underground and off street parking (7%), or no visible security gates.

What activities will people engage in? 39% opted ford shopping, the next highest was night life including bars, dancing, movies (12%). Lesser numbers chose interactive entertainment, recreational entertainment which reinforced the second option. Others selected personal use such as walking or sitting or churches (7%) or interacting (5%- together 12%), youth programs and activities (6%) or residential living.

Noting that the energy level was high at the workshop, Morgan said that attendees valued for the street diversity-- proud of it and valued it, followed by physical good look, pedestrian friendliness, environmentally sensitive, and providing options. An audience member commented on the small number of usage responses for such obvious uses as office, or what might be overabundant now. Irene Sherr said such were in the table answers below top rank and would be given use weight when these are counted up. Services such as doctors, for example, were highly rated as an activity on 53rd Street. Parking concern was another. She suggested that such be explored more in the follow up workshop on what would it actually look like (a comment she had heard from many). She stressed the strongest expressions were for shopping, variety, outdoor activities.

Questions/comments. One said community groups should have been asked to co-design the questions and study them in advance. Sherr said the choices were not prepared in advance but from what was tops in the table sheets. Another said another big question could have been where you eat or buy food and what role should 53rd have in those activities. Sherr said the table responses did reflect this, especially in giving food (as well as entertainment) as top things people have to leave Hyde Park to get.

Another person said the presenters "pushed" diversity but didn't explain or distinguish well within the concept and noted concern with the last question on a mid rise somewhere. Assurances were given that the last question will not be used to legitimize a particular design. Males said the TIF and its committees only pass on specific proposals, with general guidelines in mind, and do not ask a developer to come with this or that design.

In response to another question, Males said the purpose of this exercise is not to engage in social science research, pay for market surveys, or hold a "referendum."

Other business, announcements .Thomas Kidwell gave a testimonial to SBIF funding. Susan Campbell announced that a lease was signed for the Co-Op space. Shut in shopping help was coming and other grocers are stocking up. A jazz funeral was planned at the Co-Op on its closing day. The Coalition for Equitable Development would soon call its organizational meeting. The Older women's League meets 1st Saturdays at 1 pm at First Unitarian--next month it will have a round two discussion of a senior-friendly community.