Development in Hyde Park-Kenwood.
HPKCC Development, Preservation and Zoning policy Committee report and discussion homepage

Return links: home. Site contents navigator. Development Hot Specific Topics. Development Hot overview. Hot Topics and Community Issues home.

Return to the Development and Development-Preservation-Zoning Navigator page. Some newer material is in the 53rd St. Vision-News-Process page. See list of what development's in play in new Development Committee homepage.
To current navigator and home for History and Preservation pages.
To Neighborhood, our general topic and subject navigator. Obama Effect? Doctors Hospital. 53rd Mobil and Cornell (L3). Lake Village Center. 56th Cornell. Antheus/MAC INCLUDING MAY 2011 UPDATES.
Tell us what you December 2007 Reporter reports. Final Dec. 8 '07 reports (complete in Notes on May 3 53rd Vision Workshop II. Report on the November 15 planning block exercise.
U of C's news and blogsite on redevelopment, including 53rd and Harper Court:
SHORELAND - Antheus seeks new planned development for rental and restoration- See Shoreland page.

Deal between university and city for pilot for speeding zoning and permits promises much, touches much.
Woodlawn/Grove Park Choice Neighborhoods grant - see in Woodlawn News.

Next TIF mtg. tba.

December 20, Tuesday, 6 pm. Community meeting- MAC Properties development proposal for 53rd and Cornell. East View Tower lobby, 5442 S. Hyde Park Blvd

SSA proposed and started.

Vue53 opened. City Hyde Park opened. Solstice on 56th is under construction. Boutique Hotel at 53rd and Blackstone is seeking final approvals/permits.

53rd Cornell.
They control the parking lot (site A, used to have Tiki and Cornell Lounge) and the two flat office building east of Cornell (B) and the boarded up house north of East View Tower (just bought). The latter will be torn down within 2 weeks and the site left vacant for the forseable future-- they could put in up to 6 units.
The site B office building has long term lessees and will stay the same, with some "improvement to the facade." They are want to concentrate the height on site A.

Plan for A is a c.27 story, total c.850' high rise (residential tower on top of a 6 floor retail and parking platform). The tower look is nice, sort of like the rounded-corner Johnson Wax building in Racine or City Hyde Prk with rounded corners and with sections pulled and pushed in and out so it isn't so much a box. The trunions? and spandrels are white so the structure resembles a beehive but with 4-sided cells instead of 6-sided. The cells are glass. It is pushed to the south and east part of the (not very deep) site, but will of course still overshadow the town houses to the north.

The platform is wider than the tower, with glass for the retail and pinkish/orange masonry overhangs. There wil be parking spaces for each unit plus the retail plus what was in the lot for other MAC buildings. They think it will be more than enough, esp. as trends continue, in which case they may be offering to neighbors. The parking and residential entrances will be on Cornell, opposite the Akiba-Schechter school parking and drop off- sone neighobors abjected to this, but CDOT will not allow car entry and exit on 53rd by the viaduct.

The size of the units-- will be more space per than in Vue 53 and CityHydePark, but less than comparable downtown. The 3 bedrooms at the top will be especially spacious, but of course expensive. About 6-10 units per floor.
Eli Ungar would not commit to affordable units-- not required, but will "try". The alderman confirmed it is not in the SSA and the boundaries of SSA cannot, will not change to include this or any other building.

A return visit to discuss details will be held in late January 2017. However, this project looks like a "Go," starting in summer 2017 and finishing late 2018.


Background: University Master Plans Archive and Planned Development 43 page.

Website of the 53rd St. Vision process:

Here: Note that many of the features, esp. further down have been removed for timeliness. The anchor links will soon be revised.

[See the summary of the Cultural Uses Survey. Coming this fall: U C funded survey of retail needs.] Op Eds from Dec. 06, Aug. 07 Reporters.

Meetings, opportunities

Next regular TIF meeting July 8.


What's up? See pages on Harper, Vermilion plan, Lab School/Drs Hospital, Shoreland


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

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

MAY 16 2013 THE CHICAGO PLAN COMMISSION approved rezoning and PD for Vue 53. Next: City Council Zoning Committee.

Work started on Becker-Friedman Institute December 2012.

The Shoreland has city landmark designation and in March 2013 the rehab was about 2/3 done, leasing to start summer of 2013.

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

KAM will be expanding its urban farm to an as-yet unannounced vacant plot.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

U of C buys Borders from Gottlieb (Northbrook) interest. Latter loses on 7.7M 2006 purchase, problem is separating the two floors (could no find a tenant for both). July 28 2011 staff was cleaning up an preparing for perspectives.
Akira clothing chain is coming.
The UC rep. Attorney Danielle Cassel appeared before the April 16 4th Ward meeting to request change of the former Borders property from B1 t B3 which would allow additional business operations such as catering, live entertainment (but liquor would require a different process). Cited was interested businesses wanting to do those additional kinds of business an not signing if permitted only to do what's in B-1. All the surrounding properties are B-3, so its remaining B-1 is a kind of anomalous default spot zoning. Entrances were also discussed. The matter next comes up at the May 14 TIF meeting.
AT THE MAY 2012 TIF MEETING, the University discussed splitting the former Borders building into FOUR separate retail spaces and complete redesign and replacement of the exterior- BY OCT. 2012. (Said to resemble Waffle House- rectangle with full glass front and back, no setback on 2nd story.) The design will be discussed by the Planning and Development Committee at a meeting tba. Only Akira has been announced so far, but some kind of restaurant/entertainment/catering and fitness/wellness seem likely from hints.
Presumably rezoning Borders from B-1-B-3 was recommended by the council.
Also: supported by Burns to start the process on exploration, creating an SSA special taxing district.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has signed for the retail building in Harper Court, joining LA Fitness.

University's first plan for one of its acquired Garfield Blvd. properties: Wash. Pk. Arts Incubator- see in Arts News.

Demolition work continues in Harper Court and at 53rd and Lake Park, and to structures sw corner of 47th and Cottage Grove.
Demo has started for the WERK building (Molecular Engineering) nw corner of Ellis and 57th.

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

The University and City made a formal deal to expedite 50 UC or city-related infrastructure projects worth well over a billion dollars. Streamiling of procedures is part of it. Included would be a new metra station at 59th with walkout at 60th also. Aldermen still had concerns.

May 19 Mayor Emanuel announced appointment of a 10 member TIF oversight committee. The panel will set up ongoing examination and standards of how effective the TIFs are in and to promote their use for job creation and economic development. Long overdue, he said. He also released much material on the 157 districts. He pledged to take politics out of the districts and frowned on having TIFs downtown - they are for blighted areas.

In August Mayor Emanuel made it clear he will keep TIFs but that they would have benchmarks that must be met in order to continue to have taxes put in their funds (tied to 5 and 10 year city development goals-- a plan that does not depend only on TIFs but would make TIFs part of a citywide strategy whose outcomes include a competitive and well-trained workforce, a working school system, and quality of life on the streets -TIFs would be expected to contribute to these outcomes.). Neither plan nor benchmarks are in sight, but the objectives are--job creation, private investment, property value increase, and new affordable housing. Measurement likely would be overseen by a new TIF internal government body (as in the report of the TIF reform panel led by Carole Brown). Every five years the body would post TIFs that are or are not meeting goals; those that are not would be changed or closed. Such oversight is estimated to add $6 million to the current $9.3 million cost to administrate TIFs. $500 M a year currently goes into total TIF funds. Based on Tribune article August 30, 2011.

Harper Court developers did not meet deadlines or use the federal stimulus enablement for tax free bonds in its financing. Such was rationale for commitment including of TIF funds in 2010.

Borders at 53rd and Lake Park closed. The only completely construction housing a non-existing business in the neighborhood that was the "first fruits" of tax increment in the TIF business district. The University is talking to Borders, according to Assoc. VP Susan Campbell.

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

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

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

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


5 screen and 5 guys see next

UC buys once Woolworth's at 1451 E. 53rd, thought too big for one store and too small for restaurant; bringing in Clark's 24/7 diner. A real addition to the mix, one of the "missing" components of a healthy business strip and community. Sought by students. But adds more to the preponderance of UC commercial property ownership.

Herald, May 4, 2011. By Sam Cholke.
The University of Chicag announced late Monday that it has lured Clarke's a 24-hour diner to a storefront on East 53rd street. Clarke's serves traditional eggs-and-potatoes style diner food and currently has for locations in Lincoln Park, Evanston, Lakeview and Bucktown, with a fifth to open soon in River North.

The restaurant will move into the former Bedding Experts 4,000-square-foot storefront at 1451 E. 53drd St. The university purchased the building, which also includes a T-Mobil store, on April 19 from the Klairmont Family Association.

"We look forward to serving the Hyde Park area as always with quality food adn quality customer service," said Steve Dion, owner of Clarke's restaurants, in a prepared statement issued by the university. "We are also excited about the future plans of development in Hyde Park, and we are eager to be part of it."

The university recently announced that the Five Guys berger restaurant chain and New 400 Theaters would move into teh former Theater building at the corner of East 53rd Street and South Harper Avenue. In a prepared statement, the university says it will have other retail announcements in the coming months.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the January 2011 TIF meeting.

Harper Court hitting stride. By Sam Cholke

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

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

University: Theater building to be spared. By Sam Cholke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lease signed by Antheus to bring Whole Foods to Village Center development (tent. starting construction late 2012, opening in 2014. )

Read/print in pdf.

Press Release - 5.4.11

Antheus Capital is delighted to announce that Whole Foods has signed a lease to serve
as the anchor tenant in our redevelopment of the shopping center in the south west
corner of 51st and Lake Park in the Hyde Park community. This lease represents a
powerful endorsement of Hyde Park by the world’s leading natural and organic foods

Much work remains to bring this project to fruition but we are gratified by this
milestone and appreciative of the significant time and effort invested by former
Alderman Preckwinkle and her successors, Alderman Newsome and Alderman Burns, in
making this possible. We also acknowledge and appreciate Alderman Leslie
Hairston's leadership in improving Hyde Park.

The mixed-use project is designed by Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang Architects
and includes 179 residential units, 110,000 square feet of retail and office space and
two levels of underground parking. Chicago City Council approved the Planned
Development in the fall of 2010. The stores and residences are expected to open in

Antheus Capital is a New Jersey-based real estate investment and development firm
with investments primarily in Chicago and Kansas City.

Peter Cassel


For budget of 2011, City to account for TIFs in the budget, declare $180 M from $25 TIFs surplus and send it to the taxing bodies, and to merge Housing-Zoning-Planning into one department (zoning inspectors would be under Buildings. Hearing dates set. (the following is a release from Chicago Rehab Network)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At a special TIF meeting in July 2010, following substantial vetting with no council or audience expression of major objections, the council unanimously approved the Harper project and $24.3 million TIF funds over the life of the TIF. Design vetting is next Sept. 20 (committee, 6:30, HP Art Ctr.) then Plan Commission vote.
August 19 the Chicago Plan Commission approved Village Center- next zoning committee.

May 10, 2010 TIF meeting

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.

Michael's Market is soon to open (end of May/early June) in the old Co-op store 47th and Kimbark. Some hard feelings were raised over the store's apparently not knowing it was committed to return to the North Kenwood-Oakland Comm. Conserv. Council with final plans and to talk with the city MOWD people downtown. The owners the store, similar to their other stores or to Pete's, say they will hire 60 to 80 mostly from the neighborhood. It's expected to have 42,000 sq. ft., and include a deli and bakery, and is seeking to lease the upper floor.

Franks House at 5052 Ellis to be divided.

Alderman Preckwinkle announced her approval of a request by local developer Barbara Bowes to rezone part of the former Franks (as in Leopold and Loeb) house (former De Lena Day School) 5052 S. Ellis from RS1 residential single detached to all RM5 residential multiunit to allow remodeling into two condominiums. City Council committee on Zoning was scheduled to vote on this January 12 2010. The exterior will be remodeled according to current character in accord with the South Kenwood Historic District requirements. Original architect was Henry L. Newhouse. This site has not heard whether there were any local objections to moving away from single family. The side street along it is Hyde Park Blvd., which has a mix of structures. In the next block to the east is President Obama's house, and to the south of that a vacant lot (outside the historic district?) along HPB that is proposed to be developed as several condos.

Chicago Theological Seminary construction will start soon (late spring 2010) at 60th and Dorchester

It will have Silver LEEDs designation and the stained glass windows from the current buildings at 57th and University will be installed in the chapel of the new building--- acknowledged to be a challenge. The current windows in the old building, to be remodeled as the Friedman Economics Institute, will be replaced with leaded glass. A dedicated tree will also be moved. The project expects to exceed WME standards. 2011 or 2012 are goals for construction. The staging area displaced the 61st St. Community Garden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HPKCC among many sending letters endorsing Antheus Shoreland project. (It also endorsed the Del Prado zoning change for upper wing.)

HPKCC letter to Alderman Hairston, October 15, 2009

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference wishes to voice its support for the principles of development that Antheus Capital presented for the Shoreland Hotel, plans which crucially respect the architectural integrity of Hyde Park. We also support their approach to an open community process in discussing the Shoreland Hotel development with its neighbors and teh community at large.

The Shoreland Hotel deserves historic preservation as the premiere example of Hyde Park's legacy of elegant residential hotels, and it deserves restoration to its former elegance in the hands of a sensitive architect.

Jay N. Ammerman, President

Herald roundups of state of developments and vacancies in Hyde Park and Kenwood-August 2009

"Dead or Alive:" This was to be the first in a set, starting with 47th Street, in the August 19 issue.

...The [47th] corridor has nowhere's near the number of shuttered stores and vacant lots that can be found further west [of Cottage Grove], but it still faces challenges, especially in the current economy.

The former University of Chicago Physicians Group Clinic 1301 E. 47th St.

The University of Chicago Medical Center closed the clinic Aug. 3, saying the facility was hemorrhaging money -- between $600,000 and $800,000 a year. In a string of protests, activists and local residents have accused the Medical Center of abandoning the clinic's patients, many of them Medicare and Medicaid recipients . A search is now underway for a new health care provider to take over operations at the site, according to John Easton, a Medical Center spokesman. The clinic will honor its lease on the property through next year, he has told the Herald.

The Hyde Park Co-Op Market 1300 E. 47th St.

The 42,000-square-foot store has been vacant since January 2005, when the Hyde Park Co-Op Market closed (its sister store in the Hyde Park Shopping Center met the same fate three years later). Negotiations are now underway to bring a new grocery store to the 47th Street space, according to Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th). But Certified Grocer, which holds a long-term lease on teh store, must agree on the terms with property-owner Lake Park LLC, she told a community gathering on Aug. 4. [There are rumors that Certified has or will soon file for bankruptcy, which would certainly tie up any resolution, perhaps for years.]

Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago 1100 E. 47th St.

The acclaimed African dance company has long planned to build a performing arts center on the vacant land at 47th Street and Greenwood Avenue, which it bought form the city for $1 under a 2002 redevelopment agreement. The project hit numerous funding and financing snags but appeared ready to move forward earlier this year. Muntu President Joan Gray said in May that the project was finally set to break ground, pending a final review of the construction-loan financing and floor plans. No building has started yet, and Gray didn't return a call seeking comment last week.

The Sutherland Apartments 4659 S. Drexel Blvd.

Heartland Housing Inc., the nonprofit that transformed the historic former hotel into affordable rental apartments, has been trying form more than two years to sell the property. The tenants have tried to put together their own development deal to keep all of the buildings' apartments affordable, but those efforts have so far failed to catch on. Any buyer will likely be looking at a gut rehab of the building, which has suffered water damage and a host of other problems, according to the city's Department of Buildings.

The Shops and Lofts at 47 747 E. 47th St.

The Shops and Lofts at 47 was supposed to anchor a revitalization of the Cottage Grove commercial corridor, but the economic meltdown put the brakes on the project by Mahogany Chicago 47 LLC. The developer initially planned to build 160 condominiums and about 100,000 square feet of retail and office space on the property, which fills nearly a whole block at the southwest corner of 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

City planners and Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) didn't want to let the deal die, so early this year they introduced legislation that would allow the city to buy the land -- 15 parcel in all. Their stated goal: to hand it over to Mahogany when the economy improves, so that some version of the original Shops and Lofts plan (probably minus the hard-to-finance condos) can still go forward. [This project included the historic Booker Building that preservationists hoped would be adaptively reused, but Ald. Preckwinkle declined.]


Top 10 Development Projects Facing Hyde Park Prepared by George W. Rumsey, HPKCC Past President

1. Harper Court (U of C and City of Chicago) --to be announced in November. Projected to be 150,000 sq. ft. of office space (for UC), 150+ room hotel, 200+ condos/rental, 90,000 sq.ft of retail, and parking.

2. Hyde Park Theater/Herald Building (U of C)- on hold until Harper Court is decided.

3. 53rd and Cornell (Leal)- on hold, due to finances. Projected to be 20+ stories of rental apartments and retail on ground level.

4. McMobil (53rd and Kenwood) (Leal)- on hold, due to finances.

5. Village Foods Center (Antheus)- projected start next summer. One 24-story condo tower, one 10-story rental tower, 3 levels of retail.

6. Del Prado (Antheus)- in process. Projected to be medium to high-end ($1-1.5K/mo) rental, with restaurants and other amenities.

7. Shoreland (Antheus)- In application for landmarking and PUD change. Projected to be 350+ high-end ($1.5K/mo) rental, plus restaurant using historic tax credits to restore part. Ingenious though imperfect solutions to parking.

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

9. Doctors Hospital (U of C)- unknown, a university use is said soon to be announced.

10. St. Stephen's Church (? [Bank])- Unknown. Projected to be high-rise condos but dead due to foreclosure

Others sites to watch: Lillie House at 58th Kenwood ( to be demolished for Lab School expansion), Windermere, Narraganset, friend center, UC warehouse on Stony at 56gh, Boarders on 53rd, Dorchester Commons (53rd), Cottage Grove, Washington Park neighborhood, Quad Club and adjacent houses, Meadville-Lombard Seminary (57th), Seminary Co-op.


Harper Court-City lot-Hollywood Video. The University and city have selected Vermilion Developer; public meetings scheduled for Feb. 8 and 22. See Harper Sale page.
Harper: Next TIF meeting special February 8, Monday, 7 pm. 53rd Street Tax Increment Advisory Council. Canter, 4959 S. Blackstone. March 1 (was Feb. 22), Monday, 6:30 pm Committee vets in open session at Hyde Park Art Center 5020 S. Cornell. To Announcement of and link to Harper Court Area RFQ/RFP, released by City of Chicago and University of Chicago December 12, 2008.

Arnold Randall, former Chicago Planning Commissioner, has taken the senior director (next of 5 to assoc vp) at UC Civic Engagement for those projects that interface with communities, and one would suppose will take the lead in Harper Court and melding view with the city's. According to the Oct. 27 Maroon, Arnold Randall will be the oversight and point person on Harper Court. "Randall will oversee University construction projects that overlap with public property, such as the Harper Court redevelopment project."....

"Vice President for Civic Engagement Ann Marie Lipinski said [Randall's] experience makes Randall, a Woodlawn resident, an ideal candidate for the job. 'He's been here a long time, so he's very knowledgeable about the city and about the South Side.'" ...

"Randall will be involved in redeveloping Harper Court....

"Randall's connections with the city's planning department will provide new insight into the process, Lipinski said. ' Randall has been in those conversations from the city perspective or had been a long time ago', Lipinski said"...

"...most University projects will require just as much attention to community needs, Lipinski said. Ongoing work on the South Campus Residence Hall, for example, has involved 'multiple conversations and interactions required between the University and government bodies and community groups to get that work done,' Lipinski said. "It's everything from zoning questions, permitting questions, landscape questions, streetscape questions, all of which someone needs to oversee.' She added: 'There are other [projects] that don't get as much attention but which need really smart communication between the University and aldermen... between pubic bodies and private residents who have a stake in these projects."

Randall's press released talked about putting "my planning experience to work for a great institution. I look forward to digging into some of the exciting projects already underway, and building the relationships that will help us plan for the future."


University, Dr. Wake make deal to move Hyde Park Animal Clinic outpatient to Freehling bldg. on 53rd and (likely) build a new hospital and overnight in South Shore, thus furthering the clearing of Harper Court.

University/Dr. Wake letter to the Herald July 15, 2009

Our vet has a new home.

On behalf of the Hyde Park Animal Clinic and the University of Chicago, we are taking the unusual step of writing a joint letter to update the community about ongoing relocation efforts for the clinic. The university recognizes the need for veterinary services for the neighborhood and has always been anxious to support Dr. Wake and Hutchings as the providers of these services. Hyde Park animal Clinic is a valuable resource, having served Hyde Park and near South Side communities for more than 28 years.

For the last nine months, the university and Dr. Wake have been working together to find a new neighborhood home for Hyde Park Animal clinic. Dozens of potential locations have been explored by the university and Hyde Park Animal Clinic, but none were suitable for the needs of a veterinary hospital. After reviewing all options, Hyde Park Animal Clinic has come up with a solution that will be very exciting for the community. A clinic office will be opened at 1365 E. 53rd St. to provide outpatient services for dogs, cats, surgery, dental procedures and boarding for cats.

A second location is being negotiated on 71st Street near Stony Island where we hope to establish a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital with boarding and daycare services.

The university and clinic are pleased that all the hard work has paid off and that Dr. Wake wil continue to care for our pets for many years to come. We see this progress as part of the ongoing effort to create a new, more vital 53rd Street.

Dr. Thomas Wake, DVM, Nim Chinniah, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, University of Chicago.

Animal clinic moves next door to Freehling. Veterinarian Tom Wake thanks Sue Freehling for "helping to solve a very difficult problem;" zoning change needed

Herald, July 15, 2009. By Kate Hawley

After a nine-month search, the Hyde Park Animal Clinic has identified a new neighborhood location for some of its services and is negotiating to acquire land near 71st Street and Stony Island Avenue for a larger veterinary hospital. The clinic is currently located in the Harper Court Shopping Center, which is slated for redevelopment by the University of Chicago and the city. The university has been assisting the clinic and its lead veterinarian, Dr. Tom Wake, in the relocation effort....

In Hyde Park, Wake plans to open an office in a space formerly occupied by a Subway restaurant at 1365 E. 53rd St., in the building that houses Freehling Pt & Pan Co. the 1,900-square-foot office will provide outpatient services for dogs and cats, overnight boarding for cats, some surgery and some dental procedures, according to Wake. The larger veterinary hospital planned for 71st Street would provide a broader menu of services.

Before Wake can move into the new 53rd Street location, the building must undergo a zoning change, from a B1-3 neighborhood shopping district to a B3-3 community shopping district. The higher zoning designation allows a wider range of businesses to occupy the building, though certain businesses such as payday loan stores and tattoo parlors must undergo community review. The B3-3 zoning does not allow changes to the building's size or density.

The university is backing the zoning change and has hired attorney Danielle Meltzer Cassel of Vedder Price to represent its interests. [She is handling similar zoning changes for Silliman Group/Antheus.] She made the case for teh zoning change Monday at a meeting of the advisory council that oversees the 53rd street tax-increment financing district. The council votes to approve the change, paving the way for the Chicago City Council to take up the issue.

Sue Freehling, who owns the Freehling Pot & Pan co. and the building it occupies, said she also supports the zoning change. "I hope it goes through," she said.

Wake expressed gratitude to the university for its help in finding a new location and to Freehling for agreeing to let him open his clinic in her building, next door to her store. "I am very grateful to Mrs. Freehling for helping to solve a very difficult problem," he said. Top

2008 wrap up- By Gary Ossewaarde, reflecting the views of the author

Development planning, real estate volatility. Detail pages- see Development Pages Index, Harper Court home, Harper Theater RFP, 53rd Street, TIF News home, Zoning home.
While Hyde Park suffered only modestly from burst of the housing bubble and the economy; retail and mixed development was at least stalled-out by the same.

But this was the year the University took the lead role in pushing and planning such development as well as major campus expansion. Some wondered whether the University did or was capable of thoughtful planning, in partnership with the community, and asked why we do not do or do much more area-wide planning. The University's purchase of and takeover of the RFP process for Harper Court (RFP for the Court plus city lot went out in December) was the decisive move. 2009 will tell what will come of it, as well as the survival or replacement of the Harper Theater buildings. Some neighbors were distressed to see the plan to rehab the Theater buildings go down the drain and to clear buildings or land including Harper Court well before new plans could be ready. Surveys, planning charette's, and meetings/forums by a coalition of organizations including HPKCC, entities and Ald. Preckwinkle helped forge a set of principles for development of Harper Court and beyond. There was concern about public input into actual developer proposals, effective transparency, and a result that will serve the needs of broad and diverse sets of residents and business owners, including small locally-based and independent, and be a destination.

The University badly stumbled in efforts to convince neighbors at big and private meetings or modify the proposal for Doctors Hospital on Stony Island or ultimately in preventing neighbors from voting the precinct dry, killing development. The University also stirred up controversy by acquiring considerable property to the west of Washington Park in the path of the Olympics. Much of the controversy was over communications.

Antheus Capital continued to purchase and start rehab of many mostly rental buildings, some very large (with some ability of local affordability groups to negotiate concessions), advanced plans for the large, green Solstice on the Park at 56th and Cornell, and proposed a major mixed development to replace the current Village Center at Lake Park and Hyde Park Blvd. (Indeed, increasing attention to remaking the Lake Park corridor was a marker of 2008.) The other large mixed development proposal, changed from condo to rental, was that of L3 for 53rd and Cornell. L3's other site, 53rd Kenwood, remained dormant.

Increasing attention was placed to larger community planning, starting with 53rd Street. The keystone was a set of Vision exercises and walk through's with large participation. Meanwhile, the 53rd TIF increased its support actions by supporting these, continuing streetscape, funding CleanSlate and small business improvement projects and upgrades at Canter Middle School. New TIFs and Special Assessment districts got off the ground on Cottage Grove. Spot zoning and build-out pressures became worrysome. Top


At April 24 2009 UC Outreach Forum, businesswoman challenges UC to have rents affordable to local businesses in the new Harper Court

[Ann Marie Lipinski, VP for Civic Engagement] included the redevelopment of the Harper Court shopping center and the adjacent city-owned parking lot among the university's outreach efforts, saying that the retail and residential complex planned for the site will boost vitality along Hyde Park's 53rd Street corridor.

During a question and answer session, Sandra Bevans asked if Harper Court's rents will be at levels local business people can afford. "So they're not having to pay $2,500 to $3,000 to rent some space." Susan Campbell, associate vice president for civic engagement, said that while it's too early to say what rent levels at the new complex will be, the university is helping business owners currently in Harper Court to find new locations they can afford. Top

Meadville-Lombard Theological School has put its buildings up for sale, but could end up staying under a shared space arrangement (including if it merges with Andover-Newton Seminary in Massachusetts, under negotiation. At least two buyers besides the likely obvious are interested. With its shrunken endowment, the options of status quo or of moving to Woodlawn will no longer work. Another question is what will happen to the site it was to move to at 62nd and Ellis.

New U of C moves:

The University of Chicago has recently acquired the Mobil Station and the former McDonalds location. at Kenwood and 53rd St.
The U of C will likely use Doctors Hospital site after clearance for an Early Learning through grade 2--watch for public meeting this winter.

On the periphery

In December 2009 the 43rd TIF/SSA placed into the city's "under consideration:" queue spending $7.2 million through 2011 on the Shops and Lofts at 47 development at 47th and Cottage Grove sw corner block, mostly for property acquisition. The TIF would thereby go from a $5.2 m balance to minus $2.1 (not counting increment over the next two years?) in 2011. The project has changed in scope so much that it would have to go again before the Community Development Commission and City Council. The city is presently trying to buy the property from an allegedly politically connected owner (also owner of Midway Airport Concessions ). The site holds the Booker building, which had been eyed by preservationists.

Meanwhile a developer has a plan for a vast commercial and residential development at 54th west of King, supposedly not known by aldermen and other players including the University, which had also bought much in the area.


And now Washington Park/south Bronzeville? Does it bode anything for Hyde Park? To new plan

West of Washington Park:

U of C has purchased much land on Garfield between the Green Line and King. Another group, New South Partners LSC has assembled parcels to the north called Gateway.

Plans for the latter have been downscaled--and UC owned land taken out of the plans--since loss of the Olympic bid, but Ald. Pat Dowell has given a letter of support to allow planning and retail and financial contacts to go forward. A PUD would be required.

Alderman Pat Dowell will head a Garfield Blvd. planning effort following UC land purchases west of Washington Park.

Hyde Park Herald March 18, 2009. By Kate Hawley

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) announced Friday that she is taking the lead in a community planning process for a stretch of Garfield Boulevard that runs from Washington Prk to the Dan Ryan Expressway. The University of Chicago began buying up land along the corridor last year, a move that angered Dowell. In August, she alerted the Hyde Park Herald of the university's intent to acquire 15 parcels. She accused the university of "land banking" -- holding onto property for future use with no clear plan. Officials responded by saying that a robust community process would help determine how the university will use the properties.

Dowell said Friday that she will take the reins of that effort. "I wanted to get ahead of the university," she said."I wanted the community to really have an important role in the development of this corridor." The university should have a voice in the planning too, Dowell said. "I recognize that they add value to the neighborhood.

"We're happy to play a role," said Bob Rosenberg, associate vice president for public affairs for the university. "We think that in a challenging environment and in a neighborhood that desperately merits help, we're encouraged that things are moving ahead." Dowell said she is spending $190,000 for the services of two consulting firms, O-H Community Partners and the HOK Planning Group. They will oversee a six-month planning effort to begin in April.

Together they'll produce a report about how to create new buildings, jobs, business development and improved parks and transit, said Todd Meyer, a location director for the HOK Planning Group, which is part of the global architecture firm HOK. "One size does not fit all as we develop a corridor like this," he said. "We want to make sure we have an integrated approach." O-H Community Partners has experience with South Side communities, having recently worked on plans for the Cottage Grove Avenue commercial corridor in Bronzeville, said Chinwe Onyeagoro, managing partner for the company.

The first six weeks of the planning process will be devoted to studying the area, Garfield Boulevard from Washington Park to Western Avenue. O-H will reach out to property owners, residents, developers and other, and HOK will do a physical assessment of the buildings along the strip. In addition, LISC MetroEdge will conduct a market study aimed at figuring out how best to support business development.

Based on these early investigations, Dowell and the consulting team will put together a steering committee made up of key local stakeholders. Community meetings will take place throughout the planning process. The consultants, in partnership with the community, will spend 10 weeks identifying development opportunities, Onyeagoro said. The last eight weeks of the planning process will go toward final recommendations and putting together the report.

"We want this to be an open, inclusive, reasoned and real process," Dowell said. Since August, when the news broke about the university's acquisitions along Garfield, Dowell has had "several meetings" with Robert Zimmer, university president, and Ann Marie Lipinski, its vice president for civic engagement. She met with them "to get an understanding of what their long-term interest is and to seek their assistance in working with the community around all land issues on 55th Street [also called Garfield Boulevard]" she said.

Dowell said the university had taken her suggestion to hire local or minority-owned contractors for the demolition of some of the buildings along Garfield, which are slated to come down in the next few weeks. Spirit Wrecking & Excavation Inc. will do demolition work and Eason Environmental Service In. will do asbestos removal, she said. "They've been responsive," said Dowell, of university officials.

A new plan for Washington Park: Garfield Blvd. tapped for transit-oriented development. The plan was downsized after the Olympic bid lost and no longer includes UC property. It has Ald. Dowell's support.

About Washington Park Consortium:

Ex. Dir. Brandon Johnson. Find under 6357 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Chicago, IL 60637. Phone: (773) 324-7592 or (LISC can also be found at 4659 S. Cottage Grove, 2nd Floor 60653.)
A coalition of many organizations and stakeholders brought together by LISC/New Communities to develop and advance a Quality of Life Plan for the Washington Park neighborhood and promote a host of initiatives by its members. "Everybody at the Table."

See plan:

Herald, June 24, 2009. By Kate Hawley

Residents and stakeholders of Washington Park, Hyde Parks' neighbor to the west, have produced a road map for how they want their community to develop -- an increasingly charged topic given how powerfully a Chicago Olympics could reshape the area and the University of Chicago's recent historic investments into the neighborhood.

Beginning in March last year, more than 200 people representing a broad swath of local institutions met over a nine-month period with ald. Willie cochran (20th) to draft a quality-of-life pan for the neighborhood. Titled "Historic, Vibrant, Proud and Healthy," it was developed as part of the Local Initiatives support Corporation of Chicago, or LISC/Chicago, which is behind similar plans in 16 city neighborhoods.

The plan envisions Washington Park's vacant lost filled in with new housing affordable for a range of income levels, its historic buildings rehabbed, its youth engaged in constructive activities and its adults able to find decent jobs. Health care and support for senior citizens are also among the plan's 10 strategy points.

These are ambitious goals for Washington Park, which has struggled due to disinvestment over the last half-century. for example, the U.S. Census projected it 2005 population at 13,000, down from 57,000 in 1950.

But seismic changes are on the horizon for the neighborhood if Chicago wins its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, not least because track, field and swimming would take place inits eponymous 372-acre park. Some say the ground has already begun to shift with a series of land purchases along Garfield Boulevard by the University of Chicago.

"Neighborhood stakeholders consider the Olympic bid and the University of Chicago land purchases as both opportunities and threats," the plan's authors wrote. "While they may bring new investment and trigger implementation of projects in this plan, they could also repeat urban-renewal mistakes of the past that displaced residents or reshaped communities without the input of local residents." The authors continue, "We intend to be full participants in decisions about our neighborhood's future, and will use this plan to guide development."

Charts and drawings included in teh 35-page planning document show the stretch of Garfield Boulevard from teh Green Line station to the park -- where the university began negotiations to acquire 15 parcels last year -- targeted for "transit-oriented development." This type of development is generally mixed-use, dense and focused on generating foot traffic.

Sonya Malunda, associate vice president in the university's Office of Civic Engagement, participated in the quality-of-life planning from the onset at Cochran's invitation. The university will follow the community's lead when it comes to development in Washington Park, much as it did during recent planning efforts in Woodlawn and the Quad Communities area, she said. "Our role has been that of a junior partner."

A thriving Washington Park would benefit Hyde Park's retail environment and give university students and other Hyde Park residents better access to Washington Park's Green Line stations and the Dan Ryan Expressway, she added.

Developing Garfield Boulevard, though critical to Washington Parks' retail environment, is just a small part of the overall plan, which includes 59 separate recommendations. To put them into practice, the steering company of local stakeholders created a nonprofit called the Washington Park Consortium. Backed by a seed grant of about $200,000 from LISC/Chicago, the consortium began operations in May, according to its executive director Brandon Johnson. Collaborations with other local groups have produce a series of initiatives.

According to the report, the South Side Federal Credit Union has begun offering checking accounts and has expanded its foreclosure counseling, The Life Center Church of God in Christ has launched new youth programs at its K.L.E.O. Family Life Center and th Washington Park Advisory Council has installed new furniture adn equipment in its computer technology center and offered a sports day camp.

Johnson said he hopes to gain the community's trust by kicking these smaller programs into gear right away. "There's a lot of skepticism in communities across Chicago, and Washington Park is not an exception, about plans actually being fulfilled," he said.

He expressed confidence that the consortium is on the right path. "We've got everybody at the table", he said. Top


OWL's (Older Women's League) survey of senior's visits, wants and needs. October 2008

Asked what business and types of businesses or services they had visited in the neighborhood in the past months, the variety was amazing.

Suggestions for parks: a greenhouse, arts and crafts

For transportation: more buses especially on and to 53rd St., shuttles and trolleys, share-a rides, bus information availability

Parking- 53rd St. was stressed including lighting to read the new meters

Bicycle visibility and keeping off sidewalks were seen as priorities

So were sidewalk and intersection improvements

Desired: retail- clothing, staples, housewares, sidewalk cafes, lower price grocery store, thrift store(s) and or Target were mentioned.

Real estate publications, study have recently (mid 2008) spotlighted HP retail development prospects, including for a national anchor. Neighborhood's diversity cited as a key asset and its dollar leakage as inviting development. (See Antheus page article on Village Center for discussion of another key element--enough space to draw in a set of different retail venues.)

Herald, July 16, 2008

Two recently published reports suggest Hyde Park is poised to experience a spate of retail development and consider the conditions the neighborhood requires to fuel that possibility. Pointing to the University of Chicago's recent real estate acquisitions along 53rd Street, the Illinois Real Estate Journal suggests that one key component to a resurgence of the retail strip--a national retail anchor--is much more likely to emerge.

Meanwhile, an unrelated study by De Paul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development reveals that the neighborhood's diversity is an important element for drawing businesses here.

The Illinois Real Estate Journal quotes Barry Schain, principal of Next Realty, as seeing a large anchor tenant in the neighborhood "within reach" given the university's ownership of the Harper Theater and Herald Building on the northwest corner of 53rd Street and Harper Avenue and its recent purchases of Harper Court on the nearby parcel between 52nd and 53rd streets on Harper Avenue.

The article also points to significant "leakage," meaning residents shopping outside of the neighborhood, as a sure sign of potential new retail development. The article identified $37.32 million in home improvement leakage, and $17.13 and $.16 million in apparel and grocery leakage, respectfully.

The Chaddick Institute study, after describing diversity as "an important business development tool," identified Hyde Park as the third most diverse neighborhood in Chicago and the most diverse in terms of diversity of income.

While exploring the possibilities for Hyde Park's retail future, the Illinois Real Estate Journal cautioned those looking to the possible 2016 Olympic bid as a retail draw. "What people should be considering is, is this the potential home for the Barack Obama Presidential Library in four years? " David Baum, principal of Baum Realty Group LLC, told the journal. "Real estate is something that has to be used 365 days a year - you don't sign a 20-year leases [for the period when the Olympics will be in town]."

Until recently, Baum was the developer for the university's property on the northwest corner of 53rd Street. Baum told the journal that their unsuccessful efforts to land the kind of tenants the university is after reflect shaky retail economy. "It's certainly indicative of the market on some level," Baum said. "There are a lot of people not ready to pull the trigger. We're getting deals done, but [tenants] are more guarded right now."

Baum also said the university had contracted with him to have a certain percentage of the tenants sighed within a time frame and opted out when that goal was not met.

....all eyes appear to be on the neighborhood, ready for signs of a retail resurgence.



The University has also bought Chicago Theological Seminary (58th Univ. to Woodlawn) to house a Milton Friedman Institution in Economics and Policy. The University will build new buildings for CTS (to be leased at $1 a year) in the 6000 block of Dorchester-- the community garden near the Steam Plant and for Meadville School south of the formerly forbidden line of 61st Street at Ellis. (Seminary Co-op Bookstores will stay for at least two years.) We were told that present plans for McGiffert Hall on Woodlawn are to tear it down and build Graduate School of Business student housing. Articles are currently in the University Projects Updates page.


Transit Oriented development featured at March 10, 2008 TIF meeting

53rd Street meeting to feature transit talk- Herald March 5, by Kate Hawley

An expert on transit-oriented development will speak in Hyde Park next week, as part of ongoing public discussions about how to redevelop Hyde Park's 53rd Street commercial corridor. Linda Young, a researcher with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, will give the talk at the March 10 meeting of the 53rd street TIF Council. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave.

The goal of transit-oriented development (TOD) is to cut down on the ill effects of sprawl by reducing dependence on cars. Its best-known precept is to locate new development near mass-transit hubs. But, as Young explained, it also aims to reduce auto traffic and congestion in other ways, by calling for compact, mixed-use developments that are friendly to pedestrians and bicycles. Residents in these mixed-use buildings support the businesses in them, thereby creating vibrant street life, Young said. And residents rarely need their cars to go shopping.

TOD often requires less parking, she added, which bucks the conventional wisdom that denser development inevitably leaves traffic hassles in its wake. "Density is a term some people are afraid of because of a lot of misconceptions," Young said. She noted that density can mean high-rises surrounded by seas of parking lots; it can also mean mid-rise buildings with shops on the ground floor and residences above, surrounded by inviting sidewalks.

Hyde Park residents would do well to consider these ideas, said Irene Sherr, a local planning consultant who invited Young to speak. She pointed out that 53rd and 51st street intersect with a Metra station and a handful of bus routes.

Sherr emphasized that several sites proposed for redevelopment sit near this transit hub, including Harper Court, the larger 53rd Street commercial corridor and Village Center, the shopping center on the southwest corner of Hyde Park Boulevard and Lake Park Avenue. "All of these development opportunities that are there could be viewed through the lens of TOD," said Sherr. "It's something all of us should think about."

The Center for Neighborhood Technology is a Chicago nonprofit that has worked on a national level to build sustainable communities, including research and advocacy for TOD.

Should zoning remap be part of the visioning mix?

Conference Reporter December 2006 issue

Development: New directions require a broader look—will public input be both sufficient and wise?
By Gary Ossewaarde

Development in Hyde Park, at least as gauged by proposals, will proceed at a much faster pace in coming years, although still limited compared to that in surrounding neighborhoods. Concerns include whether there will be open, ample community process and whether potential local and wider impacts will be effectively addressed without giving carte blanche veto to neighbors with a real or perceived adverse effect. The Conference has facilitated discussion on the Future of Hyde Park, 53rd Street and our retail options. It’s my view that we need a format or vehicle to take a global and long-term look at development in Hyde Park, perhaps leading to a quality of life blueprint. There are many planning organizations and agencies that offer such help.

The proposal for the former theater and retail complex at 53rd and Harper, presented by the University of Chicago and principals of the Brinshore and Baum firms at the November 13 Tax Increment financing (TIF) council meeting, appear to represent a “good result from a good process.” Community groups and residents were afforded unprecedented opportunities for input over an extended time into a Request for Proposals, considering that the University is a completely private-sector owner, albeit the neighborhood’s lead retail owner and institution.

The result honors the historic structures and the context, scale and pedestrian-friendly character of 53rd Street. The permanent loss of a theater (live and movie) there is a disappointment, but can visited for another site when additional parking comes into view. The specific program—for high-end apparel and other small stores to provide the retail missing in the neighborhood—is certainly a bold risk, but should be tried if 53rd Street is to be turned around and retail choices and heft in general are to catch up. In mid-2007, plans will be vetted by the TIF Planning Committee and at TIF meetings, a process that appears to be sufficient for this specific and type of project.

Such cannot be said for a much large project, Harper Court, which was founded on a public purpose, is managed by a nonprofit board, and includes a large municipal parking lot. (The city is currently conducting appraisal and study and will produce a draft Request for Proposals.) The TIF and its committees are significantly inadequate and inappropriate to be the only community vehicle for evaluation and public input into redevelopment of Harper Court and the City Lot.

The stakes are now higher: A program for the Harper and 53rd complex, including its modest scale, puts added pressures on Harper Court redevelopment—either by example to keep the scale small, or to instead have a higher, more dense development—choices in which the public must be involved.

Density and height, as well as parking, traffic and congestion in general, are among the principal concerns about proposed and potential developments, but are sometimes addressed rather than worsened by the right developments. Some proposed developments are: 53rd and Cornell (work to start in the spring on a 17-story condo building), 56th and Cornell (a 25-story condo building in the current Windermere parking lot next to Bret Harte School), Doctors Hospital on Stony Island (which the University may develop with a conference hotel and graduate housing but apparently not a condo high rise), or the Mobil/former McDonald’s site across from Nichols Park.

These concerns, as well as the right streets and locations for access, shadows cast, and not providing opportunities for birds to impale themselves, should be sensitively addressed and serious public input sought from neighbors and the larger community. But we need a way to think about these and other projects in terms of larger community objectives and needs, and not give a “NIMBY” veto over well-thought-out projects that may be context-appropriate, environmentally proactive, are convenient to transit, and provide new options for residents or businesses. A good case can be made that the 56th/Cornell building, for example, meets these standards well.

One concern about new development—paucity of new affordable housing options—clearly calls for a new look. As the Reporter has noted, a Task Force is being organized by the Interfaith Open Communities, Older Women’s League and others who are looking for small or larger sites that could become affordable senior and general housing. There is also a group in west Hyde Park working with the Metropolitan Tenants Organization and city government to address in some way hot spots of rental-to-condominium conversion. Some realtors have found a niche in renewing rental properties—conversion not being the only way to renew existing housing stock, but the price is literally less affordability. But it may not be easy to convince owners of, for example the upper floors above the new Bank of America branch on 53rd, to build out for affordable rental. Now, can anyone find a way to build new rental buildings in or near Hyde Park?

It is my hope that the Conference and others can identify a vehicle to examine and address globally the strains and directions of development in Hyde Park, perhaps as part of a neighborhood quality of life plan.


Conference Reporter August 2007, No. 2.

Development: Where is It Going? Where Would We Like It to Go?

by Gary Ossewaarde, with contributions of Trish Morse

With the many proposals set forth, set aside, revived or thought about the past two years, and the current churning realty market, it may be time to step back and take a good look at what kinds of development we want, especially retail, and what makes good land use and good development. Such a process should be informed by the subtleties and effects of "density" and what make a development or area "viable," "friendly," or "affordable."

At the July 2007 TIF Advisory Council meeting, TIF counsel Irene Sherr described an outreach of the University of Minnesota, Corridor Housing Initiative, that tries to do just that. Read about it:, or take a quiz on density from the Lincoln Land Policy Institute at

Under consideration is using TIF funds bringing them, or a locally based organization or firm, for a workshop in Hyde Park. This could be an opportunity to use Harper Court, as a test case--it's fairly large, it has a strong history of public goals, this could build upon the last two year's HPKCC workshops and on the 2000 Vision for Hyde Park Retail. Also, Harper Court and the city lot redevelopment appears to be on hold and re-leasing although still held to hold a key to TIF growth and revitalization of 53rd Street. The rehab of the separate north building into Checkerboard Lounge and Jerry Kleiner's soon to open Hyde Park Grill has revived interest in Harper Court rehab or redevelopment with similar scale and at least in part continuing to serve as a home to small businesses and artisans.

Regarding other proposed developments:

  • Harper Theater tenants are moving to new locations, almost all in Hyde Park, and redevelopment is soon to begin. The University is expected to report at the September 10 TIF meeting, 7 pm at the Neighborhood Club.
  • Doctors Hospital, 5800 S. Stony Island, involved plan for replacement of the current Orange-rated historic structure with a hotel and conference center. Many have expressed various serious concerns. These include preservation, high quality architecture, scale, change of street character, University of Chicago's developer and the latter's perceived policies, and adverse effects including on parking. There was one public meeting (and will be more), and parking and other consultants have been hired. It is unclear whether there will or can be substantial modification and a serious public process in light of what the university sees as its clear need for the facility.
  • The 53rd and Cornell L3 development was placed on hold by the owner , who will present concepts for redevelopment of the Mobil and former McDonald's site at 53rd near Kenwood Ave. at the September TIF meeting or a special meeting to be scheduled.
  • Antheus Capital continues planning its 260story condominium high-rise at 56th and Cornell. Neighbors are asking modifications, being investigated by Ald. Hairston. There are also concerns that the project needs to work well for Bret Harte School.
  • Meanwhile, we find perplexing reports and rumors about Antheus' desire to redesign and expand the important Village Center at Lake Pak and East Hyde Park Boulevard.

With all the uncertainty about markets, what the community wants, and the Olympics wild card, we seem in for a contentious ride. But how much change we will actually see on the ground remains murky.

An Open Letter from HPKCC (from the August 2007 Reporter)

June 1, 2007

Mr. Hank Webber
Vice-President for Community and Government Affairs
The University of Chicago
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60737

Dear Mr. Webber:

I was very excited to hear about the University's plans to develop the Illinois Central Community Hospital building on Stony Island Avenue and 58th Street.

The ICCH building is an important asset to the community, both visually and historically. The Conference hopes you will find a way to execute your project while keeping the historic building (possibly by using the empty space between the existing building and the Metra tracks).

By keeping the classic older building (which certainly would be perceived as a gesture of good will by the neighbors) coupled with the addition pf a vibrant new structure, this development could create an architecturally exciting project at an exceptional location here on the south side.

Most of us in the community were impressed by the University's unrushed, carefully thought-out, and open process for the development of the Hyde Park Theatre and adjoining building. I sincerely hope that you will follow a similar plan, with ample opportunity for broad community input and comment.

As always, thank you for your time and attention; we a the Conference are always happy to hear from you.

George W. Rumsey, President

Leslie Hairston, Alderman, 5th Ward
Brian Goeken, Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Chicago Landmarks
Carol Bradford, President, Hyde Park Historical Society


From the August 2007 Conference Reporter

One Member's Perspective by James Withrow

"Import Substitution" Is a Poor Retail Strategy for Hyde Park

Discussions about the state of retail in Hyde Park sooner or later include the observation that millions of retail dollars flow out of our neighborhood due to the lack of choice and/or quality. This article will quickly concede that fact and t hen aim to convince you that focusing on the money that goes elsewhere actually contributes to money going elsewhere.

Hyde Park is a wealthy neighborhood compared to the rest of Chicago and the rest of the world. It's a natural inclination to wonder why we can't have a broader selection of retail here. However, the idea that we can substitute trips outside Hyde Park for clothing, for example, by bringing in a large retailer of clothing has a number of problems.

First, there's not a single apparel retailer that could possibly appeal to all Hyde Parkers. We're an especially diverse neighborhood and to satiate our tastes we would still buy the vast, vast majority of our clothing elsewhere. We face that issue at the Co-op, too. While the Co-op needs to improve its consistency on the basics--friendly service, well-stocked shelves, appealing produce--the notion that one grocery store could satisfy all Hyde Parkers is far-fetched. Even with a much better run store, we'd still see Hyde Parkers spending grocery dollars elsewhere. A single large clothing outlet will probably make some Hyde Parkers happier but couldn't possibly come close to solving the perceived problem.

In any case, the focus on bringing in a broad array of retailers to capture more types of neighborhood retail spending may well be counterproductive. Consider as a rough analogy the Third World development strategy that's pretty much been discarded--"import substitution." The thinking behind import substitution was that a nation would try to decrease imports by developing an array of local industries which could then replace imports by producing domestically. Some large countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico had limited success, but smaller nations like the Dominican Republic and Honduras found it counterproductive.

What went wrong? Let's say a country the size of Honduras decided to reduce auto imports by subsidizing an auto factory and raising tariffs against auto imports. It's very possible that Honduras could indeed decrease auto imports, but at what price? The likely scenario would find only one major auto company in that small nation. The company's financial well-being would not depend on the perceived quality of its products, but rather on the political connections it developed in a quest for subsidies and protection. Besides swallowing up national resources, that manufacturer would attempt to further monopolize the market. Honduras would likely have a national auto company with lousy cars and high prices. (Analogies to perception of the Co-op abound here, don't they?) Competition is the best way of keeping businesses on the ball.

So, what choice do we have for Hyde Park retail besides "import substitution?" I think we can look to East Asia for another rough analogy, for a better model. Rather than subsidizing manufacturers who replace imports, East Asian economies like Taiwan and South Korea instead began subsidizing factories which exported goods. And when that's been done smartly, it's worked pretty well, well enough that western nations have fought back with trade agreements aimed at subsidy reduction.

How might that analogy shape our thinking about retail in Hyde Park? Well, if we're going to try to guide market forces to improve retail in our neighborhood, the better strategy would be to focus instead on businesses that are likely to bring shoppers to Hyde Park from elsewhere. This translates into subsidizing retail competition, especially in niches where Hyde Park has an inherent advantage.

We often complain about the state of retail in our neighborhood, but rarely does anyone mention that we actually have the best neighborhood in the Midwest for one retail segment: books. The better approach here would be to think of ways to build on that success and think about how we could promote Hyde Park as a destination for book-buying.

One of the problems with bookstores as a shopping magnet here is that besides O'Gara's and Powell's being located across the street from each other, our bookstores are spread out. The two chain stores--Borders and Barnes & Noble--are relatively far away from each other, which is atypical. The Seminary Co-op, possibly the best store for academic titles in country, is well-hidden far away from any other retail.

If these stores were along one easily walkable strip, what would happen? Folks from other neighborhoods would think of Hyde Park as a book-shopping destination. Plus, bushiness that do especially well with bookish people would want to be on that strip. Would those bookish-friendly businesses also appeal to a lot of Hyde Parkers? I bet they would.

What retailers do especially well with bookish people? I can't say I know, but I bet the answer will be surprising and that they generally tend to coincide with what Hyde Parkers buy disproportionately. For example, I'd guess that bookish people probably buy more wine than average consumers. If there were a strip of bookstores attracting shoppers from outside t he neighborhood, a specialty wine retailer would probably be attracted to that same strip.

Now here's the key to my argument. Which retailer would tend to run the better store? One who felt she just needed to e good enough that Hyde Parkers wouldn't leave the neighborhood for wine or one who recognized that her customers were mostly coming from outside the neighborhood and therefore she was really competing with wine merchants around the city? That's roughly analogous to the difference between subsidizing for import substitution and subsidizing for export.

I'm not saying this one example presents an easy solution. Relocating all the booksellers in Hyde Park to a half-mile strip would be an expensive undertaking. I bring it up because that approach should guide how we think about retail here. Could a couple booksellers be relocated in Hyde Park at a reasonable expense? Is there some other segment of retail or services that Hyde Park could become a destination for if they grouped together?

When we look at other retail segments, are we planning to have one dominant player who just has to be good enough not to anger the neighborhood, or do we want a couple players who at least have to compete with each other? And, better yet is to have retailers in Hyde Park competing for dollars from outside Hyde Park.

Providing goods and services for people outside our neighborhood will increase choices and retail quality for Hyde Parkers. That's the better alternative to an "import substitution' strategy which will tend to leave us with unsatisfying monopoly retailers.



HPKCC Development, Preservation, Zoning Committee reports from the December 2007 Conference Reporter.

Development, Preservation, Zoning Committee Reports on HP Activities [October 22, 2007 meeting]

Gary Ossewaarde chaired the meeting. Attendees: George Davis, Trish Morse, George Rumsey, Jack Spicer, and Vicki Suchovsky.

The committee discussed development proposals in the neighborhood and topics for follow up.

Doctors Hospital. Jack Spicer showed us that architects engaged by the Historical Society and Landmarks Illinois drew up two alternatives that meet all the requirements and needs of the University and their developer using the existing building. It’s 10 stories at its highest; plan two keeps the 170 feet of green space the University (although not necessarily neighbors) insists upon keeping for its future development, and is about 20 percent cheaper. Members shared what they have been hearing about the University being not as keen on its plans as it had been. Doctors Hospital was said to be a good test or demonstration experiment as to whether community input not only gets listened to but gives a better result.

53rd Street. The University was reported to be considering seriously how a large part of 53rd Street might be remade. The TIF will hold a workshop on 53rd Street development December 8. The committee will recommend that the Conference will encourage attendance but not otherwise participate (but the board would have to consider should we be asked.) Members said they would like to see an independent community-based planning process with professionals undertake planning for 53rd Street. This will be brought to the board for discussion and some members will touch bases with groups such as National Trust’s Main Street that have conducted such processes well and with respect for the individuality of communities. In general, members felt that no one local organization—and clearly not the TIF Council-- can speak exclusively for the neighborhood on major development issues. We can encourage their coming together, hold workshops etc. The problem, it was said, is getting any study paid attention to (witness the 2000 Vision for Hyde Park Retail).

Harper Court. No new news, but it will move. Members asked how we can encourage carrying out the old purposes, and maybe find another vehicle other than the current board.

Mobil McDonalds. Alderman Preckwinkle told a small meeting that she intends to see a planned development zoning variance for a building higher than 50 feet—this may well come up at the November 19 TIF. Jack Spicer circulated a paper setting forth problems with this plan form both 53rd character and history and general principles of not giving public value to private persons through special piecemeal up-zoning that not part of larger planning and contrary to historic planning for 53rd St.

Members said we need to be focusing and listening on the whole set of proposals cropping up and see how the committee might evolve into a larger role in community input and planning.


53rd Street Workshop 2007 in December Catches Development at the Crossroads

By Gary Ossewaarde

As development and retail questions reach a critical juncture in our neighborhood, the HPKCC Board and Development, Preservation, and Zoning committee have been discussing how we can contribute to the ongoing debate. A leader in Hyde Park and mid-South repositioning, Hank Webber, is leaving and will be sorely missed. Harper Court is about to issue its Request for Qualifications to developers. Members of the Hyde Park Co-op are asked to take the most serious vote in its history. The next TIF meeting could have a crowded agenda, and at the least has as backdrop Harper Court, 53rd/Kenwood (Mobil site), 53rd/Cornell, and updates on the Harper Theatre redevelopment. Outside the TIF are 56th/Cornell, Doctors Hospital, and more. And there is the market and economy.

There is the tug of war between those anxious for more development (retail or residential) and those who want less or none and over differing visions about the kind of neighborhood we want to live in. Others point out that Hyde Park development, despite a recent city Zoning Ordinance that invites community-wide planning, proceeds piecemeal and by exception, in reality holding it back. And the city also turns its back on strategic planning and deep-sixes revenue sharing by raising parking costs and property taxes steeply--to get revenue rather than to manage or tailor growth.

Our board and committee take into account findings from the workshops and forums HPKCC has held over the past five years, current proposals and rebuttals to them, residents’ fruitful letters and redevelopment schemes sent to the Herald and to us, and principles from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and private foundations: principles, sometimes competing, that include transit oriented development, pedestrian-friendly scale and streetscape, incubating new and small businesses, adaptive reuse, inspiring architecture, green and sustainable structures, a mix of incomes, maintaining affordability. And we ponder what we can salvage from the shelved 2000 Vision for Hyde Park Retail District prepared by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and the city.

One of our conclusions is that no one organization but rather the whole community and its many organizations together must advance to the next step. In fact, at the July 2007 TIF meeting an exercise in commercial street and development planning involving an outreach by the University of Minnesota’s Corridor Housing Initiative was discussed. The potential of such a workshop was described in the October Conference Reporter along with warnings against retail development for misguided objectives. Such a convened “vision workshop” is now at hand and the Conference is among its sponsors.

We urge our members to attend the Come Vote: 53rd St. Vision Workshop December 8, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. Browse our Development-related pages in for background articles and an array of neighbor’s ideas and reactions—and come prepared to think outside the box.

Be aware that the workshop follows close upon the inaugural open meeting of the new Coalition for Equitable Development (December 5, 7 pm at the Neighborhood Club), likely disclosure of new plans for the Mobil Site (based upon intent of Alderman Preckwinkle to seek lifting of current height restrictions there), Village Center at 51st and Lake Park, and 53rd and Cornell, and possible consideration of alternatives for the Hotel project at Doctors Hospital. Keep in mind also projects that seem to be moving toward successful ends—the Theater redevelopment, 56thCornell (if the school is accommodated), and prospectively, just maybe, Doctors Hospital. Then plug in your thoughts, hopes, ideals for Harper Court and 53rd Street.

Visit the Doctor's Hospital Hotel page and Doctors Hospital for Lab School for late and details.


What a Planned Development amendment requires/includes

This particular amendment concerns PD No 282, Residential-Business.

1. site definition

2. reviews and approvals

3. bindings and devolution

4. uses permitted by sub area

5. Listing of plan description documents

6. Signage subject to compatibility and character of the area

7. Conformity to the plan, parkway tree and parking lot landscaping ordinance provisions, provision of accessory parking, governance of RM6.5 Residential Multi-Unit District zoning with two exceptions

8. terms of re designations and changes

9. governance of Municipal Code and CDOT rules and construction standards re ingress and egress, emergency access (which cannot have garbage receptacles.

10. height restrictions including federal aviation

11, 12, 13. definitions of applicable regulations

13. "The Applicant acknowledges that it is in the public interest to design, construct and maintain all buildings in a manner which promotes and maximizes the conservation of natural resources... generally consistent with the...LEED Green building Rating." (Sub Area A must have at least 25% of the roof green.)

14. "The Applicant acknowledges that it is in the public interest to design, construct and maintain the project in a manner which promotes, enables, and maximizes universal access throughout the Property. Plans..shall be reviewed and approved by the Mayor's Office for people with Disabilities [to].. highest standard of accessibility."

15. Sunset (6 years).



The Development, Preservation and Zoning Task Force/Committee of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference was especially active on the Harper Court issue : contact Gary Ossewaarde,, 773 288-8343. The committee monitors, encourages, or expects in the future to host more public forums on the following issues as well as form with others a working group on Zoning re-mapping of the neighborhood:

Where these matters are headed and what the committee thinks about them and is doing: here and reflected in the above highlighted sections, and in Tracking Community Trends (detailed), Community News, Hyde Park Theater Bldg., Preservation Beat, TIF News home page, Zoning pages, and Hot Topics pages. And we do reach out to associations in neighboring communities. We have participated in an HPKCC forum on the future of 53rd Street and retail development- perhaps it's time have another. We are interested the pattern of University land purchases, sales and development and involvement of the community in plans for the above and interested in preservation-of-stock , maintenance of character issues, and how to have both enhanced and affordable housing and commercial opportunities. See an assessment of the trend of business in Hyde Park in the TIF Business Climate page.

What neighbors said about development and related issues at an October 2005 HPKCC public discussion on the neighborhood


· Table 2 Character
· Table 3 Character
· Table 5 Variety of housing

Want Changed:
· Table 1 Retention of businesses
· Table 2 Commercial development (hotel, movie theater, notions-on appropriate streets
· Table 3 Entertainment for older children and adults
· Table 3 More Affordable Housing
· Table 3 Variety of stores
· Table 4 Improve poor management of public space….cleaner business district
· Table 4 Lack of business incentives
· Table 5 More small businesses
Conference should:
· Table 5 Have more development/preservation forums

Individual comments-other issues not presented
· Stronger emphasis on affordable housing and displacement of poor
· Affordability
· Affordable Housing
· Landlord and home owners should receive breaks on water bills
· Combating odious (onerous?) ordinances for high rises (unwarranted masonry inspection soon after major construction).

DENSITY (5 of 6- Noise is a quality issue)
· Too much density
· Continue to fight for low-rise zoning—Our community doesn’t need to be a south side Sheridan Road
· Keep “Doctor’s Hospital” (and low density—no high rise).
· HP must decide how much density this community can absorb w/o undergoing major personality change—very important and imminent decision(s) for very near future
· Entertainment for adults 25+
· More variety of restaurants


UC says it's an active player in 53rd development; parties discuss what kind of mix and prospects for the business district.

Talking to the Maroon January 30, UC vice president Hank Webber said we are in an active period of development. President Zimmer at a town hall meeting in January said the university's goal is, in conjunction with others in the neighborhood, to promote a Hyde Park that is "safe, comfortable, and pleasant for members of the University and the community. I think everyone would like to see better commercial and retail opportunities in Hyde Park, and we share that view," he said. The Maroon noted that many residents look forward to new services and businesses by worry about displacement of local culture. Wallace Goode of the University Community Service Center said it doesn't have to be either/or but both the quaint small boutiques and one-stops especially for goods like socks that you can't have individual boutiques for.

David Baum, one of the redevelopers of the 53rd Harper Theater property, told the Maroon they think new retail options will not detract from the community's character if they are integrated artfully,--you have to have a mix, including of locals and nationals. Baum already has brought Starbuck's to 53rd and Kinko's to 57th and said he targets the area because it is under represented in retail but educated and affluent. He expects a domino effect from development.

But several local business employees say small businesses will close as new come in. This will in turn hurt our edge as we end the vibrancy of having the old and new help each other as in Harper Court. But a more recent occupant of Harper Court said chain retailers provide an opportunity to inform a new crowd about Hyde Park culture. Alderman Preckwinkle said, "Nothing ever stays the same over time. The challenge is to have a vibrant commercial strip that mixes national businesses and local chains."

Jerry Kleiner, whose restaurant next to the Checkerboard in Harper Court opens in April, said he's betting on a hunch that 53rd can be a thriving strip. "Something is needed... I like the fact that there's good opportunity in Hyde Park... I want to turn people on to a new neighborhood in their city. I feel it's time to expose the rest of the city to Hyde Park." Webber praised Kleiner's record of helping establish added restaurants in neighborhoods.


A tale from big-development past: the turnaround of Regent's Park. And now it enters a new era

Regent's Park, the twin tower at 5020 S. Lake Shore Drive, in late 2004 was again honored by the Mayor's Landscape Committee for its unique roof garden (see story in the Green page). Here in brief is the story of its fall, revival, and present princely state. Bruce Clinton in mid 2005 sold Regents Park to a condo developer, although conversion will be held off a couple of years.

Hyde Park Herald, December 1, 2004. By Mike Stevens

....[Managing Director Pete] Richter, who bean working at Regents Park as a security guard 17 years ago, said [landscape] awards show how far the buildings have come since developer Bruce Clinton and The Clinton Companies began managing the property in 1975. Built in the early 70s with loans from ...(HUD), the 1,038-unit building quickly hit rock bottom in the mid 1970s when high vacancy rates, rent-delinquent tenants and rising crime led the University of Chicago and some HUD officials reportedly to call for its demolition.

"It was an awful place. It was just terrible," said South East Chicago Commission's Executive Director Gob Mason, who was a homicide detective at the time. "The last homicide I [investigated] was in that building."

The Clinton Company took over management at the one million square-foot rental property in 197 after reaching an agreement with HUD to buy the property in five years following extensive renovations. After Clinton made the improvements, HUD doubled the appraised price from $23 million to $46 million, Richter said. Clinton took HUD to court.

After noting ongoing renovations, increased occupancy rates and dropping crime rates, much of the Hyde Park community and almost all of its leaders, rallied behind Clinton. University officials, including law school dean Douglas Baird and former Vice President of Community Affairs Jonathan Kleinbard, worked for years with Clinton to try to restructure the debt-ridden mortgage he inherited after taking over the property from HUD.

"He had a lot of help. He had a lot of people on his side," Mason said. Supporters included then U.S. Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1), Mayor Richard M. Daley as well as "the full weight of the university," Mason said.

In 2002, the university-funded SECC honored Clinton for his contributions to Hyde Park along with eight others, including the "chief architects" of Urban Renewal the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and former SECC President Julian Levi as well as former 5th Ward Ald. Leon Despres. "We kind of looked at that as our all-star cast going back over our 50 year history," Mason said. "Saving [Regents Park] really saved a good portion of Hyde Par."

Today Regents Park boasts close to a 90 percent occupancy rate and the heated garage houses Mercedes.

And in mid 2005 Regents Park was sold to Crescent Heights. This is a large, respected national firm. Condo conversion in the future is virtually certain but not in the foreseeable future. --rents already run about $1,400 a month. It does take a large piece of residential real estate out of local hands.


Preckwinkle calls for local oversight of 43rd St. TIF (Cottage 39th-50th), potential role of tifs and boards (in the few that have them). Cottage Grove Corridor background, studies- see following feature.

Things were moving ahead very fast in 2007 with the coalition of Quad Cities, O-H Community Partners, Dept of Planning, Skidmore, Ald. Preckwinkle, Mahogany Ventures, Cottage Grove Development. Getting under way are a big shopping center on the southwest corner of Cottage Grove and 47th (that will tear down the Booker bldg. of the designer of Harper Theater despite calls by Quad Cities leader Bernita Johnson-Gabriel) and a whole string of new businesses and mixed development plus town houses along cottage including a beauty business that employees ex-offenders. On the table also is an arts and recreation center (including a pool) for 37th and Cottage.

In 2008, a $12 million Cottage Grove Restoration Initiative has started to provide loans to rehabilitate business facilities and get buildings ready to lease.

The newly-appointed 15 member advisory council first meets Wed., at King Community Center, 4314 S. Cottage. 773 535-8103 (4th Ward office). Expansion of the earlier TIF at 43rd was proposed by the alderman in early 2004. Apparently there was some concern about the city acquiring and bundling large amounts of vacant land without much public oversight. We wish the best to the new council in its oversight and envisionment roles. In October 2009, City Council, approved the SSA taxing district component, designated #47.

Appointed to the Commission in 2009 by Ald. Preckwinkle: Szymon Leja, Bwati Davis, Yonanda Travis, Katharyn Houke-Smith, Laura Lane, Tonya Primus, Rosalind Goodwin, Loron Pikofsky, Lamont Robinson.

More on LISC New Communities initiative: And Quad Cities.

In early 2006, Little Black Pearl students presented their concepts on streetscape improvements on Cottage Grove from 43rd to 51st.

And a coalition that hires and trains at risk persons is now contracted to clean Cottage Grove. Extending over two years, the program transitions people into being employables. Quad Cities is the second city area to hook into the Cara/Cleanslate program. The 8-10 member team will clean gutters and vacant lot, empty cans and separate recyclables, and maintain public gardens 5 days a week.

Hyde Park Herald, January 12, 2005. By Jeremy Adragna

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) made waves in 2000 when she called for residents of the 4th Ward to oversee development plans along 53rd street in Hyde Park.

Preckwinkle said this week she is again looking for a few good South Siders to drive development plans as she called for a TIF oversight board of directors to be formed in coming months. This time, board members will oversee plans along Cottage Grove Avenue between Pershing Road and 48th Street. The area falls within a Tax Increment Finance district know as the 43rd and Cottage Grove TIF, one of several within Preckwinkle's ward, which controls nearly $80 million.

The city employs TIF district to redevelop economically depressed neighborhoods by rerouting property tax money back to the area it came from.

The plan is to study the area first, which stretches from Vincennes Avenue to Drexel Blvd. and includes Preckwinkle's ward office* at 4664 s. Drexel Blvd., to see what types of retail businesses can be installed there. (*Preckwinkle has no personal financial interest in the property.)

Preckwinkle says she has used TIF areas in other parts of her ward to beef up affordable and market-rate housing, but 43rd and Cottage Grove TIF council members will oversee almost exclusively commercial and retail development.

An earlier study completed in January, 2003 included recommendations to build a new public library and businesses along 43rd and 57th Streets but it is unclear whether board members will follow the report.

Chinwe Onyeagordo, a consultant for Quad Communities Development Corporation which routes private investments to the area, says the advisory body will not likely take on any particular development decisions immediately but rather acclimate themselves to the area and the complicated process [of] how TIFs work.

Preckwinkle gained citywide attention in 2000 when she formed an advisory body to the 53rd TIF in Hyde Park. Chicago TIFs are ordinarily controlled behind the scenes by city planning department officials, the Community Development Commission and aldermen. Preckwinkle's format airs the inner-workings of community development, opening the complicated process to the residents which fund it.

Preckwinkle points to the success of the 53rd Street TIF council in getting concessions from retailers like Boarders Books and Music, McDonald's, and BP Amoco when they looked to expand along Hyde Park's Lake Park Avenue in the past two years. "We've had a group of dedicated volunteers to vet proposals," Preckwinkle said. "As a result of feedback from community members we got a better Borders and a better looking McDonald's."

The alderman's office is taking resumes from anyone interested in becoming one of 15 advisory board members until Jan. 28. Interviews will be held in February.


TIF study urges more business- our money going elsewhere! Growth means new retail opportunity for the Cottage Grove Trade Area. Expanded Herald coverage on above subject

January 19, 2005. By Nykeya Woods.

The map below, from the article, should probably show the wings along 47th instead of 49th, as the 4646 Drexel building is in the new TIF. The 43rd TIF Advisory Council, which covers 39th to 47th and Vincennes to east side of Cottage and (at 47th) to Drexel, scheduled its first meeting for April 20, 6 pm at the King Community Center, 43rd and Cottage Grove.

Map of the 43rd Cottage Grove TIF (extendng south to 50th).  Herald

A recent study by the Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) found that residents in Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Oakland and Kenwood spend up to $693.5 million outside the neighborhood.

The study released to the public at the Jan. 10 53rd Street Tax Increment (TIF) District advisory council meeting at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club cited a lack of retailers in the area as one reason residents are taking their disposable income elsewhere.

The study also concluded that new construction in these same neighborhoods had increased by 74 percent from 2000 to 2003. Which Chinwe Onyeagoro, project consultant to the QCDC sees as an opportunity to spur business growth locally. Included in the study is the expectation of more than 10,00 new residents in these neighborhoods in the next five years.

"There is a very nice, uncomplicated story about why this area, the Cottage grove trade area, is a great opportunity," Onyeagoro said. "There are things happening in this neighborhood that make it a real quality opportunity for retailers."

The Cottage Grove Corridor, which will be an anchor as a business strip for retailers, is defined as the boundaries along 37th to 51st Streets, between Lake Shore Drive and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Also included in the study was another test area that included several 10 minute driving times from the Cottage Grove Corridor, which falls within the 43rd Street/Cottage Grove TIF district--23rd Street to the north; Marquette Road to the south; Halsted Street to the west; and Lake Michigan to the east.

Advisory President Howard Males said it was important that the Hyde Park businesses know what initiatives surrounding communities were planning to implement. "The rationale from our point of view today for having our guests here has to do with the way the city is coming together with a recognition of a Mid-South district," Males said.

Susana Vasquez, program director for the New Communities Program of the Local Initiative Support (LISC) agreed. "They [Quad Communities] thought this entity [53rd Street TIF] is realizing that some of the organizations and grouping of folks in the Hyde Park Neighborhood are things that we would like to see happen in Quad Communities," Vasquez said. LISC, a group established to rejuvenate decaying communities in 16 Chicago neighborhoods, was the other guest speaker at the TIF meeting.

The study also concluded that these neighborhoods spend more than $35 million in than Chicago's average neighborhood. Although the average income is $30, 000, these neighborhoods can generate $191 million per square mile for retailers. Of 77 communities, neighborhoods within the Cottage Grove Corridor were ranked 18th collectively. In comparison, Hyde Park was 8th, Kenwood was 10th, Douglas 20th, Grand Boulevard 25th and Oakland 50th.

"One of the early action items that the Quad Communities Development Corporation took on was really trying to quantify what the opportunities [are] for retailers," Onyeagoro said. She said residents may understand the resources that they have at their fingertips being "sandwiched between Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago," but retailers need numbers that can prove that a store will survive. The study predicts that within the next ten years, middle-income families surrounding the Cottage Grove Corridor will spend over $850 million. The area could support over 700,000-square-feet of businesses that include apparel stores, eateries, hardware stores.

Below see a summary of what LISC and Metro Edge are doing, steps to redevelop retail at northwest edge.
February 27, 2005 The Tribune published an article, "Boom on the Boulevard: Developers take on Drexel, whether mansion or multifamily" This includes a complete listing of developments in the area.

The Sun-Times on February 14 published a full-scale article on the Cottage retail corridor and plans to redevelop it, noting that people are spending a lot of money shopping elsewhere. In fact, $460,000 sq. ft. of new retail could be absorbed. Proposed is small and medium sized businesses to complement what's there now. In the survey, residents also said they expect beautification and improvements in safety. Positives cited: Housing increasing fast and home ownership soaring, cultural mini-corners, education improving with UC initiatives, other UC commitment and involvement, increasing lakefront access, new city financing tools. A given: easy access to expressways and downtown.


Some recent developments in North Kenwood Oakland.

From South East Chicago Commission and Feb. 27, 2005 Chicago Tribune. Many of these are already sold.


Profile of North Kenwood-Oakland change

From an article in New Homes Magazine, June 2005

Troubled neighbors

In the neighborhoods that frame Hyde Park to the north and south, however, the picture is very different. Here, sidewalks are far less populated and stores virtually non-existent. Empty lots dot the vintage streetscapes like missing teeth.

Though they are Hyde Park's closest neighbors, North-Kenwood-Oakland to the north (bounded roughly by the lake, Cottage Grove, 35th and 47th) and Woodlawn to the south (bounded by the lake, 60th, King Drive and 67th) seem light years away from Hyde Park. But that view is deceptive -- and swiftly changing.

The avenues to the north and south of Hyde Park may lack street life, but not construction activity. Everywhere one looks, jackhammers stutter, bulldozers shift earth and hammers pound roofs under construction. North Kenwood-Oakland and Woodlawn are being built anew, many of the single-family homes, condom buildings and townhome developments rising on lots long devoid of anything but weeds.

What's driving the boom in neighborhoods around Hyde Park? Prices that are significantly lower than those in Hyde Park-Kenwood, a convenient lakefront location close to downtown as well as Hyde Park shopping and amenities, and the availability of prime comparatively affordable land in a super-heated real estate market.

Few observers have a better perspective on the changes than Jerome Wade. As president of Wade Enterprise & Associates, a South Side development company, Wade remembers building on Oakenwald Avenue in North Kenwood in 1994, when lots could be purchased from the city of Chicago for one dollar each.

Today the city sells lots for $30 a square foot, he says. "Now, it's a whole different ballgame. We have developers coming down from the North Side, and they believe lots at $30 a square foot are cheap."

David Chase can relate. As president and CEO of Chicago-based Thrush Companies, he recalls the days seven or eighth years ago when his company sold new townhouses and condos in the North Kenwood-Oakland area for $105 to $110 a square foot. Today, new units range from $180 to $200 a square foot.

"From a residential standpoint, that's a significant acceleration," Chase says. "It's been a virtual explosion in terms of market value and land value, and not just over the last 10 years but over the last five. And particularly the last 18 months."

Among the beneficiaries are long-term residents like Gregory Newsome. The owner of Loop-based CNI&M, a moorage and real estate brokerage, he lives in the vintage home he bought at 40th and Ellis in 1984. "when I first bought my house, there were a lot of issues and problems, because of the projects being there," he recalls. "Now those are gone. And while it's not's considerably more livable. I love the neighborhood."

Much to like

The lure of North Kenwood-Oakland and Woodlawn for developers is certainly understandable. Land is still available and affordable, especially compared to the much pricier, denser North Side. The neighborhoods are within walking distance of the lakefront, the most sought-after amenity in Chicago. The cultural, commercial and educational attractions of Hyde Park are close at hand, and the South Loop is less than a 10-minute tip up Lake Shore or King Drive.

Developers enjoy an added incentive in North Kenwood-Oakland, as in other South Side neighborhoods where the Chicago Housing Authority's plan for transforming public housing is "turning a negative into a positive," says Brian Moore, asset manager with draper & Kramer, a full-service real estate firm with a long history on Chicago's South Side. The former CHA sits in North Kenwood-Oakland offer large blocks of land close to the lake and downtown and in return for taking a mixed-income approach that includes new housing for CHA residents, developers receive a much better deal than they could trying to piece land together on the private market.

Buyers converging on the area are drawn by the prospect of city living at a fraction of the cost of Lincoln Park, Lakeview and other Near North and Northwest side enclaves, says Mark Sutherland, a partner with Alex Pearsall in Sutherland Pearsall Development Corp., a builder active on the South Side. "People are not afraid to pay top dollar for quality new housing," he says. "It's still literally a bargain compared with North Side housing prices."

Where are the buyers coming from? Identifying where they're not coming from is might be easier. Many buyers grew up near these communities in the 1960s, moved to the suburbs as the area deteriorated and now wish to return with their families, Moore says. Others work in Hyde Park, many for the University or the hospitals. Renters from Hyde Park-Kenwood who can't afford a first home in the neighborhood are moving north or south for a discount. And there are the converts from the North Side and Evanston, where lots of would-be buyers have been priced out of the housing market.

Wade, whose firm is building 10 single-family homes on South Berkeley, finds that his buyers include emigres from the North Side and South Loop. Having reaped sizable windfalls on their condos, they salivate at the $365,000 price tags on Wade's single-family homes. For that price, they gain three-story, eight-room homes with all-brick exteriors on a landmark street -- and have money left for upgrades.

Lake Park Crescent, Draper & Kramer's ambitious mixed-income development on Lake Park, between 41st and 42nd, is large enough to have an impact on surrounding blocks in Oakland. Standing on land once occupied by Chicago Housing Authority buildings, Lake Park Crescent's 480 units will be about evenly divided between for-sale and rental housing. About a third of the total units will be market-rate, a third affordable or "workforce" housing and a third public housing.

The development features two eight-story mid-rise buildings flanking a three-acres, crescent-shaped park. A 14-story condominium tower will come later, as will three-story row homes, city homes and six-flats. Prices range rom $200 a square foot for condominiums to more than $500,000 for three-story row homes, according to Moore.

A major selling point for Lake Park Crescent, Moore says, is the planned pedestrian bridge over Lake Shore Drive to a new beach under construction between 40th and 42nd. The subject of an international design competition held by the city of Chicago, the bridge is being designed by Cordogan Clark & Associates, which has produced an innovative serpentine design. Draper & Kramer is also attempting to convince Metra to reopen its shuttered station at 39th.

A tribute to the area's heritage

One of the main perks at Jazz on the Boulevard, another mixed-income community on former CHA land, is Drexel Boulevard itself, a grassy thoroughfare with a landscaped median that at 100 feet is wider than many parks. The Thrush Companies, which is building Jazz along Drexel between 41st and 42nd, paid tribute to Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the other jazz greats who once performed at the nearby Regal Theater and other legendary venues in the area in naming the project.

When complete, Jazz on the Boulevard will feature 137 housing units - 39 rentals and 98 for sale - Chase says. The rental component includes 30 CHA apartments that are being build with joint-venture partner Heartland Alliance, which will own and operate the units once they're complete. These apartment will be interspersed among the for-sale units, about one-quarter of which will be "workforce housing" priced to be affordable for teachers , city workers and others increasingly priced out of the expensive city market.

"We have a great constituency from Chicago Public Schools, the fire department, police department and the University of Chicago buying these units," Chase says.

The workforce housing is discounted 10 percent to 50 percent over market rate. For instance, a market-rate one-bedroom, one-bath condominium with a garage is $175,000 to $185,000, while the same workforce unit is $110,000. At the other end of the spectrum, two market-rate "Morton" duplexes will see for $400,000, while their workforce counterparts are $210,000.

Based on sales figures, the formula seems to be working. At press time, the first phase of construction was nearly sold out, 29 of 36 condos were sold in phase II, and in phase III, only one townhouse and about half of the 24 condos remained for sale.

Demand has also been robust for the South Side homes of Sutherland Pearsall, according to Sutherland. Long known for its residential developments on the North Side, Sutherland Pearsall has become one of the South Side's most prolific builders, with seven projects underway on Drexel Boulevard in North Kenwood-Oakland, Hyde Park and Woodlawn. The include both new construction and condo conversions in historic buildings, Sutherland says.

The company's largest current project is a 59-unity condo conversion called Drexel Parc Lofts, at 4537 S. Drexel. More than 60 percent sold, the seven-story building will feature lofts with one to three bedrooms and one or two baths, priced from $156,9000 to $270,900.

Community Organizations Spearheaded Change

Just as community-based organizations played a central role in stabilizing Hyde Park, homegrown groups have shaped the rebirth of North Kenwood-Oakland and Woodlawn. The North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council, funded in 1991, has been the dominant force in spurring change in the community.

After the devastating effects of white flight in the early 1960s and the creation of troubled public housing highrises, North Kenwood-Oakland suffered rising crime, deteriorating housing and a complete lack of investment.

At one point, Newsome says, the 4th Ward, which includes all of North Kenwood-Oakland, was the poorest ward in Chicago and one of the poorest in the nation. Beautiful old house were abandoned, vandalized, then razed by the city, which held title to endless vacant lots.

Since its inception, the North Kenwood-Oakland CCC's goal has been to bring private developers into the neighborhood and guide redevelopment. It has been aided in that mission by the Fund for Community Development and Revitalization, which Newsome now chairs. The fund tries to attract commercial investment and large-scale redevelopment of vacant apartment buildings, and is majority partner in Lake Park Pointe Plaza, the area's six-year-old shopping center on 47th just west of Lake Park.

Newsome's aunt, Shirley Newsome, since 1992 has served as chairman of the CCC, which now is also involved in improving schools, beaches and parks. "There are lots of things going on in the neighborhood," she said. "We're taking a holistic approach. It's not just about houses, it's about everything in the community, including people."

In Woodlawn it's the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Cor[poration (WPIC) that has battled to stimulate real estate investment in the community.

Once overwhelmingly white, Woodlawn changed almost overnight to 99 percent African American in the mid-1960s. During the following years, the area suffered from wholesale disinvestment, widespread arson and a crumbling economy. The population, which had swelled to 80,000 in the early 1960s as the neighborhood's large old buildings were subdivided into apartments, limited by three quarters. Its current level is 24,000.

WPIC started working to develop additional rental housing in the 1980s, then pushed for the development of for-sale housing in the early 1990s. Today approximately 30 new single-family houses line both sides of 63rd between Kenwood and Woodlawn carrying price tags that start at $275,000. Rampant condo conversion is ongoing east of Cottage Grove Avenue from 61st south to 67th, and townhouses are being built throughout the community.

An enhanced level of safety and improving retail and cultural environments are attracting newcomers to North Kenwood-Oakland and Woodlawn. Both neighborhoods have been extended the protection of the University of Chicago Police, which now patrol as far south as 64th in Woodlawn an north of 39th, in North Kenwood-Oakland.

So far, North Kenwood-Oakland is outstripping Woodlawn in spurring retail and cultural amenities. Lake Park Pointe Plaza houses a drugstore, and athletic footware store, a cellular phone store an myriad of other shops, and stands right across the street from a Bally' Fitness, and Cottage Grove, from 39th to 47th, has been designated a tax-increment financing district to spur retail development.

The limited number of existing businesses also are preparing for an influx o new customers as the base of new housing grows, according to Draper & Kramer's Moore. When the company began looking at the sale of its Lake Park Crescent development five years ago, Draper & Kramer officials huddled with the owners of a store just south of the site called the One stop. "We met with them about revitalizing the store, cleaning it up and making it more attractive," Moore recalls. "The owner said, 'I'll wait till the people are here, so I know I have a market.' Just in the last two months, that renovation has been completed."

The community has seen significant investment in culture and education, says the Thrush Companies' Chase. The Little Black Pearl [Art and Design Center]. an arts and culture organization, is based at 47th and Greenwood Avenue. Across the street, Muntu Dance Theatre, which focuses on African Dance, is building a new space. Ariel community Academy and the North Kenwood-Oakland Charter School are house in the rehabbed Shakespeare School building, at 46th and Greenwood.

Along with the cultural, educational and housing assets that are bringing North Kenwood-Oakland and Woodlawn closer to Hyde Park, the established community's less affluent neighbors now rival the hosting grounds of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in anther category - optimism.

"I've always felt that, just from a business assessment standpoint - looking at the location, and proximity to downtown and Hyde Park - (North Kenwood-Oakland) was a natural for redevelopment, for upper-end or high-end redevelopment," says Gregory Newsome, who predicts the area might one day rival Lincoln Park. "Ahead, I se nothing but expansion. Wild expansion."



The Aldermanic "pick" or "menu" of projects.

See Menu 2012 (5th Ward "Participatory Budgeting" in the political and governmemt update page.

Did you know there is an "Aldermanic Menu" for local capital and infrastructure projects? It is not too late , let them know your ideas. The effective menu seems to shrink steadily, and at the time when the mayor was prepared to raise taxes, the "truck hire" scandal reached its peak, provoking civic and business group ire and aldermanic cold feet.

NCBG principles to reform City Capital Budget in behalf of neighborhoods and accountability:

See each neighborhood's share in the city budget: To learn how go to the site or contact John Paul Jones:



Discussions, articles of interest on development principles

And visit City-UC Deal and MOU, Woodlawn Choice Neighborhood in Woodlawn News.

What Metro Edge and LISC are up to on the neighborhood edge

Although Hyde Park had a Retail Study and overall Planning Now Retail District Study produced in 1999, that's six years ago. All the other neighborhoods around ours are having marketing studies and full-scale Quality of Life Plans done, but not Hyde Park.

From the TIF Advisory Council January 2005 minutes:

Metro Edge Study presented by Chinwe Onyeagoro, Project Consultant to Quad Cities Development Corporation: Ms. Onyeagoro presented results of a Metro Edge study for the Cottage Grove Trade Area that found the area above city averages in buying power, growth potential, and retail opportunity. Also noted were the new residents, the number of home purchases, and a decrease in violent crime. Next steps are to present these findings to city staff, neighborhood planning groups, existing businesses, and local stakeholders; to engage Skidmore in developing a master plan; to establish a 43rd & Cottage TIF; to develop a marketing plan for the Quad community; and to begin meetings with brokers, developers and retailers.

Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)" presentation by Suzanna Vasquez, Program Director, New Communities Program of LISC: Ms. Vasquez gave a brief history of LISC's ten year commitment to 16 neighborhoods in Chicago, raising capital for grants and loans for development. The concentration for the past five years has been on comprehensive community development. to that end a MacArthur grant provided LISC with funds for personnel and grant money for neighborhoods devising a "Quality of Life Plan." Examples of grants include a U. of C./LISC beautification initiative; principal professional development for Quad Communities schools in July of 2004; and a market study by Metro Edge to help draw retail to the Quad Communities. Other local neighborhoods working on a Quality of Life Plan include Woodlawn, Washington Park, and St. Edmonds. Ms. Vasquez noted that partnerships are being fostered, including one between Quad Cities and the Abraham Lincoln Center to work on employment.

More above


An exhibit a 1 Space Gallery, "Design of Diversity: Urban Design for Chicago's Socially Mixed Neighborhoods" uses a formula saying HP is not socially diverse (like Lincoln Park !!, Edgewater, Uptown...) but gives ideas on how to be so.

Hyde Park Herald, June 14, 2006, by Caitlin Devitt. Exhibit through June 30, 2006 is at 1 Space Gallery, 230 W. Superior. 312 587-9976.

Hyde Park is not one of the socially diverse neighborhoods cited in the fine exhibit on Chicago urban planning organized by the University of Illinois at Champaign. Lincoln Park, however, is. This may seem counterintuitive, but it's all been scientifically computed with the Simpson Diversity Index (A+[N) N-1)/[sigmai nsubj (nsubi-1)]). So Hyde Park is less diverse than Lincoln Park, as well as Uptown, Edgewater or the Lower West Side. Well, anyway, one need not always gaze in the mirror to have a good time. There's and other reason to visit this show: to gather evidence for the argument that it would benefit Hyde Park if Harper Court remained an incubator for small, independently-owned businesses.

The exhibit suggests three requirements for neighborhood diversity:

When it comes to businesses, the exhibit, which thankfully avoids a preoccupation with gentrification, notes that small and neighborhood-based businesses are good; a local veterinarian, art gallery, plant and toy stores would likely be pleasing to these urban designers. They suggest that physical space should be preserved for such business, a group of cottage buildings built around a courtyard, maybe? The planners suggest wrapping small businesses around a big box retailer, supplying plentiful retail without flattening the horizon. This is best achieved in an area that features a mix in building sizes; one could imagine something like a large corner retail building, a theater building, narrow storefronts and two-story buildings. Collective space to connect the whole thing is ideal, perhaps grassy courtyards where residents can gather for farmers markets or chess playing.

It's always nice to see shows like this in Chicago, where it seems that urban design follows the cash dollars, and retail streets are becoming parades of Walgreen's, Subways and bank branches. Those interested in urban policy or who followed the Urban Renewal debates probably won't find many surprises here, except for the diversity of Lincoln Park. If we can figure out a way to plug Harper Court into the Diversity Equation, Hyde Park might score higher next time.


Writer criticizes University's real estate policy as inept at best, inimical to development and business climate

Note, the 53rd former McDonald's site was in fact sold by owner McDonald's subsidiary to the local developer-owners of the Mobil station (William and Claudine Phillips' 53rd St. Development LLC) to the east, although the University may well have been involved. And, as Hardwick implies, McDonalds and the University might have early in the process been involved. Maybe the University either foresaw accommodation to McDonald's as a potential locator on Lake Park and, in addition to other reasons it wanted Burger King out, agreed that the Burger King lease at 47th Lake Village shopping center (a few blocks north of the Lake Park new McDonalds) would not be renewed, although this seems early in the move game for that--or it may have been coincidental.

Herbert H. Hardwick letter to the Herald, February 9, 2005

I am still chuckling over a funny story from "Retail News," on page 3 of the Hyde Park Herald (January 12, 2005). In this story, by Nykeya Woods, the inconsequential fact that Burger King had a year remaining on its lease when it closed in early December, 2004 was prominently mentioned. Inconsequential because Burger King's demise was ordained around 26 months earlier when the University of Chicago, which owns the Village Mall at East Hyde Park Boulevard and South Lake Park Avenue, negotiatively declined to extend Burger King's lease beyond December, 2005.

The University of Chicago has a well documented history of driving viable businesses from that location and others around the neighborhood.

Who could forgive or forget how the University of Chicago hounded Rothchild's Liquors out of the Village Mall and then, using its political arm, the South East Chicago Commission, had the precinct Rothchild's intended to move into, at East 47th and South Lake Park Avenue, voted dry. They also, at about the same time, then evicted Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois from the upper floors of the same building in the Village Mall.

The current peccadillo concerning the demise of Burger King, a tenant of twelve years standing, can be parsed by a little common sense deductive reasoning about the real estate business. and one of its favorite devices, the 1031 Exchange or Starker Exchange as it is officially known.

The McDonald's Corporation of Oak Brook, Ill. probably owns upwards of 70,000 parcels of property world wide for the 13,000+ stores it owns, manages or franchises. Believe it or not its Property Acquisition and management Division is its largest subsidiary. McDonald's makes a practice of owning the properties its free standing stores reside on... In the case of McDonald's newest Hyde Park store at the corner of 52nd Street and South Lake Park Avenue the 1031 Exchange or Starker...may be the icing on this vaguely confusing transaction between McDonald's, the University of Chicago and the former owners of the Shell Oil Station which formerly occupied the site. Another viable neighborhood business the University deep sixed, summarily. And let us not forget the Christmas Tree Lot which mysteriously appeared on McDonald's former East 53rd Street location (1344) door to the Mobil Car Wash.

So why, may you ask, did it take a year longer than so public projected to close th McDonald's deal and get the restaurant open--almost 4 months beyond its August 2003 opening date? The University of Chicago, that's why,... The University has owned and controlled the site at the southwest corner of 52nd an Lake Park avenue for more than 40 years....[acquiring it during] Urban Renewal.

The University an McDonald's probably executed a 1031/Starker Exchange for the two properties and that exchange would account for the rather mysterious appearance of the Christmas Tree Lot on the former McDonald's site this past holiday season. The ...Lot usually resides on property owned or nominally controlled by the University of Chicago.

[His conclusion seems to be that part of the UC-McDonald's deal is that competing Burger King, too close to the new McDonald's, be kicked out of Lake Village, and this must have been at the start of negotiations, soon after the Kretchmar deal fell through for 53rd Mobil-McDonald's. ]


Broad-based economic opportunity is a requisite in our communities.
Gary Ossewaarde

Local aldermen and institutions including UC hold job fairs and extensive outreach to ensure contractors, vendors and jobs are offered to a substantial proportion of minorities and disadvantaged in projects. Several minority groups continue to complain.

In the new Muntu Dance-Black Pearl $16 M cultural center "planned destination" at 47th and Greenwood, Alderman Preckwinkle says "twenty-five" is the floor, not the ceiling. The projects receive Empowerment Zone funding. Mostly minority workers have constructed Little Black Pearl and boasts a 50 percent total participation. It will open in September 2004 to each kids to make and sell art.

What do residents want in communities, and how do they achieve them?

Based on an October 2004 Metropolitan Planning Council Issue Brief

(Note, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations has put out an advisory report on avoiding the Differential Impact of Gentrification on Communities in Chicago.)

For more information: 312 922-5616, www., vice president: 312 863-6004,

MPO's 2002 annual survey showed metro residents want to be able to live close to work, preserve open space (71) , and have affordable housing near jobs (73-81) --and within walking distance to shopping (44). Living where they can take pubic transit to work garnered less- 32% vs 62 in suburbs. (numbers = percentages in Chicago.) Among the clearest across the board is that people want retail--and retailers want density.

Retailers use several measures of density--and many experts think these are frequently misapplied, as confirmed by many businesses that have done very well locating in areas that conventionally don't measure up. Measurements include households within a certain distance, average daily traffic counts, foot traffic counts, consumer expenditures gauging demand per household per retail category divided into volume needed to sustain a store, how much business in the area can be captured. Example: grocery store needs 12,000 households standalone to 17,000 with a few competitors (70% "capture rate".) UPS/Mail Boxes may only need just 20,000 living within 3 miles while Dominick's may need double and a Krispy Kreme 5 times the numbers a few miles.

Also important in land-investment and retail locations is how communities distribute, use and regulate land. In 2003, PricewaterhouseCoopers downgraded key markets--Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas--because lax controls there bring higher vacancies and lower rents. Also frowned on are traffic congestion, car dependency, lack of connectivity, stressed roads and sewers, banal commercial strips , and regional infighting over tax dollars. But concentrating higher density housing near transit and retail creates favorable foot traffic. But without initial density, the transit won't come or won't help.

Other kinds and impact of density also affect economic health and growth. Density is linked to housing costs-although this is complex, and if development is thought to be getting out of scale, urban design guidelines work better than "downzoning." Density and walkability are also linked to public health--people who live in denser communities are less obese and live more active lifestyles--but walkability is not being adequately facilitated or encouraged in most communities.


What about affordability? Some say as many units should be or be built onsite as possible, others say it isn't necessary. In some cities the development boom actually builds more affordable units:

An October 23, 2005 feature in the New York Times titled "The Benefits of the Boom" included evidence that incentives that include offsite redevelopment can be win-wins even if a drop in the bucket. New York has two incentives (not stated (much) extra space for a development from developers of affordable housing or buy city-issued certificates from the affordable developers for lower property taxes. therefore, a stronger market means more affordable units. There are rules to encourage mixed income communities.

Irene Sherr, community consultant, says Less is More

Hyde Park Herald, October 26, 2005

Planners joke among themselves that every community meeting boils down to one issue: PARKING. No matter the development, parking is the reoccurring and universal theme at community meetings and that more parking is always better.

But a new book, "The High Cost of Free Parking," by UCLA economics professor Donald Shoup, argues less parking is actually better for a community. This slap in the face of conventional wisdom has sparked new discussion about the propriety of so much free parking. It even challenged the notion that parking is actually free.

Shoup argues that the cost of free parking is hidden in the higher prices of everything else. He says "free parking" distorts transportation choices, produces bad urban images, interrupts the natural vitality that comes from parking once and walking from place to place, wastes valuable land and hurts the environment. He predicts that in 20 years current parking policies will be considered as much a failure as high-rise public housing and urban renewal are viewed now.

Community leadership, in a desire to respond to the perceived lack of parking, has required developers of new residential construction in Chicago to build more than the required ratio of one parking space per unit. Further under the assumption that people will not buy a parking space to accompany their new unit, developers have been required to bundle the cost of parking into into home prices. Simultaneously, the need for more affordable housing increases and communities urge developers to incorporate affordable housing into projects. Many planners and residents praise these strategies as sound and progressive planning practices.

Further, the issue of density is often linked to these discussions. Residents will say that they do not want more density (but will want better retail options) because it will add congestion.

Dense residential neighborhoods tend to have lower rates of automobile ownership. Manhattan in New York City represents the epitome of this relationship. In Chicago, neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Andersonville and Lakeview have better access to public transportation and offer more destinations to walk to. There are more people to support businesses and the streets are safer.

The 2000 census indicates that well over 30 percent and in some cases close to 50 percent of households in these and other dense neighborhoods do not have access to a private vehicle.

What great city or neighborhood is known for its abundant parking supply? although these locations have many amenities and attractions, ample parking is not one of them, yet these areas thrive.

So, the next time you are debating the merits of a new development, remember the "High Cost of Free Parking."



An Urban Land Institute Workshop, held summer, 2003 in Chicago, identified...
Ten Principles for Development (Thanks to Howard Males, TIF Advisory Council chairman, for passing this along in the recent TIF meeting announcement.)


7 Challenges: Why successful redevelopment is so hard but happens

Based on an Urban Land article, October, 2003, drawn from Place Economics (D.C. think tank)

  1. The players: Most gov'ts, institutions and activists are used to housing issues rather than commercial districts
  2. More players, usual and unusual: Who drives the bulldozer? Hospitals, universities, and churches (esp. for parking); prob. more than developers--sound familiar here?
  3. Neighborhoods are constantly changing even if they look stagnant--don't overlook "functional transition."
  4. Leadership. The usual downtown mover groups are often missing, weak, or uninformed /inexperienced /underfunded or feuding among themselves or with the residential base.
  5. NIMBY. Again, sound familiar?
  6. The rent dilemma: when buildings aren't or can't be well maintained or infill structures of high quality because there isn't the money from sales volume > rent >warranted construction expenditure. Picture 53rd Street.
  7. Being overlooked for location because of exaggerated perception of No. 6 and of how "little" money there is in neighborhoods.

So, what do succeeding, revitalized urban commercial districts have? (D.C.'s 17th St. P-R much like 53rd.

  1. Population density
  2. Integration, economically mixed-income with owner/renter mix. > Dollar volume but not for high end bias.
  3. It's in a local historic district. > teardowns out so affordable inventory of commercial space and a range of rent rate diversity for independents is maintained +> infills are to scale and quality and pedestrian orientation is maintained. (It helps that (and the businesses thrive with) there are no surface parking lots. (It's 4 blocks to the Metro.)
  4. The merchants' association and residential neighborhood association are both strong.
  5. The district has a "second life" in the evening- dozen restaurants, bars, clubs that draw regionally (Sounds like old HP.)
  6. Diversity of customers and rents > diversity of business types and nationals and locals.
  7. All of the above, together.

Another reason we need pedestrian oriented commercial strips: to "Nudge people to exercise."


Hyde Park Cultural Directors Cultural Use Survey, executive summary- very encouraging and leaving room for better outreach and synergy with each other and business venues.

A consortium of directors from 13 cultural organizations in the Hyde Park area sought a better understanding of the levels of cultural "use" among Hyde Park residents, as well as the factors residents consider when deciding to attend cultural events and activities. This better understanding o the Hyde Park cultural "temperature" will help the consortium develop stronger audience education and communication with Hyde Park residents.

MCIC [Metro Chicago's Information Center] used a two-part methodology:

A summary of primary research findings shows:


Broadband initiative proposed for city by Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago- and it's coming in two forms, mobile and localized from a few big towers and lampposts throughout the city

The Metropolitan Planning Council has launce a A new initiative, Broad Shoulders to Broadband with support of the John D. an Catherine T. McArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, and McCormick Tribune Foundation. A multi-media CD is available from the Council.

This "tells the story of Chicago's broadband infrastructure potential from a business perspective: some local enterprises have taken advantage of the city's technology infrastructure, while many others remain 'out of the loop.' In the meantime, cities worldwide..have learned from and moved beyond Chicago's CivicNet, realizing the savings and benefits of broadband technologies. As the world leader in technology infrastructure, it is time that Chicago leverages its resources and builds the network that all of its businesses and residents deserve."

"From rails to road to the telephone, Chicago is built on infrastructure. Today,Internet backbone is shaping development patterns for the 21st Century. About 24 times faster than dial-up service, DSL is an affordable broadband solution idea for small business and residents."

(A map shows that of 12 islands of under service by DSL, three are relatively close to Hyde Park: Bronzeville (vast), a pocket in Cheltenham?, and a crescent from the Skyway at about 83rd running southwest to west of the Dan Ryan including Pullman. Another map showing fiber routes and future demand for High Bandwidth shows that demand will be heavy in band from Kenwood southeast through South Shore.)

"But many neighborhoods lack access. Without affordable access, businesses and residents cannot connect to Chicago's advanced digital network and will be unable to attract and retain jobs. Many businesses need fiber-level services for next-generation applications like video conferencing, telemedicine, and supply chain management. unfortunately, they are located too far from fiber or high-speed wireless networks to access service at a competitive price."

What is CivicNet?

CivicNet will save taxpayers money by pooling the purchasing power of Chicago's 2000 government facilities--offices, schools, libraries, police and fire stations, parks and other--the City can save millions of dollars per year and meet the growing technology needs of these facilities.

CivicNet will boost economic development. By extending broadband to its neighborhoods, Chicago will position itself to attract high-tech industry, like bio- and nanotech, while all types of businesses will have access to the most robust fiber network in the world."


Some demographic trends and policy ideas

While we are have been in an era (latest data 1990-2000) when the city is growing in population and, for example, in valuation of owner-occupied property, this is considerably less true in Hyde Park and South Kenwood than in surrounding neighborhoods (especially North Kenwood-Oakland) despite soaring resale prices and taxes. Since Hyde Park-K is among the high demand areas in the city, this may reflect already high property values and assessment due also to lack of developed and re developable land. In other words, we're a "mature" market.

It is also stabilized in the sense of providing (maybe increased) home to lower income families even while increasing numbers of well-off families (many being larger families now) move in. Opposition here is strong to high-rise and other projects that increase density—even if full parking were offered.

[Ed—because of the perceived strain on the streets and infrastructure and on quality-of-life issues. The differences in valuation growth also reflect both overflow from HPK and (even more) new attractiveness of a repopulating, often gentrifying, Mid South Side, and of course that the starting point had become very low for the surrounding neighborhoods- in other words, cheap land (being made more readily available to developers). While Hyde Park will remain distinct, it seems destined to become less and less and island.]

This map, from Urban Land Institute Chicago/MPO Campaign for Sensible Growth publication, shows rising stated values of owner-occupied housing in Chicago, 1990-2000. Lightest (Neighborhood 41- Hyde Park) + 4.1-46.6% growth in the decade. North Kenwood Oakland had 86-272% growth; Woodlawn 46-58%.

Some impacts of the growth in valuation (which incidentally has been ahead of commercial value increase in HPK, one reason for establishing a 53rd Street TIF):

Homeowners may benefit at time of sale but both they and renters may be priced out even with subsidies and assessment rebates and holds. The ULI/Growing Sensibly study has suggested that in order to protect those living in neighborhoods and encourage mixed-income neighborhoods, "An inclusionary housing policy [may be] a method of alleviating the adverse effects of appreciating markets." These groups and the City have held "Technical Assistance Panels" on workforce housing in pilot neighborhoods, including experts, non-profits, residents, developers, and real estate professionals. They concluded that "the Chicago housing market could support a targeted inclusionary housing program, but only in certain areas of the city," i.e. not with existing concentrations of affordable housing combined with non-appreciating values. For them, economic reinvestment was suggested. Challenges: 1) It's difficult to implement strategies for market rate rental development- taxes penalize it, 2) It's hard to match variable and changing market conditions with flexible, rules-light programs that don't also encourage abuse. Suggestions were made.

The city is proud of its record and new five-year plan on the subject, according to Commissioner Markwoski, who participated in a series of talks at the UC Harris School of Public Policy in late 2003. In the plan, revealed earlier in the day at the City Club, $1.9 million is available to build, preserve and assist in develop 48,000 units. The plan was developed with much consultation and hearings over six months. This plan depends heavily on partnering and is but one component in affordability initiatives, including preserving and revitalizing existing "affordable" housing--especially federally-assisted stock, and acquiring vacant single family houses, and financial assistance and counseling for families. The challenges were acknowledged.

Meanwhile, the city and Ald. Preckwinkle are acquiring long-vacant stretches of near-lakefront land by eminent domain before the prices skyrocket, especially in the Madden/Wells public housing corridor between 35th and 39th, in the process keeping density moderate in the new redevelopments.

The Conference has on file articles showing that many deprived neighborhoods are making strides on turn around: "Inner City Renaissance" and "From Poverty to Progress."

Discussion continues in Ending Homelessness and Tracking Community Trends>Neighborhood Goals>Inclusiveness, Affordability, and Strong Housing Stock sections.

Some broader development issues:


Advisory Referendum: What, Why, and How?

What can the average citizen do when he or she believes an injustice has been done in the community--e.g., the denial of a liquor license to the new owners of the Woodlawn Tap (AKA Jimmy's) or the Nichols Park issue of a number of years ago?

One answer is to see that an advisory referendum calling the question is placed on the ballot of any upcoming election.

Advisory Referendum?

An advisory referendum is designed for the purpose of soliciting the opinion of voters on a question of public policy--e.g., "Shall smoking be banned in all public buildings in the City of Chicago?" YES/NO?

The referendum can be citywide, ward-wide or precinct-wide.

It should be noted that results of the referendum are not legally binding. They are, indeed, "advisory."

Referendum Procedure

An advisory referendum may be initiated by petition or by an ordinance or resolution of the City Council.

If the referendum is initiated by petition, the petition sheets must include: an appropriate heading, space for signatures, text of the question to be submitted to voters, the area covered by the referendum (e.g., city, ward, precinct), and the election at which the question is to be submitted.


Petitions must be signed by 10% of the registered voters of the city, ward, or precinct covered. For a referendum in a combination of precincts, petitions must be signed by10% of the registered voters in each precinct. Signatures must include addresses.


Circulators of petitions must be registered voters of the governmental unit covered by the petitions--e.g., city, ward, precinct. For a referendum in a combination of precincts, circulators must be registered voters in one of the precincts.

A statement validating the signatures of the circulator and the petitioners must appear at the bottom of each sheet.

Circulators must appear before a notary public and have the signed affidavits notarized.

Petitions for an advisory referendum must be filed with the Board of Election Commissioners not less than 78 days before a regular election. A copy of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’

Guidelines for Advisory Referenda" is on file in the Conference office. It contains more detailed information on the process and procedures for putting an advisory referendum on an election ballot.

Nichols Park Referendum Brings Support in 1988

In 1988, a group of Hyde Parkers put an advisory referendum on the ballot for the upcoming election. It questioned the need for stores and houses on what was then an empty lot on 53rd Street. Residents had organized Friends of the Lot, supporting the extension of Nichols Park rather than the use of the property for development .Results of the referendum showed that 86% of the residents favored the park. Alderman Tim Evans then supported the residents. The rest is history.