Vision for the Hyde Park Retail District
For a different
look at detailed renovation standards, see the City of Chicago Design Standards
for the Small Business Improvement
Fund grant program administered in TIF districts by SomerCor 504 Inc.
Development home. Business home. Disabilities compliance. Disabilities Business Packet.
coming? In winter 2007 the University of Chicago commissioned a survey of retail
needs inthe community.
was issued by the Department of Planning, City of Chicago. Prepared by Applied
Real Estate Analysis, Barton-Aschman Associates, Real Estate Research Group,
and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Community sponsors: Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th), Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, and South East Chicago Commission. Also participating: Harper Court Foundation, Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference.
Hyde Park's current retail mix
From South East Chicago Commission, The SECC News Spring 2006. Not in the featured study.
A limited number of black-and-white copies are available from the Conference (773 288-8343) and the South East Chicago Commission (773 324-6926).
Maps are not included for the present (view a main one of business districts in Area Maps.) Only one (introductory) section was omitted. Emphasis is added with underline. Anything added or corrected is in brackets . GMO, May 2006]
This is a vision for the development of the Hyde Park Retail District into a vibrant, energized mixed-use center serving Hyde Park residents, students, visitors and neighboring communities. The district already has many assets and provides many services, and the business community, residents and local institutions want to see the district grow stronger. In response, the City of Chicago Department of Planning, local Aldermen, the South East Chicago Commission, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Chicago recruited and directed a team of market analysts, planners and urban designers to crate an action strategy for the Hyde Park Retail District with the following goals.
The consultant team worked with a Steering Committee made up of representatives from the City of Chicago and Hyde Park, and local businesses, institutions and the community. Walking tours and planning sessions brought out a rich local perspective and understanding of the issues Hyde Park faces. As recommendations emerged, presentations were also made at business community breakfasts and community meetings where more input was given and insight gained.
This plan provides a vision for a renovated retail district and offers clear directions for how the community can make that transition. Top
VISION FOR THE HYDE PARK RETAIL DISTRICT
The Hyde Park Retail District will build on its existing assets to become a vibrant, energized mixed use district serving Hyde Park residents, students, visitors and neighboring communities. Further development at Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street will bring new retailers, offices, housing, and institutional and civic uses, and an ample supply of parking to the district. This new focus for development will create a highly visible and attractive commercial center, providing a clear and strong identity for the Hyde Park Retail District. The improved quality of the shopping environment will encourage shoppers to walk between stores, shopping street, and shopping centers within the district. The district will have improved vehicular connections to local highways, and major institutions such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Chicago. Properties will continue to be renovated through the efforts of retailers and local organizations.
53rd street is Hyde Park's main street, home to a retail and business community that serves residents and visitors alike. The street will continue to draw as new people patronize the diverse mix of stores and restaurants, the Hyde Park Bank, the Hyde Park Theater, and professional service providers. Harper Court will continue to add to the vitality of 53rd Street with its mix of specialty stores, popular restaurants and public gathering spaces. New streetscaping will improve the sidewalks and landscaping, and bring pedestrian scales lights to the street, reinforcing 53rd Street's role as Hyde Park's main street.
Lake Park Avenue will continue to serve as the main link between Hyde Park's retail streets, and as a transfer point for transit. Upgraded viaducts and a landscaped railroad embankment will brighten the street. Surface parking lots and gas stations will be upgraded and high quality fencing, landscaping and signage installed. New mixed use development at the City of Chicago parking lot and at the Hyde Park Bank site will strengthen Lake Park Avenue with retail and the other active uses, and make the street more attractive for pedestrians.
55th Street is an international restaurant row that also offers convenience retail to Hyde Park residents. An improved, well lit viaduct and crosswalk on Hyde Park will link this restaurant row to the Hyde Park Shopping Center, and the rest of the district. An upgraded streetscape and facade renovations will strengthen this street. the restaurants will draw shoppers from elsewhere in the district, visitors from the museums and University of Chicago and visitors from other Chicago neighborhoods. Local convenience stores will remain strong, meeting the daily needs of local residents.
57th Street. This is the University's village. 57th street will retain its high quality bookstores, its popular eateries and the convenience grocery, banking and office services used by students, faculty and local residents. The character and scale of retail on 57th Street will be maintained. Minor improvements to the streetscape and street furniture will bring the quality of the public way up to that of the retailers on 57th Street.
the present: pages 3 and 4, general description of the neighborhood, and development
projects in the 1990s.] Top
[From] THE RETAIL MARKET
Market Data Findings
Market demand is clearly adequate to support new and expanded retail activities in Hyde Park. These activities could better serve the immediately surrounding market area and create a more vibrant shopping environment. A detailed analysis of market data and surveys of Hyde Park shoppers found that Hyde Park has the potential to be a much stronger retail location. Given the affluence of many of its residents, Hyde Park can offer a prime location to retailers in a central-city location.
Hyde Park has Positive Population and Household Trends for Retailing.
Overall population density has remained high for the primary and secondary market areas served by Hyde Park's commercial establishments. Like most neighborhoods in Chicago, these market areas lost population and households in past decades, but more recently the rate of population and household loss has dropped significantly. However, much of the population loss was due to decreasing household size, and today, findings suggest that the number of households will likely increase. This projected increase in the number of households results in part because of the rehabilitation of existing housing and new construction in the trade area.
Hyde Park has Substantial Household Income and Purchasing Power.
In 1998, the aggregate income for the primary market area served by Hyde Park was about $1.02 billion, and the aggregate income for the secondary market area was approximately $1.3 billion. Within Hyde Park the average household income was over $63,000. Because of the trade area's high population density, total resident expenditures on retail goods and services are substantial.
Retail Expenditures are Lost to Competitive Retail Locations.
Only a small percentage of the trade area's high retail expenditure is actually captured by Hyde Park establishments. Like many inner-city neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities, Hyde Park Loses sales to shopping locations that offer a greater variety of shopping selections and choices. In 1998, retail sales in Hyde Park establishments accounted for only about $106.3 million of the $708.1 million total retail sales potential for the primary and secondary trade area.
A More Competitive Hyde Park Could Support More Retailers.
Residents of the trade area can support additional retail space in Hyde Park. In several retail categories, the needs of residents are not being met by local establishments.
Demand for New Office Space is Limited.
Although there is a strong demand for the limited amount of office space that now exists in the Hyde Park area, most of the office tenants are small space users who are very price-sensitive and would probably be unable to pay sufficient rents to justify new, speculative office space, if it were made available.
WHAT RESIDENTS AND SHOPPERS SAY
Residents and Shoppers Want More Shopping Alternatives
Hyde Park has the potential to support small niche markets for local customers, and to capture a larger percentage of the sales that are now being lost to competitive locations. One particular opportunity exists in women's apparel: currently, Hyde Park shops are not meeting local needs and tastes, so women are going elsewhere to make their apparel purchases. Despite its potential for niche markets, however, Hyde Park is too small to compete with the Loop, Greater North Michigan Avenue, or regional malls.
Adequate parking is Key.
Hyde Parkers are part of the automobile society. The survey found that the automobile is still their primary mode of travel for shopping, and convenient accessibility and parking are very important factors in their decisions on where to shop. Any new development will have to incorporate and access and parking strategy.
Appearance and Safety Count.
An improved appearance and more positive perceptions of safety will increase sales along Hyde Park's retail streets. Top
Define a Core Retail Area.
Despite the concentration of retail uses along 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue, the area lacks definition and focus. Efforts are required to define th core area more clearly and to realize this area's potential as Hyde Park's "main street" - a place to shop, browse, stroll, eat and mingle with other neighborhood residents.
Focus on Local Residents.
Revitalization efforts Hyde Park commercial area should focus primarily on the needs of local residents, who want and can support a greater variety of retail facilities. Without changing the main customer base for Hyde Park's commercial areas, significant improvements can be made, especially in the core retail area, to make these areas more active and attractive shopping locations.
Expand and Improve Existing Businesses.
The primary means of upgrading the area should involve expanding and improving existing businesses so they will better serve area residents. During interviews with area business owners and operators, many expressed frustration at not being able to expand their stores to meet perceived market needs. They indicated interest in working with property owners to create more functional, often larger spaces. Local business and community organizations should also work with Hyde Park retailers to ensure that they are aware of the mixture and quality of goods and services that customers are seeking.
Attract Larger Stores.
To increase its variety of retail goods, Hyde Park [?] attempt to attract one or two major national retail stores into potential new mixed-use developments within the retail core. Most major apparel stores that could be attracted to this location would range in size from 4,500 to 10,000 square feet.
Enliven retail areas.
To enliven Hyde Park's core retail area as well as the other commercial concentrations, the City and business community should encourage restaurant operators to establish attractive outdoor eating areas. Top
ACHIEVING THE VISION
1. CREATE A VIBRANT MIXED USE CENTER DO THE HYDE PARK RETAIL DISTRICT
The Hyde Park Retail District will gain from the development of a central place that offers a critical mass of retail and street activity, and serves as a gateway to the entire district. To achieve this goal, the following steps are recommended.
Locating the Center
Target the Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street intersection for major renovations and new development to create a gateway to the Hyde Park Retail District. Build on the energy created at this major intersection by retail and commercial development on 53rd street and Harper Court, Metra and CTA bus connections. A collection of distinguished buildings, a central location within the wider retail district, and opportunities for new development offered by surface parking lots.
Bringing New Mixed Use Development
Bring new retail and commercial development to existing surface parking lots on Lake Park Avenue between 52nd Street and 54th Street. This will increase retail density, create signature buildings for the district and improve the pedestrian quality of these streets.
Hyde Park Bank Parking lot (between 53rd an 54th Street):
The bank is encouraged to develop this site with retail and offices. This can extend the strong retail character of 53rd Street to Lake Park Avenue. Development options could also include bank operations A parking deck behind new retail can address the need for more parking in the retail district.
City Parking Lot (between 52nd and 53rd Streets):
The City of Chicago is encouraged to pursue retail, office and residential development options for this site in conjunction with the renovation of Harper court. Development of retail or commercial space on this lot will require replacement parking. A parking garage behind new uses along the streets can meet this need, and also meet the demands of new development on Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street.
Renovating Harper Court:
Harper Court is a highly valued community asset. A stronger visual connection between 53rd Street and Harper Court needs to be established. The plaza at Harper Court should be renovated and extended south to create a wonderful outdoor public space.
Renovating Vintage Buildings
Renovation and better maintenance of the Hyde Park Theater and the vintage buildings at t he 53rd Street an Harper avenue intersection will reinforce the gateway to Harper Court.
Upgrading the Streetscape
The quality of the streetscape around the 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue intersection needs to be improved. Improvements to the sidewalks, street lights, trees and landscaping, street furniture and signage can bring a new sparkle to the area, attracting shoppers and investors alike.
Energizing the "Gateway Plaza"
The Hyde Park Bank plaza at the southwest of Lake Park and 53rd Street should be renovated with landscaping, lighting, seating, newspapers and directional kiosks, and also extended west to the Hyde Park Bank building. Pedestrian entrances to the proposed new retail building and the garage along the south edge, and the relocated bank services along the west edge will strengthen pedestrian activity in the plaza.
Upgrading Metra Facilities
The Metra stations, viaducts and embankments have a major impact on the Hyde Park Retail District. Stations and viaducts are in dilapidated condition. Signs on the viaducts are of poor quality and reflect negatively on the neighborhood. The embankment is dirty and poorly maintained, and the fencing is of low quality. Metra needs to address these issues immediately to make the gateway to the Hyde Park Retail District a success. A working group of local organizations, institutions and officials should be convened to tackle these specific issues.
SPECIFICS (keyed to maps) PHASE I CREATING A "MIXED USE CENTER" FOR THE HYDE PARK RETAIL DISTRICT
Harper Court and Plaza
- Expand Harper Court plaza by removing parking lanes from the Harper Avenue cul-de-sac, and create a stronger outdoor space
- Add new lighting, paving, landscaping and seating to the plaza to attract more pedestrians and accommodate outdoor cafes and local events like summer markets and concerts.
- Promote active ground floor rental around the plaza.
Hyde Park Theater
- Renovate theater facilities with street level retail and restaurants along 53rd Street and Harper Avenue.
- Improve the streetscape along 53rd Street, with special treatment at the Lake Park Avenue intersection to mark the "gateway" to Hyde Park Retail District.
- Improve streetscape improvements along Harper Avenue to make an attractive pedestrian connection from 53rd Street to Harper Court, and south to 55th Street.
- Locate vehicular entrance and exit on 54th Street.
- Encourage the garage to be used for long term parking.
Bank Drive-through Facility
- Locate vehicular entrance and exit, and drive through lanes along 54th Street.
- Maintain the street facade along Lake Park Avenue to the 54th Street intersection.
Relocate Entrance to City Parking Lot
- Locate a new vehicular entrance and exit closer to the northern end of the parking lot to ease traffic congestion at the 53rd and Lake Park Avenue intersection.
- Relocate signs on Lake Park Avenue and 53rd Street to clearly direct t the parking lot entrance.
- Improve the landscaping and lighting of the parking lot.
New Retail at Corner of 54d Street & Lake Park
- Bring new signature retail to anchor the "gateway" to the Retail District.
Metra Viaduct and Embankment Improvements
- Improve the appearance of the viaduct by cleaning, repairing and repainting all surfaces, and replacing all signs painted tot he face of the viaduct with new well designed signage.
- Improve the embankment with well designed fencing and landscaping.
- Improve station entrances and bring retail along the pedestrian paths inside the viaduct, and also improve lighting.
New Gateway Plaza
- Reorient the design of the plaza to accommodate the entrance to new retail and parking entrances along the south edge. Extend the plaza up to the Hyde Park Bank to address new bank services along the east facade of the bank building.
Mixed-use Development along Lake Park Avenue
- Encourage signature retail at street level, with major entrance from the plaza, and secondary entrances along Lake Park Avenue.
- Encourage office, institutional an residential uses above street level retail.
PHASE II- CREATING A "CENTER" FOR THE HYDE PARK RETAIL DISTRICT
Redevelop the City Parking Lot and Harper Court
- Introduce mixed-use development along Lake Park Avenue with retail along the street level, and residential, commercial and/or institutional uses above.
- Encourage a three to four floor parking garage, with vehicular access on Lake Park Avenue, and landscaped setbacks along Lake Park Avenue.
- Improve paving, lighting and landscaping to make a strong pedestrian connection that links the theater, 53rd Street, the parking garage, and the retail along Lake Park Avenue.
- Replace private surface parking adjacent to east edge of Harper court with landscaped area.
Redevelop the Gas Station Site
- Mixed-use development along the street on Lake Park Avenue and 52nd Street, with retail along the street level, and residential, commercial, and/or institutional uses above.
[Noted on this map are "Key buildings in need of renovation:
- Hyde Park Theater
- The building to the west of Hyde Park Bank at Harper and 53rd
- The building on the southwest corner of Harper and 53rd.] Top
2. IMPROVE THE STREETSCAPE ON ALL RETAIL STREETS
[Specifics and specifications are given in graphics and illustrative photos.]
Streetscape improvements to Hyde Park's retail streets will strengthen existing businesses and help attract customers and new retailers to the area. The retail streets in Hyde Park lack consistent streetscape designs today. A variety of light poles can be seen in one block. Sid walks are sometimes cluttered with randomly placed newspaper racks, kiosks, trash cans and bike racks. The condition of sidewalks needs replacement in many places. There are also opportunities to add more greenery to the streets with trees and planting beds. The following are general recommendations for improving the streetscape of all retail streets.
A New Lighting Palette
A consistent palette of street lights should be used on all retail streets in Hyde Park. All existing street lights should be improved by replacing the arm and fixture with a new "S" shaped arm and a teardrop light fixture. At special corner locations, like the 53dd Street and Lake Park intersection, the combination of these lights can crate an attractive "gateway" effect. Along with the improved street light, new pedestrian scaled lights should b installed along all retail streets. Any street lights installed by private businesses should be replaced with the new City owned pedestrian lights.
This new palette of lights will help to create a distinct identity for the retail streets in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
In general, sidewalks are are generously scaled and in fairly good condition on most of the retail streets. Some specific areas need attention, for example where the condition of the sidewalk is in disrepair, or pavers installed on the sidewalk have settled unevenly. Sidewalk paving should be replaced where necessary. Special elements set in the sidewalk can distinguish retail streets.
Landscaping the street with trees and planters on the sidewalk is encouraged on all retail streets. Some streets like 53rd street (both sides) , 55th Street (along Hyde Park Shopping Center) and 57th Street (north side, east of tracks [?]), already have a generous supply of trees. Instead of adding new ones, resources should be focused on better maintenance of the existing trees and trees grates. New trees should be installed on all other blocks that do not have enough trees to meet the requirements of the Chicago Landscape Ordinance. Trees that have light foliage and can provide shade without obscuring the street wall are recommended.
Where existing trees are in a wide patch of grass area in the sidewalk, season plants could be introduced. Hanging flower baskets with seasonal foliage are also recommended to be installed on the new pedestrian lights. A rigorous maintenance program for weeding, watering, and changing plants through the seasons should be established.
Bicycle racks, bus stops, directional maps and signage should be added throughout the retail district. Top
3 ACCESS TO THE HYDE PARK RETAIL DISTRICT
Getting to the Hyde Park Retail District is not easy for residents or visitors. Dead end and one way streets make roadway connections to the retail district difficult and circuitous. There are no signs that can direct cars and pedestrians to the various retail streets. Pedestrians are discouraged from walking across the Metra viaducts because of the dark and deteriorated conditions of the walkways.
There is a strong residential community within walking distance of all the retail streets. Improved lighting along key pedestrian routes will encourage residents to walk to stores. New directional signage at key intersections will make wayfinding easier for residents and visitors. As shoppers are drawn to each of the retail streets, they will find easy and pleasant routes to other retail streets and shopping centers. Visitors to the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry and other Hyde Park cultural institutions will also find the retail district easily accessible.
Streetscaping and New Directional Signage
Improvements to the streetscape on all the retail streets will enhance the pedestrian environment and encourage more people to walk to the retail district, as well as between the different retail streets. Major pedestrian routes also need to be improved to make these attractive and convenient connections to the retail district. South Harper Avenue, Ellis Avenue, Woodlawn Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard should be identified as major connectors to the retail streets. These streets should be improved with better lighting, and directional signage at key intersections.
Street widths, traffic speeds, and apartment buildings built between the east and west traffic lanes make 55th Street a barrier within the neighborhood. More prominent pedestrian crosswalks are encouraged, particularly at 55th Street and Woodlawn Avenue.
The Metra viaducts are dark, ill-maintained and foreboding. Improving lighting, fixing curbs and sidewalks, installing high quality signs, bringing retail along the walkways, and establishing a long term cleaning and maintenance schedule is necessary to encourage pedestrians to walk through the viaducts. These improvements should be coordinated with the Metra Station and entrance improvements.
Creating Clear Entries from Lake Shore Drive
Clear entries to Hyde park fro Lake Shore Drive can be created with signs and turning lane improvements at
- 47th Street from north bound and south bound Lake Shore Drive
- 53rd Street south bound Lake Shore Drive
- 57th Street north bound and south bound Lake Shore Drive
Highway signs have been used successfully to denote Little Italy and Chinatown. Similar signs can show the way to the Hyde Park Retail District. Signs and turning lane improvements can give drivers a longer lead time approaching the turn off into Hyde Park. These improvements should be coordinated with the scheduled Lake Shore Drive reconstruction.
New Directional Signage
Routes from the University of Chicago to 55th and 53rd Streets are not immediately clear to drivers or pedestrians. Signs should be installed on Ellis Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue that direct students, employees and visitors to the retail streets. These streets offer the most direct routes in a neighborhood that has a large number of one way streets and developments imposed over the traditional street grid.
Building Stronger Links from the South
The viaduct at 57th Street has a one way roadway, and access to 57th Street from Cornell is gained via a loop ... The following options for improving access at this point should be explored further with the Hyde Park community.
- Make both the viaduct and Lake Park Avenue two way.
- Make the viaduct two way, but keep Lake Park on way south to limit traffic on this residential street.
- Make the viaduct one way west bound, and keep Lake Park Avenue two way.
Improvements to the Viaducts
Advertisement signs should be removed from the street facade of the viaduct, and community signs promoting the civic, institutional and cultural aspects of Hyde Park are encouraged.
Signs should be centered at horizontal face of the viaduct, and should not extend above, below or beyond it. Sign panels should not obscure any architectural details of the viaduct structure. Individual letters fixed to the viaduct instead of opaque and backlit sign panels are strongly encouraged.
Repair, clean and paint all surfaces, and improve roadway and pedestrian lighting and maintenance.
Bring back retail along the pedestrian walkways in the viaducts. Where retail is not feasible, animate the back walls with well lit panels that can display colorful posters of civic or institutional events. Investigate a "lit ceiling" to create a bright and pedestrian scaled walkway; add well lit panels for signs and posters.
New Directional Signage [illustrations]
- "Gateway" to Downtown Hyde Park at 53rd and Lake Park Avenue intersection
- Harper Court
- Nichols Park
- Major bus stops
- Major cultural and academic institutions
- Ellis, Woodlawn and Hyde Park Boulevard
- All major regional access routes from Lake Shore Drive: 47th, 512st, 53rd and 57th streets
Directional maps should locate all the retail streets in Hyde Park, and a complete list of retailers and should be updated regularly.
"Culture Walk" signs can also be added which would describe the architectural history of the neighborhood. Top
4. DEVELOP A LONG TERM STRATEGY FOR PARKING
The demand for parking in Hyde Park exceeds the current supply. During peak times, most of the off-street lots within the Hyde Park retail district area exceed 90 percent occupancy, and most of the on-street spaces are fully occupied. To meet current parking availability standards, the number of spaces in the retail district needs to be increased by approximately 10%, or about 100 to 2o0 parking spaces. There are some options for increasing the current parking supply by adding on-street parking at various locations, but the net gain from these is minimal, and inadequate for overcoming the current parking shortfall.
Also, as the retail district grows into a vibrant mixed use district bringing more retailers, offices, residences, and institutional and civic uses to the area, the demand for parking will increase substantially. Since the on-street parking will increase substantially. Since the on-street parking supply cannot even meet the current parking needs, parking garages have to be built to cope with future demands. By enforcing design guidelines that control the location and appearance of the garages, these garages can become welcome additions to the retail streets.
Short Term Solutions
Maximizing Peripheral On-street Parking
Additional parking opportunities outside the Hyde Park Retail District can be used for employee parking. This will ease the pressure on the parking supply within the retail district, and make more spaces available for shoppers and visitors.
Enforcing Parking Restrictions
In addition to creating new spaces in the existing rights-of-way, enforcement of existing short-term parking restrictions should be improved. This will maximize the use of curb spaces for customer and visitor parking.
Long Term Solutions
Bringing New Parking Garages to the Retail District
The long-term solution to the parking deficit is the construction of one or more parking deficit is the construction of one or more multilevel parking garages, as described earlier on page 8, two sites are recommended.
- Hyde Park Bank Lot between 53rd and 54th Street on Lake Park Avenue, providing about 200 spaces per level.
- City Lot North of 53rd Street on Lake Park Avenue, providing about 125 spaces per level.
Enforcing Design Guidelines for Parking Facilities
Enforcing the design guidelines on the following pages can ensure that all new and existing parking facilities are visually attractive, and can add to the vibrant pedestrian character of the retail streets.
Design Guidelines for Parking Garages
Building new parking garages is essential to meet the parking needs of Hyde Park's growing Retail District. While these structures can greatly increase the available parking supply, they are often unwelcome additions to the street. Poorly designed concrete facades with long sloping ramps, blank walls as the street level, massive bulks that do not relate to a pedestrian scale, and huge curb cuts that disrupt the pedestrian flow are a few of the typical negative impacts of parking garages.
However, with strict enforcement of design guidelines, these issues can be avoided, and parking structures can become assets to the street.
Facades of Parking Garages
Design Guidelines for Surface Parking Lots
While surface parking lots provide convenient vehicular access to shopping, they often have a negative impact on the streetscape. Lots that are adjacent to sidewalks break retail continuity at the street level. wide curb cuts disrupt the flow of pedestrian traffic. A lack of landscaping and expanses of asphalt create a harsh appearance. Oversized and poorly designed parking signs create visual clutter on the street.
The negative impact of surface lots can be greatly reduced by controlling the location and orientation of the lots, and improving landscaping and maintenance.
5. ESTABLISH DESIGN GUIDELINES FOR BUILDINGS AND SIGNS
Hyde Park's retail streets have a great pedestrian scale, with vintage buildings that are mostly three or four floors high lining both sides of the street. Building facades are often animated with a variety of architectural elements, such as interesting masonry patterns, ornamental cornices, columns, and pilaster, generous windows at the street level and above, and colorful signs and awnings. Some taller buildings such as the Hyde Park Building on 53rd Street and and the Deco Arts building on 55th Street, have significant historic facades that add to the unique charm and character of the streets.
The goal of the following guidelines for buildings and signs is to encourage creative and high quality designs that can reinforce the existing pedestrian scale and architectural character of the retail streets. An attractive street environment will bring more shoppers to the stores and restaurants of the Hyde Park Retail District, increasing sales in existing businesses, and attracting new retailers to the district.
New Buildings and the Street Wall
Design Guidelines for Signs
- Flashing, animated or moving signs are prohibited except on theatre buildings. All obsolete, derelict and abandoned signs should be removed by the building owner.
- Temporary paper and vinyl signs fixed or taped to the building facade or the window glass add clutter, make the street look unattractive, and reflect poorly on the quality of the business. All such temporary paper and vinyl signs are strongly discouraged on all streets.
- Temporary signs should be set back at least 12 inches from the exterior window. These signs can still attract the attention of pedestrians and motorists on the street without creating visual clutter. Temporary signs can be placed on easels, or in panels suspended from the ceiling, or displayed by other means that allow the sign to be set back from the window, and not placed directly on the glass or building facade.
Blade Signs and Banners
- Blade signs and banners are encouraged on all retail streets. Blade signs should be rigid and project into the street at right angles from the building facade. Banners should be made of cloth, and replaced when dirty or damaged. No blade sign or banner should be supported by or attached to any pole, structure, or other device in the public way.
- Blade signs and banners should not project more than 48 inches into the public way.
Signs on Awnings
- Awnings should not be uses as sign panels. Signs on awnings should not cover more than 25% of the awning surface.
- Signs on awnings should be flush with the face of the awning and should be limited to the name, logo and/or address of the establishment. Such signs shall not extend vertically or horizontally beyond the limits of the awning.
- Storefront windows allow pedestrians a view of the window displays as well as the interior of a store, and should be as transparent as possible. Opaque sign panels, paper signs, vinyl signs or any other kind of signage placed directly on the windows that obscure these pedestrian views are strongly discouraged.
- To ensure transparency at the street level, the sign area of any permanent window sign shall not exceed 20% of the glass area of the window.
- All permanent window signs should be painted, metal leafed, vinyl transferred, or in some manner permanently applied to either side of the glass of a window or a door. No application using a temporary adhesive shall be permitted to fix signs on window.
- Signs consisting of individual letters mounted to the building facade are encouraged. Individual letters should not be more than 36" tall. Large, opaque sign panels behind individual letters are discouraged. Gold leaf signs painted on windows are strongly encouraged.
- Conduits, raceways, transformers, and other electrical sign equipment should concealed. If raceways must be exposed, they should be integrated into the overall design of the sign.
- In masonry or terra cotta buildings, signs should be attached to mortar joints to minimize damage to the building facade.
- Parking structures or lots should not have more than two parking signs along each street frontage.
- No parking signs are allowed above the second floor of a parking structure. Top
NEXT STEPS: PRIORITY ACTIONS
The first steps in implementing the Vision for the Hyde Park Retail District can be made by the organizations and resources that are already available. Active local organizations such as the South East Chicago Commission, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the Harper Court Foundation can organize community resources to pursue these steps. The University of Chicago also has organizational resources and strong local and city wide relationships that can be mobilized. The City of Chicago can also direct its organizational, financial and redevelopment resources to achieve the vision for the Hyde Park Retail District.
The steps identified here will have a major impact on improving the appearance of the Hyde Park Retail District and the creation of the new gateway at 53rd Street and Lake Park Avenue, and the entire Hyde Park Retail District. The success of these steps will create an economic momentum that can benefit the entire retail district, including 53rd Street west of the new mixed use center, 51st Street, 55th Street, 57th Street, and Lake Park Avenue.
Following are the priority actions for the Hyde Park Retail District:
[Community and City participants]
The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle, Alderman 4th Ward
The Honorable Leslie Hairston, Alderman 5th Ward
Rebecca Janowitz, Administrative Assistant to 4th Ward Alderwoman
Ray Lodato, Administrative Assistant to 5th Ward Alderman
Henry S. Webber, Vice President, Community Affairs, The University of Chicago
Sonya R. Malunda, Director, Community Affairs, The University of Chicago
Ilene Jo Reizner, President, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce
Jason Bruce, Former President, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce
Lauren Alspaugh, Executive Director, Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce
Tim Goodsell, Chair, Business District Advisory Committee, South East Chicago Commission
Robert Mason, Executive Director, South East Chicago Commission
Irene Sherr, Business District Coordinator, South East Chicago Commission
Earl Watson, Executive Director, Harper Court Foundation
Mark A. Johnson, Former Executive Director, Harper Court Foundation
Jane Pugh, President, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference
Jane Comiskey, Board Member, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference
Augie Chidichimo, Senior Project Manager, bureau of Highways, Chicago Department of Transportation
Caroline Nash, Special Projects Coordinator, Chicago Department of Planning and Development