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Old June 14th, 2006, 09:58 AM   #101
ardecila
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Yes! Prairie Stone, you are my savior!

Time to get the coolest job of my life... haha. Lifeguarding right now is kinda boring around here, so I don't do it, although I am certified.

Of course, it won't open for another two years...
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Old June 14th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #102
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/...rivein14x.html

10-2 Aurora vote sinks drive-in theater
June 14, 2006
BY ANDRE SALLES Beacon News


After an impassioned rally and emotional comments on both sides, the Aurora City Council voted Tuesday to roll the credits on the Hi-Lite 30 drive-in theaters.

The vote came down 10-2, bringing to an end a tumultuous debate over the fate of one of the state's oldest drive-in theaters.

By the time it was over, the decision rested at least partially on the financial fate of the East Aurora School District.

The Hi-Lite 30 currently sits on land owned by developer Bigelow Homes, property that was annexed into the city of Aurora last year. Per that agreement, Bigelow offered the Hi-Lite land to the city, provided it would continue to operate as a drive-in theater.

But city staffers estimated the cost of renovating the outdoor theater to bring it up to city code at roughly $830,000. Potential private deals to help fix and operate the Hi-Lite fell through. And with no new investors coming forward, many aldermen saw the issue as a question of using tax dollars for an entertainment venue and could not support it.

With the vote, Bigelow will receive the go-ahead to submit a plan to the city for its complete parcel, slated for a 240-home expansion of its existing HomeTown subdivision. Bigelow has also agreed to donate an 8.3-acre parcel, which the city has valued at $1.3 million, to the East Aurora School District.

-------

Hooray, get rid of one of your attractions for some more plain shit. Smart move.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 04:03 AM   #103
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Wolf Ridge Condos
Northlake
6 floors
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Old July 7th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #104
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http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...n-hotel07.html



Hotel, convention center in works for Aurora


July 7, 2006

BY DAVID GARBE Beacon News


A developer plans a 14-story hotel and a 100,000-square-foot convention center in Aurora.

Joseph Vantreese met with city staff Wednesday to unveil the plans for land alongside a riverfront condo project he is already developing.

A five-story parking garage will extend from the convention center, Vantreese said, and the entire structure will be covered with 150,000 square feet of landscaped grass and trees -- one of the largest "green roofs" in the country.

The convention center will be designed to host everything from trade shows to concerts and sporting events.

Most of the hotel building would be devoted to the facility's 300 all-suite rooms and full range of hotel services, Vantreese said, but the first two floors would be occupied by retailers, including a bookstore.

Vantreese said the hotel will be operated under the flag of a major brand, which will be secured before construction begins.

Both the hotel and convention center would be constructed on the two blocks between River and Lake streets south of Benton Street, which includes the current offices of the Beacon News.

Vantreese's development company, the Vanstrand Group, has purchased almost all the property on those two blocks and expects to own it all soon. The newspaper has not yet found a new home.

If the city approves the plans quickly enough, Vantreese said he intends to begin construction on both the hotel and conference center in February.

The plans are an extension of Vanstrand's River Street Plaza project, a $100 million condo and restaurant complex whose first phase is on schedule for completion in January.

That first phase consists of 96 condos and about a dozen restaurants east of River Street. About a quarter of the residential units have been sold, and Vantreese said he will announce several restaurant tenants as the buildings get closer to completion.

Sun-Times News Group
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Old July 7th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #105
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Sounds good, but it seems every highrise in the suburbs (excluding Evanston) is a hotel with a conference center or water park - Lombard Westin, Wheeling Westin, Renaissance Hotel Schaumburg, Le Meridien O'Hare, and also that hotel/condo in Hoffman Estates.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:23 AM   #106
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^ If it ain't near transit, then it ain't worth diddly.

BOOOOO!!
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Old July 8th, 2006, 03:22 AM   #107
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I guess, but if you're checking into a hotel in the suburbs you're probably driving in the first place. And typically you won't find a hotel in the old downtowns with Metra stations either.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 05:43 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy
I guess, but if you're checking into a hotel in the suburbs you're probably driving in the first place. And typically you won't find a hotel in the old downtowns with Metra stations either.
^ Well of course. That was my whole point. Developments as the one posted do nothing to change that--they simply reinforce car dependence and I see nothing of value in them. Tall buildings near highway ramps just don't excite me--they aren't the kinds of things that bring me back to this website.

And now that you mention it, why don't developers build hotels near suburban Metra stations? Seems to make sense--travelers to Chicago who want more bang for their buck can stay near a train station that whisks them downtown and back. Seems to make sense to me.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 08:15 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Urban Politician
And now that you mention it, why don't developers build hotels near suburban Metra stations? Seems to make sense--travelers to Chicago who want more bang for their buck can stay near a train station that whisks them downtown and back. Seems to make sense to me.
That would probably work around the newer downtowns and stations.

But around some older cities that would be pretty hard to do. Assuming that the downtown is fairly built up, a 10-15 story building would be considered out of scale with the typical 1-3 floor buildings and perhaps the newer 5-6 floor condo buildings. The hotel would need all sorts of zoning changes for height and even perhaps something like a sign for the hotel name.

If they build directly in the downtown area, they'll probably replace a historic building which would be a no-no. And if they build a little further away they would run into opposition from neighbors who are living in a single family home and don't want a hotel next door.

Probably the biggest factor that kills the idea is the amount of parking a hotel needs and how much congestion it might add to fairly small roads with many pedestrians.

I think that's why you find all the hotels next to highways or large commercial streets or office parks where no one cares.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 11:49 PM   #110
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Another "powerhouse" mall in the Chicago area?

- edit
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Old July 9th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #111
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I'm glad to see that our satellite cities are finally getting some love. Chicago's sprawl really just went around the towns of Aurora, Elgin, and Waukegan, and the people in those cities were left to rot. Seriously, Aurora's downtown is kinda sad, and Waukegan is even sadder. I understand that there's a difference between gentrification/wealth, and vitality, but these downtowns are EMPTY as soon as the work day ends. Regardless of the wealth level of the area, they are not lively, they are dead. They need some stuff to bring in evening and night traffic. Hotels provide that. I'm glad that there are talls being built in downtown areas, instead of freeway corridors, regardless of the use.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 06:12 PM   #112
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http://www.dailyherald.com/search/se....asp?id=207468

Fox Lake: Where’s the building?
Project isn’t moving fast enough, official says

By Lee Filas

Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fox Lake officials are still waiting for developers of the tallest building in town to get things moving.

The developer, Exceed Development of Antioch, is still working on demolition of the old Forest School at Grand Avenue and Forest Drive, Fox Lake building commissioner Bill Hart said.

The school has been a pile of rubble since early April.

Hart said the developer has not applied for the permits needed to start building, and the project, known as Savannah Grand, is not moving fast enough.

“I have no idea why this is taking so long. We are waiting on them at this point,” Hart said.

Exceed Development owner Charlie Miles did not return phone calls to his office Wednesday.

The building is expected to include two floors of retail on the ground with 10 floors of upscale condos above it.

Miles appeared before the village board in March and asked that all fees be waived, including village permits and park, fire and school impact fees. He said those fees could cost him between $365,000 and $560,000.

Miles said the $1 million in property taxes the 12-story condo building would generate annually would more than make up for the money the village would lose in fees.

The village rejected Miles’ request to waive the fees.

Miles threatened to knock down the school and leave the lot empty if the board did not give him what he wanted. He later rescinded the threat.

The building is expected to cost Exceed Development about $45 million to complete.

“I would love” the developers to start working with the village to get the building started, Mayor Cindy Irwin said.

“We don’t know what they are doing, but it would be nice if they’d come to us and let us know,” she said. “They haven’t done anything at the board level except ask us to be allowed to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Then, they disappeared.”

She said the board approved the 24/7 rule, as long as inside work like painting, carpeting and woodworking is the work being done after midnight and heavy machinery isn’t used.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 12:59 AM   #113
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From: http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...n-lenox13.html
______________________
Quote:
Mega-mall may rise in New Lenox

July 13, 2006

A developer has committed to build one of Illinois' largest shopping malls in the state's fastest-growing county, according to the New Lenox mayor.

Forest City Enterprises Inc. intends to develop as much as 2 million square feet of retail space on 225 acres in New Lenox just east of Joliet, New Lenox Mayor Michael Smith said.

But a Forest City Enterprises spokeswoman said Wednesday nothing is yet final.

''We look at many cities and many new opportunities, and when we conclude our positions, then we make an announcement,'' spokeswoman Nancy McCann said Wednesday. ''At this particular time we do not have anything to say.''

The mall would be the largest to be built in the Chicago area since at least the early 1990s and nearly as big as Woodfield Shopping Center in Schaumburg, which is Illinois' biggest mall by retail square footage and the sixth-largest in the nation.

Will County has seen its population surge by 30 percent since 2000, making it one of the nation's fastest-growing areas and an attractive target for retailers and developers.

The New Lenox mall would be at the intersection of Interstate 80 and the extended Interstate 355, which is scheduled to be completed in 2007. Construction of the mall could start in the fall of next year.

Smith said he didn't know of any retailers that had committed to the project.
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Old July 15th, 2006, 08:16 AM   #114
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Yeah - this whole "power town" thing is way less cool than it sounds. It's all about the stores they choose, not the development format of the site. I looked at a power town in Scottsdale - still 85% parking lots, with islands of retail. Basically, imagine someone pulled apart Old Orchard into 6 pieces and scattered them into a sea of parking.

The "revolution" of the power towns is that they mix places like Claire's, Jamba Juice, and Chili's with places like Home Depot, Staples, and Target. Usually, such huge stores are in their own developments, and the smaller/more high-end stuff (restaurants, bookstores, clothing) is also in its own development. These developments may be right across the street from one another, but they are usually not managed by the same companies.

Last edited by ardecila; July 15th, 2006 at 08:31 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #115
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Red-brick streets are resurfacing
Asphalt losing luster in some suburbs

By Joseph Sjostrom

Tribune staff reporter
Published July 17, 2006

The quest for a historical look on neighborhood streets has led a few communities to what's been right under their feet all along: the red clay bricks that originally paved countless streets in the Chicago area.

A few suburbs--such as Forest Park, Wilmette and Downers Grove--never put an asphalt overlay on some of their streets. Now, as the benefits of brick versus asphalt dawn on local leaders, efforts are being made to keep existing brick streets in good condition and in some cases to remove asphalt and restore the brick that remains underneath.

Continued here
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Old July 25th, 2006, 06:18 PM   #116
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Kind of sad

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...-newslocal-hed

$25 million price tag weighs on posh estate Property won't sell, may be subdivided

By Lisa Black

Tribune staff reporter
Published July 24, 2006

Jane and Didier Lepauw have sold many nice houses, but as time ticks down on a $25 million lakefront estate in Lake Bluff, they admit to mixed feelings.

The real estate agents became so enamored with the 1911 Georgian Revival mansion on 21 secluded acres that they started a society to raise awareness of the architect, Benjamin Marshall. Now, the Northbrook couple are writing a book on Marshall, whose designs catered to the wealthy, because they believe he has not been given his proper historic due.

The property on Moffett Road--complete with heavily wooded ravines, a polo field and a stunning view of Lake Michigan--soon could be subdivided into seven lots after sitting on the market for four and a half years with no buyer in sight.

The Lake Bluff Plan Commission will consider the proposal Aug. 17 before forwarding it to the Village Board for final approval.

"Where are all the wealthy? Where are the philanthropists?" said Jane Lepauw, who would like to see the property preserved. As the listing agent, she said she supports the owner's decision and stands to make more money under a subdivision plan.

Still, she finds it a shame.

"Why doesn't Chicago care?" said Lepauw, who lived in Paris, where she described residents as fanatical about saving old buildings.

The estate's owner, Ronald Friedman, owner of Global Accessories Inc., which sells automotive parts, said he would have preferred to sell the estate as a whole too. But he has declined to have the property declared a historic landmark, which could lessen the $170,000 annual tax bill but also would limit development.

The grounds include original work by landscape architect Jens Jensen, such as a winding, woodsy driveway that leads over two limestone bridges.

Under the subdivision plan, the brick-and-stone Marshall home would remain on a 3-acre lot. The size of six additional lots would vary but average about 2 acres each, Friedman said. The remaining property, most of which consists of ravines and bluffs, would contain areas for water drainage and preservation, he said.

He said he expects that the new owner would have no reason to demolish the Marshall house, which is in good shape.

"We haven't gotten our price yet, so this would be a practical alternative for us," said Friedman, who with his wife, Pat, bought the house in 1985.

"I decided to buy that house when I drove into the property," said Friedman, who had been looking for something "grand" that reminded him of Sunday drives as a child.

"Seven kids filed into a car with dad and mom, and we would drive up Sheridan Road on Sundays," said Friedman, who grew up in East Rogers Park. "We would see all of these magnificent estates. I guess it gave me a dream of what I wanted."

The estate was already under contract in 1984, but after the deal fell through Friedman cut short a business trip to California to buy the house.

The place inspires passion, but apparently not enough for anyone to pony up $25 million--the highest asking price for any property being marketed in the Chicago area, real estate agents say.

Another historic Lake Forest home was put on the market for $26 million before it finally sold for $11 million, said David Bahlman, president of Chicago-based Landmarks Illinois, a non-profit historic preservation organization.

Since 2002 at least half a dozen developers have bid on the Lake Bluff estate, and one potential deal fell through, Lepauw said.

The architectural firm Marshall and Fox designed the estate, called Lansdowne, for Rand McNally of map fame. Marshall also drew plans for Chicago landmarks that include the Drake Hotel, the former Edgewater Beach Hotel and apartments along East Lake Shore Drive.

He was on the forefront in designing for the city's "entrepreneurial elite," said Susan Benjamin, a historian and author of the book "North Shore Chicago: Houses of the Lakefront Suburbs, 1890-1940."

"He is the father of the elegant residential apartment in Chicago," Benjamin said.

Marshall designed more than 60 mansions and country houses in the Chicago area before he died in 1944, Benjamin said. They include the Cuneo estate in Vernon Hills, now a museum, and the Peabody mansion in Oak Brook, open to the public after being restored by the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.

Marshall also designed Chicago's ill-fated Iroquois Theater, the scene of a 1903 fire that left at least 600 dead.

"His granddaughter said he was absolutely haunted by all these deaths," said Lepauw.

She wonders if that's why Lansdowne first opened with only two fireplaces; it now has three fireplaces and two fire hydrants. The estate also has a coach house with two apartments, clay tennis courts, an in-ground pool and formal gardens.

Preservationists say that if the land must be divided, they hope to see the Marshall buildings and Jensen landscape features left intact.

"The reality of the situation is that anybody buying Lansdowne may not be able to afford or wish to pay the property taxes on the total acreage there," Bahlman said. "We basically have been holding our breaths hoping the property would sell intact."

-----------------------------
Pictures from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage







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Old July 26th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #117
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Wow, that house looks amazing. I strongly discourage any subdivision of the property, due to the involvement of Jens Jensen in the estate's landscaping. But, they can't expect to sell it as the most expensive house in Chicagoland. This presents a predicament, because the owners COULD make $25 mil if they agreed to subdivide. So naturally, they will go with the option that nets them the most cash. And so another great piece of Chicago architecture gets castrated...

Hopefully, the owner will eventually realize that the special features of the estate as a whole were the major factor in his decision to buy it, and then agree to take a loss on the sale so it can be sold as a whole.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 07:54 PM   #118
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Since there's already a thread...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...i-business-hed

By Sandra Jones
Published August 1, 2006

Old Orchard face-lift: Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie is scheduled to break ground Thursday on a $20 million project to update the 50-year-old outdoor mall.

Australian owner Westfield Group plans to tear down the former Saks Fifth Avenue building and construct a 63,000-square-foot, Main Street-style mall with a dozen specialty stores and three restaurants surrounding a central, landscaped courtyard, said Scott Nierman, vice president of development at Westfield.

The project is a scaled-down version of a plan considered last year that would have added as many as 53 new stores, a new parking garage and stores backing up to Skokie Boulevard. The renovation is scheduled to be complete by fall 2007.

Steve & Barry's University Sportswear moved out of the former Saks building in July. The Port Washington, N.Y.-based discount store had signed a temporary lease after Saks shut its store last summer as part of the luxury department store's company-wide reorganization.

Westfield considered, but then rejected, the idea of finding a replacement tenant for the building, said Nierman.

A growing number of shopping malls are replacing shuttered department stores, originally a mall's biggest draw, with lifestyle centers that allow time-starved shoppers to target a specific store and get in and out of the mall quickly.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 08:01 PM   #119
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http://www.dailyherald.com/search/se....asp?id=213036

Villa Park sports big plans for Metra station

By Michael Wamble

Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All aboard.

Plans to make major changes around Villa Park’s Metra station are heading down the line.

Villa Park and the Regional Transit Authority would like to transform the area around the station along the Metra Union Pacific West Line from a drab depot to a transportation hub at the center of stores, at least one restaurant and condos.

“Whereas all the other towns have built up areas from stores and have condos, we don’t. We have a (convenience store) and a gas station,” said Trustee Ray “Doc” Hensley, part of a committee studying ways to enhance what early proposals have described as “transit-oriented development.”

To give their voices to this conversation, residents and commuters can offer input at a special meeting 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Community Recreation Building, 320 E. Wildwood.

“The plan will be a living document that will change as we get more input,” said Public Works Director Vydas Juskelis.

Roughly $63,000, or 80 percent of the total $78,000 price tag to create a concept proposal plan, came from the RTA. The village has picked up the other 20 percent.

New development would bring in additional tax revenue for the village, Hensley said.

Joseph Voccia, manager of market development for RTA, said the agency could also benefit from new development.

Voccia said the RTA has supported improvement plans around 42 other stations.

“Where we have stations that are more attractive,” Voccia said, there’s been an increase in riders.

The upcoming meeting will mark the second public discussion about plans to make improvements around the station.

Based on public feedback at an April meeting and both the village’s and RTA’s early outlook, the neighborhood likely would include:

•a three- or four-story mixed-use building with condominiums and retail stores;

•at least one restaurant;

•a walking and bike path that could connect to North Avenue.


Daily commuters Rose Frieri and Randy Bachmann, both of Villa Park, say they’d welcome something new.

“I love Villa Park,” Frieri said. “It’s time.”

But Frieri said it would make more sense to direct people southward to St. Charles Road instead of to North Avenue where, she said, “it’s dead.”

No matter which way it leads, Bachmann said: “It’s always been kind of a blah area here. It would be nice to see that change.”
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Old August 1st, 2006, 08:12 PM   #120
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^ I am always in support of this stuff, but I hate how Metra has such a bias against the city.

There are plenty of Metra stations on the south side of Chicago--why not work to promote more TOD there?
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