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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:08 PM   #41
Abner
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Podmajersky is tearing down two buildings on Halsted just south of 19th (one of them a nice old four-story one). Does anybody know whether anything is going up in their place?
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Old October 1st, 2007, 11:35 PM   #42
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 01:35 AM   #43
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Sorry, I don't have the exact address but I think it's 1912-1920 or something like that. Definitely on the west side of the street. I would be surprised if the code violations would have been so bad they'd have to knock the whole thing down (I mean, that much worse than any number of other buildings in Pilsen). The larger building looked like it had been recently cleaned and/or tuckpointed on its street face and it's one of the larger buildings in the area, so I was surprised to see them demolishing it. I do think it had been unoccupied and sealed. The smaller building is one story and I'm not sure what they're doing to it exactly, although the scaffolding extends across both buildings.

In slightly less dramatic news, many of the storefronts on that block that Podmajersky had been sitting on are being filled in with art galleries, although there. I would think there would be something off-putting to artists and their patrons about a stretch of street where every building has the same style of address marker (the Pod color scheme) and the same style of frosted glass identifying each gallery.
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 10:15 PM   #44
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 10:20 PM   #45
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 11:20 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRadical View Post
Is there a reason you are witholding the names and addresses of these new establishments? THAT is interesting, THAT is useful information, THAT is what belongs in "Pilsen Development News", and THAT is what you should be posting here.

Your opinion on effect that frosted glass Pod color schemes may or may not have on art sales, on the other hand, is.........I dunno, you fill in the blanks.

If what you really want to do is to rant about Podmajerskey and what he has done to/for Pilsen, that would make an EXCELLENT thread in the main section.

BUT BRING FACTS!! Opinions without facts don't mean a thing.
Excuse me? I'm not "withholding" names and addresses of new galleries, I don't know them. Anybody who is interested in what they have to offer can visit them, on Halsted roughly between 18th and Cermak. They have a Last Friday open house. That's all the information I have to offer on them.

I have no idea what I've said that belongs here any less than anything posted in any other community development thread, so you are way out of line.

I do thank you for the article--that's the building I'm talking about. That is a downright bizarre story. How often is it that both the alderman and the developer try to save a building and it gets destroyed anyway? That, I think, is a perfectly good topic of discussion on a development thread.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 09:12 PM   #47
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Old October 4th, 2007, 02:09 AM   #48
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Glad to know all the other community development threads are blessedly free of both rumor and opinion. If you or anybody else has enough interest in Podmajersky to start a thread, I would participate, but I wonder if it wouldn't just be referred back here as a neighborhood-specific topic.

In any case, the demolition at 1920 S. Halsted IS a legitimate topic, and I appreciate your linking to the article. There has been a lot of demolition in East Pilsen recently and I think it's an issue that plenty of people care about and would like more information on. In this part of the city, solid information on what's going on in the neighborhood can be hard to come by; the people living in the loft building next door to the one being torn down told me they hadn't been told anything about it (granted, that may just be their apathy, although they seemed confused enough).
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Old October 4th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #49
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Pilsen should be landmarked before too much of this demolition business continues
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Old October 4th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #50
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Old October 4th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRadical View Post
It was just recently designated a historic district, so I doubt you'll be seeing it landmarked anytime soon.

And I'm not sure the whole neighborhood should be landmarked, anyway. It would make a lot of sense for some stretches (Halsted/19th, 18th between Halsted and Ashland, Blue Island between 18th and 21st, for example), but much of the neighborhood is really not landmark material, in my opinion.
Well, lots of neighborhoods are designated landmark districts and only have some buildings marked as "contributing." Many of the buildings so designated in those neighborhoods are not architecturally unique in and of themselves but contribute to a historically significant streetscape. I think an excellent case could be made for Pilsen being such a place. Much of it is more intact than many other landmark districts and the architecture is extremely distinctive. Of course there are non-contributing frame infill buildings scattered around too, but a walk through the neighborhood will show tons of 19th-century immigrant artisan work, especially Czech detailing that does not exist elsewhere in the city (except to a lesser extent in Little Village).

Whether that makes Pilsen a historic district but not a landmark district, I have no idea, but I think the neighborhood would definitely benefit from having some protection against demolition. This is most important for the big-ticket buildings like the sokols, but ignoring the side streets might lead to the depressing architectural fate of east Ukrainian Village.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 07:40 PM   #52
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Old October 4th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRadical View Post
The problem with an all or nothing approach is that there is an extremely high probablility of the result being nothing. It is too easy to point to the frame structures by 19th and Morgan, for example, and say "WTF! You mean to tell me these are landmark buildings?". The same holds true for the area around Harrison Park, which is newer and looks more like Cicero than east Pilsen.

The objective has to be to preserve the buildings *that matter*, *for the sake of preserving the buildings*, not to stop another East Village from happening, or to impede the owners from making money off their property if they decide to sell it to a developer. As soon as the ideal of preservation becomes a tool of a pro or anti-development agenda, it loses all its power.

Another high-profile Podmajerskey demolition occured last hear at 1835 Canalport. You may not have heard about it, but here's some info:

http://www.chicagojournal.com/main.a...ctionID=60&S=1

And here's an editorial supporting the action by the city:

http://www.chicagojournal.com/main.a...ectionID=8&S=1

I think this explains a lot the anger expressed in the comments in the article about the Halsted demolition.
Of course there are insignificant buildings in Pilsen--that's why I asked if it wouldn't be possible to designate only some buildings as "contributing" to a landmark district. Almost all landmark districts have a few odd clunkers within them that don't receive the same protection that the contributing buildings receive. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought some neighborhoods, like Wicker Park, have protections for some residential buildings but none for 70s infill and the like.

I see the issue of preservation in Pilsen as distinct from the issue of development. There's no stopping market forces from ultimately changing Pilsen, but actions can be taken to maintain the historical character of the place. Chicago has neighborhoods that have been fairly well-preserved throughout the process of gentrification; the question isn't really (or shouldn't be) whether to use preservation as a tool to stop change but whether to require that any changes that occur respect the historic architecture. Maybe I see more significance than is really there because of my own family's roots in Pilsen, but the fact that a Pilsen streetscape looks very similar to how it looked 110 years ago is valuable for its own sake. The recent wave of demolitions in the eastern part of the neighborhood have been steadily chipping away at that character.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #54
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Old October 5th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #55
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FreeRadical, thanks for that info. That does sound like the consensus story, so if you were misled you're not the only one. It does, unfortunately, sound like Podmajersky stretching too far--probably an inevitable outcome when one otherwise minor company owns literally several entire blocks in the same location.

If anybody is curious, you should take a look at that church at 19th and Peoria: the structure is about three-fourths demolished, but the front (with steeple) remains and the former interior has been fenced off and a small fountain installed inside. It is a very eerie landmark.
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Old December 18th, 2007, 10:17 PM   #56
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Another day, another demo. This one is kind of weird and I'm wondering if anybody knows anything about it. It's a very large old one-story building, probably a truck garage that used to be a stable or some such thing, that is surrounded on all four sides by alleys, on the interior of the block bounded by Halsted, Peoria, 19th, and Cullerton. It's directly behind the beautiful old four-story building that came down a few months ago, discussed above.

As far as I know, this building is known mostly as a canvas for graffiti artists, who have done some pretty elaborate work there. I have no idea what a developer could be planning for the lot because of its bizarre location in the interior of the block (Google Maps marks one alley as "Jourdan Court," but it's unquestionably an alley); however, if one of the alleys were closed, it could be combined with the large lot on Halsted, the larger one on Cullerton, or a parking lot on 19th adjacent to the park.

I'm curious about this parcel because it'll possibly be the largest contiguous vacant lot in Pilsen. With the current market and the apparently dormant Centro 18 project a block away, I'd be awfully surprised if this turned into a development anytime in the near future; will East Pilsen be left with this enormous (and dangerous, given its secluded location) vacant lot for some time?
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Old February 9th, 2008, 01:05 AM   #57
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OMG! The project looks great...but I also am worried of the fate of this beautiful neighbourhood.
Studying at Loyola University from the burbs, my roomie from out of state and I have decided to visit Chicago's Ethnic neighbourhoods (First we tackled Greektown and then Pilsen, which we called Mexicanvillage...this weekend we are going to both Chinatown for Chinese New Year's Parade and Little Italy for dinner and a little stroll along the Via with some other friends).
I'm a multi-cultural guy...both parents from Mexico with Spanish, Native American and Italian backgrounds...and my roomie from Michigan having French and Eastern European descent...I didn't know what to expect from Pilsen. I had been to Greektown many times before and LOVE IT! But Pilsen, I always thought it was like La Villita (Little Village)...but as soon as we got of the El in 18th Street...I saw the Murals and was fascinated! I have been going to Mexico since I was months old every year of my life and I know how much murals are a Mexican thing from Diego Rivera to Juan O'Gorman and manyy MANY others. It was great, I live near the suburb of West Chicago, a Mexican enclave which is thriving now, and could not wait to have some good Mexican food. It was snowing very bad but we walked to many places, saw the outside of the Mexican Fine Arts Museum and the stores and other businesess, but the restaurants were our biggest attraction. I had checked on Metromix.com to see what Pilsen had to offer and I was fancying northern Mexican cuisine...found the perfect one...Restaurante Nuevo Leon...great I recommend it!
But anyway, the architecture in those homes are beautiful, that beautiful Bohemian Church that blends so well with the Mexican population since many Bohemians migrated to Mexico and left imprints like these churches, especially in the north. The Murals all over th neighbourhood are just amazing and so different, which adds to the Artistic feel of this place. I hope they don't destroy the essence of this place, for many of us are just discovering this Mexican treasure in Chicago! Cafe Mestizo is awesome, home of the Intelegistas...or however you spell it!
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