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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:32 AM   #541
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http://www.chicagojournal.com/main.a...111&TM=83685.2

A new park for Printer's Row
‘Passive park’ design includes new paving, lighting, landscaping

By HAYLEY GRAHAM


Nearly vacant space in the heart of Printer's Row will be transformed into a park next year.

The Chicago Park District just completed design plans for the new park, which will be located just south of the Transportation building at 600 S. Dearborn between Polk and Harrison.

"We expect to break ground either this fall or in the spring, with completion by the end of 2008," said Michele Jones, spokesperson for the Chicago Park District.

Planning for the Printer's Row Park began about a year ago and included a series of three meetings, which began in February of last year, to gain community input, according to Jones.

The space is about a quarter of an acre and is currently a vacant parking lot; a small area with a fountain surrounded by benches and trees; and two access roads that connect Dearborn and Federal.

Jones said is will be a passive park, meaning that it will have paving, benches, lighting and landscapes, but no playground structures. The existing fountain also will be incorporated into the new design.

Dennis McClendon, vice president for planning and development for the South Loop Neighbors, has been assisting the designers with some of the details of the park. He said he helped the design of the park incorporate some of the history of the Printer's Row neighborhood. McClendon helped develop a plan for the concrete forms that will be used as seating to look like letter pieces used in printing presses, and he researched the appropriate type faces from the era.

McClendon attended the community meetings about the redevelopment and said that most residents were happy about the change, and generally most concerned about what would happen to the access roads, which will be closed for the park.

While he is supporting the park, McClendon said the location is not ideal for a few reasons. He said because the park is located in the center of the neighborhood and surrounded by buildings, it will be shaded most of the time.

The park's location is not very family friendly either, he said. Since it will not be fenced in and is in between two streets, he said, it may not be a safe place for children to play.

"It's not really a family park at all," McClendon said. "Children could easily run right into traffic. Parents would probably be more comfortable with them at a big area."

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Old June 14th, 2007, 07:25 AM   #542
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http://www.chicagojournal.com/main.a...111&TM=83685.2
...The park's location is not very family friendly either, he said. Since it will not be fenced in and is in between two streets, he said, it may not be a safe place for children to play.

"It's not really a family park at all," McClendon said. "Children could easily run right into traffic. Parents would probably be more comfortable with them at a big area."
I always find statements like this to be pointless, annoying and stupid. "Children could easily run right into traffic"?!? But apparently they cannot run into traffic from the sidewalks they and their parents used to get to the park?

Not every park has to be child proof or a family park. (Especially when there is childrens play equipment only a couple of blocks away.) Sometimes a park just needs to be a small respite from the world around us.

Just needed to vent a little...
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Old June 14th, 2007, 03:52 PM   #543
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I always find statements like this to be pointless, annoying and stupid. . . Not every park has to be child proof or a family park.
I agree. The person quoted was taken by surprise when the reporter asked if he thought the park would attract families with children. No, he responded, that's not the purpose of this little plaza; there are other parks that families will find more comfortable. In fact, he has some personal experience with a four-year-old nephew darting from this particular park into Dearborn Street. Imagine his surprise when the Journal story makes it sound like he brought up child safety as a big criticism of the park plans. People aren't always as clueless as they may sound in newspaper stories written by inexperienced reporters.

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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #544
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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:26 PM   #545
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That's why I was disappointed that my neighbors rejected the idea of a coffee window, wine bar, or newsstand that would provide a reason for normal people--as opposed to homeless guys--to sit in this plaza. I think they couldn't imagine anything other than a park district hot dog trailer when I said "concessionaire."

Same thing is going to happen up at Harrison/State, unless there's a Library Square retailer opening onto it and using it. It'll just end up being a place for the Jones HS kids to smoke. And I'm really upset about what's happening north of Roosevelt Collection. Without retail and a generous staircase that's a people-watching place, that "park" will just end up as another dogwalking area.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 01:48 AM   #546
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That's why I was disappointed that my neighbors rejected the idea of a coffee window, wine bar, or newsstand that would provide a reason for normal people--as opposed to homeless guys--to sit in this plaza. I think they couldn't imagine anything other than a park district hot dog trailer when I said "concessionaire."

Same thing is going to happen up at Harrison/State, unless there's a Library Square retailer opening onto it and using it. It'll just end up being a place for the Jones HS kids to smoke. And I'm really upset about what's happening north of Roosevelt Collection. Without retail and a generous staircase that's a people-watching place, that "park" will just end up as another dogwalking area.
That sucks - I would have been all for a coffee window, wine bar, or newsstand.

On what corner of Harrison and State are they going to build a plaza? Isn't the NW corner Library Tower, the NE corner the superdorm, the SW corner Jones HS, and the SE corner a parking lot that YMCA is going to eventually build their headquarters on?

Also, are the plaza/park plans north of RC set in stone? I hope that they do something exciting with that large area, so if it isn't set and stone yet, I would definitely be willing to make my voice heard that I don't want that park to become just another dogwalking area.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 02:47 AM   #547
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There's a small plaza going at the south end of Library Square. It's probably 40 x 100.

Roosevelt Collection's park is part of its PD, and if there's nothing in the ordinance about how it's to be landscaped, I presume Centrum will do the cheapest possible thing. I guess you could inquire in the RC thread and see if Centrum will say anything about it. The earlier LaSalle Park PD had specified a 3-acre park with a softball diamond, but that was when townhouses were anticipated all around.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #548
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That's why I was disappointed that my neighbors rejected the idea of a coffee window, wine bar, or newsstand that would provide a reason for normal people--as opposed to homeless guys--to sit in this plaza. I think they couldn't imagine anything other than a park district hot dog trailer when I said "concessionaire."

Same thing is going to happen up at Harrison/State, unless there's a Library Square retailer opening onto it and using it. It'll just end up being a place for the Jones HS kids to smoke. And I'm really upset about what's happening north of Roosevelt Collection. Without retail and a generous staircase that's a people-watching place, that "park" will just end up as another dogwalking area.
Couldn't agree with you more......people are afraid of change, and fear that more activity will bring more BAD activity....when, in reality, the city thrives on activity, retail, dog walkers, coffee drinkers, hot dog buyers, wine drinkers, student smokers, people watchers, etc. and it's up to the enlightened people of forums such as this to attend community meetings and help to educate our beloved neighbors....
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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #549
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I miss Paris...and I love NYC's Union Square...though I prefer living in Chicago.

It's funny, Paris is actually a 'sister' city, we have the grid system like NYC, yet somehow fall back into backward thinking that doesn't move us that far ahead - from an urban dweller point of view.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 01:47 PM   #550
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South loop dreams

http://www.suntimes.com/classifieds/...loop15.article

South loop dreams
SQUABBLETOWN | Each new neighborhood brings issues to care about


June 15, 2007
BY BONNIE MCGRATH Special to the Sun-Times

If argument and disagreement among neighbors is what forms neighborhood roots -- and ultimately what make houses homes -- then the South Loop has it in spades.

In less than three decades, the South Loop has grown into a series of mini-neighborhoods, each with a distinct character. There are fewer and fewer empty lots, and one developer after another has some new project to fill the remaining space.

Problem is, with each new development come new residents, and residents who are already ensconced become upset with the threat of congestion, new buildings that cut off their light and view, and architectural styles that are too modern, too classical, or too tall.
For example, a proposal to build an 80-story building at 9th and Wabash has brought out architecture afficionados who love the idea -- and neighborhood aestheticians who hate it.

But this squabbling says less about the quality of the neighborhood than it does about the relationships between neighbors -- those already there care that much, and if you're moving into their neighborhood, you'd better care as much or more.

The South Loop has gone from an expanse of vacant warehouses, unused railroad tracks -- a dangerous has-been weed-patch skid row -- into a glorious mix of housing and all the related amenities. And all just steps from downtown, not to mention Grant Park, Soldier Field and the Museum Campus.

"I think it's awesome," says Britta Rivera, vice president of sales for Lennar Urban, which is building Library Tower at Congress and State, a 17-story condo building that is 60 percent sold. Units range from the mid-$300,000s up to $840,000 for a penthouse. "I remember selling lofts at 16th and Indiana for $67,000 in the mid-'90s and by the early 2000s, the same people sold them and bought townhomes in the neighborhood for $500,000. That's how much money they made."

Rivera recalls that until a few years ago, residents in the South Loop had to go grocery shopping in other neighborhoods -- or even in the suburbs. Now there's a Dominick's, a Jewel, and soon, a Whole Foods. "I used to ride through the neighborhood looking at empty lots and thinking what a great place this would be to develop," Rivera says. "There were so many empty spaces. I remember thinking this would be a great place to live and walk to work. It's become exactly what I envisioned."

The bright side of all this growth is the value. Developers do crow about the fact that price per square foot is below what it is in other neighborhoods. The supply of land in the South Loop is not as tight as in other, more heavily established neighborhoods.

"You know, right now it's basically like buying on the North Side 20 years ago," says Ted Mazola, president of New West Realty, whose latest project in the Loop is a 176-unit midrise condo building at 16th and Wabash. "Sometimes developers get a bad rap -- but I say, what would your taxes be without us? We are the last 'manufacturers.' "

It all began in the 1970s. Old warehouses on Dearborn, north of Polk, that had once served as printing companies and railroad offices were transformed into funky lofts for those with vision, creativity and a pioneering spirit. The area became a landmark known as Printers Row. The old Dearborn Station at Polk and Dearborn became the neighborhood beacon. And still is.

At the same time, a group of businessmen and politicians concocted a plan for the abandoned railroad tracks south of Polk and the Dearborn Station. They saw a mix of middle-class housing consisting of townhomes, high-rises and mid-rise buildings that turned in on itself and became a comfy, cozy little neighborhood.

It was called Dearborn Park, and its story is told in great detail by journalist Lois Wille in her 1997 book, At Home in the Loop.

Wille is a South Loop resident. She claims in the book that Dearborn Park is one of the nicest places to live in any American City "and certainly one of the most unusual."

Marge Swift, who moved to a Dearborn Park townhome in 1979 (and who has since moved to a single-family a couple of blocks south), remembers pheasants, deer, owls and "12,000 rats" when she first moved in. "We spent time cleaning alleys for recreation," she recalls.

Because of its success, Dearborn Park expanded by 1990 south of Roosevelt Road into another upscale rectangle of a few square blocks, called Dearborn Park II. Townhomes and single-family homes were built, some reminiscent of the Prairie Style, some exact replicas of old Chicago frame homes. Then came Dearborn Village, a huge group of townhomes built in the mid-'90s between 18th and Archer along State and Clark, which according to neighborhood legend sold out in a week.

Mayor Daley moved to Central Station in the mid-'90s, another upscale mixed residential development on more abandoned railroad land south of 14th Street and east of Indiana. And Museum Park, just to the north of Central Station, rose up -- and is still coming up strong and steady -- as a little city of glassy condos and red brick townhomes.

All of these new, and newer, South Loop neighborhoods are interspersed with parks. More and more, they are also being serviced with small businesses, interesting boutiques and an array of attractive bars and classy restaurants.

There are even a few rental properties -- and some of the new developments include opportunities for renters.

The boom of new and rehabbed has even collided with the gilded age. Development has come south, with cranes popping up all over from Wells to Clark and State, to Wabash, Michigan and Indiana, and all the side streets running perpendicular -- resulting in a conglomeration of housing that is diverse enough to defy description. Today, a collection of new high-rises and townhomes now surround historic Prairie Avenue, where the richest of the rich (Field, Pullman, Armour and Kimball are some of the more familiar names) lived throughout the latter part of the 19th century.

A smattering of old homes remains (including the world famous Glessner House at 18th and Prairie) along with a strip of very expensive new homes built to mimic that past ritziness -- how happy these residents and their townhome neighbors are, or aren't, about impending high-rises would fill a book.

When Mike Hernandez, a Loop lawyer, returned to his hometown 17 years ago after living in New York, he and his wife decided they wanted to raise their children in the heart of Chicago, in a place that was integrated, and in a place where it would be easy to establish roots near Bridgeport -- and Taylor Street.

"Dearborn Park was an emerging, vibrant neighborhood that fit the bill," says Hernandez, who is president of his neighborhood park advisory council, which puts on everything from a movie in a neighborhood park each year to a blockbuster block party. Families all over the South Loop, as well as young singles, newlyweds and even a new crop of empty-nesters echo Hernandez's sentiments precisely.

This South Loop mix of residents goes to the local CAPS meetings, homeowner association meetings, and community association meetings that host everyone from aldermen to developers, from home safety experts to historians. Residents raised enough money to build a large dog park in Grant Park last year as a playground for the more dogs per capita it has than any other neighborhood in Chicago.

But perfection often eludes the residents. One of the biggest problems lately has to do with construction noise at all hours; another has to do with traffic in a cul-de-sac around South Loop School at Roosevelt, just west of State.

Speaking of schools, more and more children in the neighborhood are taking advantage of the area's public and private schools. One sign of the times is that the Pacific Garden Mission, a well-known homeless shelter on South State, will soon move a little more than a mile southwest to make way for an addition to Jones College Prep.

On a higher education plane, Columbia College is the biggest private landowner in the South Loop -- its classroom buildings, performance spaces and dorms serving a huge student population that adds to the much adored diversity.

Some of the newest development continues west of Clark on Roosevelt and a little north, with more high-rise buildings, more townhomes, more commercial enterprises proposed -- and more access roads being cleared of mud and weeds. Residents worry that the South Loop will begin to harbor some of the unbearable congestion that is along North Avenue and in other areas of Lincoln Park.

But so far, a new Target, built at Roosevelt and Clark a few years ago, has befriended the community. It was built in the surrounding community's image: lots of heavy red brick, grayish stone trim-and quite a bit of glass. Residents love it.


Bonnie McGrath is a Chicago writer and attorney who has lived in the South Loop for the past 13 years. She writes a column for the community newspaper, the Chicago Journal, and she is on the board of directors of South Loop Neighbors, Dearborn Park Advisory Council and her homeowners' association, Chicago Homes of Dearborn Park.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:07 PM   #551
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Mr Downtown;

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I agree. The person quoted was taken by surprise when the reporter asked if he thought the park would attract families with children. No, he responded, that's not the purpose of this little plaza; there are other parks that families will find more comfortable. In fact, he has some personal experience with a four-year-old nephew darting from this particular park into Dearborn Street. Imagine his surprise when the Journal story makes it sound like he brought up child safety as a big criticism of the park plans. People aren't always as clueless as they may sound in newspaper stories written by inexperienced reporters.
Thank you for a voice or reason Mr. Downtown. I can not understand the hyper-sensitivity of people here on quotes from residents...McClendon was just pointing out what the park was not, by citing examples of it's limitations as a space. And now suddenly it is an indictment on how less sophisticated American's are than European's on urban life?...wow

Printers Row is an ideal for a space like this, as you said, if you are not going to place something there. As to coffee shops, there are already two on either side of the park. Printers Row is not the retail & service business gem or gold mine people think it is. Restaurant's there still depend far too much on the weekday business-lunch foot traffic from the businesses around Congress.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #552
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I think Loopy's point was that the reporter didn't seem to understand the difference between a park, a playlot, and a plaza.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #553
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My European reference, to clarify....

I miss the uber mini retail storefronts in any given neighborhood. When I lived in Lyon, I literally had a butcher across the street, flower gal next door, corner bakery two storefronts down and newspaper vendor on the other corner.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #554
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Thank you for a voice or reason Mr. Downtown. I can not understand the hyper-sensitivity of people here on quotes from residents...McClendon was just pointing out what the park was not, by citing examples of it's limitations as a space. And now suddenly it is an indictment on how less sophisticated American's are than European's on urban life?...wow

Printers Row is an ideal for a space like this, as you said, if you are not going to place something there. As to coffee shops, there are already two on either side of the park. Printers Row is not the retail & service business gem or gold mine people think it is. Restaurant's there still depend far too much on the weekday business-lunch foot traffic from the businesses around Congress.
If you walk by many of the restaurants in Printers Row, even on a Tuesday night, they are flowing with people (especially their outdoor seating).
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Old June 15th, 2007, 07:48 PM   #555
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Printers Row

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If you walk by many of the restaurants in Printers Row, even on a Tuesday night, they are flowing with people (especially their outdoor seating).
It is getting better, but talking to two owners that I know very well for 15 years, both indicate the places suffer terribly from October to April. Many long term South Loopers tend to rely on self feeding

I can not put my finger on it, but what do you think it will take to raise the Printers Row area to the next level? With out any destination locations, Printers Row will continue to 'bob and weave'. Don't get me wrong, I like the area, but it just seems Printers Row takes one step backwards for every step forward. As they have added places like Hackney's, the restaurant at the Blake Hotel, (which how is this doing?) etc., but then you see a great opportunity like the Dearborn Station Building just go relatively quiet and vacant.

It will be interesting to see the impact of the nearby development on Clark and on State...this is the one place in the South Loop that will rely on density to fulfill it. However with some of these developers charging rediculous rates for retail space, they are stunting their own growth.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #556
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My European reference, to clarify....

I miss the uber mini retail storefronts in any given neighborhood. When I lived in Lyon, I literally had a butcher across the street, flower gal next door, corner bakery two storefronts down and newspaper vendor on the other corner.
You know, I along with many would love to see that, but sadly and regretably is that realistic in the US? The corporate big-box, one stop shopping mentality kills this. How can residents and consumers be to blame when it is the powers to be in our elected Municiple Govt and big-box retailer corporations who jam this 'Big-Box Chinesification' down our throats, claiming to be generating tax revenues and creating jobs?

Big Richey Daley is culprit number one in Chicago. There are many small business success stories, but the successful ones are those that are high up in the Daley crony food chain. The South Loop restaurants are an example...
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Old June 15th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #557
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..

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Old June 15th, 2007, 08:50 PM   #558
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Big Richey Daley is culprit number one in Chicago. There are many small business success stories, but the successful ones are those that are high up in the Daley crony food chain. The South Loop restaurants are an example...
"...culprit number one in Chicago." If I were to believe even half these mayor-bashing threads, I'd have to believe him an omniscient, omnipotent, even omnipresent "villain." Now I'm being told that my dining fare is dictated by Da Mayor, please! Charges are easily and cheaply thrown, yet rarely if ever backed up on these threads. It strikes me as more realistic to acknowledge that this city, like any other major city, is driven and largely shaped by a wide spectrum of powerful, financially invested corporations, businesses, developers, speculators, etc. Given that confuence of power and wealth, I marvel at the Mayor's patient and steady hand under such circumstances. Read this:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...l=chi-news-hed
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #559
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It is getting better, but talking to two owners that I know very well for 15 years, both indicate the places suffer terribly from October to April. Many long term South Loopers tend to rely on self feeding

I can not put my finger on it, but what do you think it will take to raise the Printers Row area to the next level? With out any destination locations, Printers Row will continue to 'bob and weave'. Don't get me wrong, I like the area, but it just seems Printers Row takes one step backwards for every step forward. As they have added places like Hackney's, the restaurant at the Blake Hotel, (which how is this doing?) etc., but then you see a great opportunity like the Dearborn Station Building just go relatively quiet and vacant.

It will be interesting to see the impact of the nearby development on Clark and on State...this is the one place in the South Loop that will rely on density to fulfill it. However with some of these developers charging rediculous rates for retail space, they are stunting their own growth.
You're right in that business in a lot of these restaurants is somewhat better during the Summer months (but I think that probably applies to almost any neighborhood).

I think that it's a fair assumption that once Vetro, Printers Corner, Burnham Pointe, 600 South Clark, 900 South Clark, Library Tower, 1 East 8th, and Astoria Tower are completed and the residents move into these buildings, that the restaurants in Printers Row are going to see considerably increased business (not to mention, we should probably see a couple new restaurants open too). A couple thousand new residents in just a few block radius will definitely work wonders!
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:30 PM   #560
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Also, I think that someone mentioned on one of the threads that a jazz club is planning on opening up a spot in Dearborn Station, soon?

As for new restaurants, I guess that Coast opened a second location in the South Loop....should be a great addition to the neighborhood! I also have the link to the restaurant that took over the Gourmand space. And, another bar/grill is opening up in Printers Row soon....

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/s...,6984984.venue

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/d...,7968034.venue

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/d...,6460700.venue
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