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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:16 PM   #141
Loopy
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #142
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In addition to what Spygut posted below...

More bullshit....


Prairie Ave. group fights X/O luxury highrise plan

By Angie Timmons

Despite her early support, 2nd Ward Alderman Madeline Haithcock said she will stall permits for the X/O development planned for the Prairie Avenue District, adding she “didn’t know that people around the area wouldn’t want it.”

Haithcock said her initial support had stemmed from the green light the Greater South Loop Association (GSLA) and the Near South Planning Board (NSPB) gave X/O last year.



Envisioned as a pair of dancers against the Chicago skyline by their architect, the X/O luxury highrise towers are causing a stir among neighborhood residents represented by Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA), a new group formed in part to fight the development. The PDNA did not exist when X/O developers went calling on area community groups last year.

Arguing X/O does not fit the character of the Prairie District and that public notice was not given before public meetings, the PDNA has filed a challenge of project approval with the City’s Department of Planning and Development. Also, the group alleges X/O developers Kargil and Frankel & Giles violated zoning and municipal codes.

“X/O is forever going to change Prairie Avenue,” said Tina Feldstein, PDNA president, at the group’s March 5 meeting. “Five hundred units of glass and steel do not reflect this neighborhood. You’ve got to let the City know you don’t want those towers on that corner.”

The City’s plan for the Near South community contains clear guidelines for development within the Prairie District. Calling for low-rise structures and “building materials and styles that are compatible with the historic character of Prairie Avenue,” the guidelines suggest building heights along Prairie Avenue (where X/O would be located at 1700 S. Prairie Ave., though set back behind ten townhouses) should be 60 feet, with heights up to 250 feet allowed elsewhere in the district. At 45 stories, the tallest of X/O’s two towers would come in at 460 feet; the second tower would have 33 stories.

Though X/O does not appear to reflect what City guidelines envision for the Prairie District, Bob McKenna from the Department of Planning and Development told the PDNA members at last month’s meeting that the project fits within the City’s zoning code and that the developers “have ownership rights and development rights” to the land, regardless of how one might feel about the design. He noted Haithcock had said early on that the towers did not fit with the neighborhood.

People living in the Prairie District are scratching their heads over the plans vs. zoning code question. Jeffery Ayersman, PDNA treasurer, said, “The City tells us initially that the plans themselves are optional, yet the Zoning Ordinance, which is the law, uses terminology that ‘plan developments must be consistent with plans adopted by the plan commission…,’ with the definition of must being mandatory. So how can a plan be optional if the Zoning Ordinance says it is mandatory? It defies logic of normal people.”

Controversy has not cooled early sales at X/O. Brian Giles, senior vice president with Kargil Development, said that as of late March 140 units worth $70 million had been sold. “People recognize the quality of the development,” Giles said, and X/O’s modern design is “architecturally significant.”

Giles would not comment on Haithcock’s pledge to stall X/O’s building permits but later said that his company is not at the point where it would be securing them. PDNA concerns about issues such as inadequate sewer infrastructure for such a large project, to Giles, “doesn’t hold any water, no pun intended,” because large developments anywhere in the city can require sewer upgrades. X/O is an approved planned development, and like Haithcock, Giles pointed to GSLA and NSPB support as evidence his company gained the requisite public support. He added his company will break ground later this year.

PDNA’s Feldstein called those groups’ backing into question at the early March meeting, saying, “the community support is steeped in conflict,” especially with X/O developer Keith Giles sitting on the NSPB board.

Bob Fioretti, Haithcock’s challenger in the April 17 runoff election, said Haithcock “has pitted community members against community members,” in the wake of X/O. If he were Alderman no problem would have arisen because he would have kept the public informed along with way. “She’s the Alderman; she can do a lot,” Fioretti said, when asked if X/O as an approved planned development was too far along for anyone to force the project back to the drawing board.

Haithcock felt Prairie Avenue residents’ ire at the March PDNA meeting, especially when one resident, feeling duped by the situation, called her on her flip-flop regarding X/O. “Coming here doesn’t do me any good,” Haithcock said, “If you don’t want to work with me, just say so.” Haithcock also maintained she was listening to neighbors now and that the past does not matter.

“We recognize that this is not what [Prairie Avenue residents] wanted,” Haithcock told the Gazette. “We’ll take another look at it and we’ll see.” Haithcock vowed to bring both sides together so everyone could work toward a resolution, noting, “Their opinion matters.”

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Bunch of stupid twats. Tina Feldstein moved into the neighborhood 3 years ago from Lincoln Park and she needs to take her ass back! These people keep comenting on the historic character of the neighborhood; what historic character? Do they mean the dozen mansions left in the area? The area hasn't been historic for 50 years, if not longer. It should have never been designated a historic district. The individual houses should have been landmarked. For the past 50 years ther area was industrial, then an induatrial waste land. These people need to get there heads out of their asses because the tightness is cutting off the blood supply and oxygen to their brains. They're talking about needing sewer upgrades: that's not the developers job, the city should have done that before any redevelopment in the area happened.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #143
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Those on this forum who live in the 2nd Ward and have had to deal with construction projects in the past, wasn were basically un-phased by it need to write a response to either the Chicago Journal or Near West Gazette when these articles come out. You could also write to the alderman showing your annoyance towards these idiots as well as to her for the back pedaling.
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Old April 7th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #144
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Quote:
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It looks like AMLI is going to set up a second crane. Perhaps the townhouses will be constructed in real time with the tower. I asked the guys delivering the sections what project it was for, and all they knew was that is was for Walsh. I badly wanted to believe that "the Curve" was underway, but I've never heard of a crane going up before groundwork is finished.
Loopy - is AMLI building townhomes too? If so, where will they be - directly west of the tower?

Also, does anyone know all of the details of the 9th street extension? I think that a RC salesperson told me that it would go underneath the Metra tracks too, and continue all the way to Wells...is this true? Also, this may be wishful thinking and I think I know the answer to this, but will they connect the 9th street extension to the portion of 9th street that is in Dearborn Park? If they were to do that, it would go a long way to help make the east and west sides of the South Loop a little bit more connected.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 01:17 AM   #145
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Besides the Curve, what ever happened to Lennar's project? I mean, I know they decided not to go ahead with it, but were they planning on bringing it back in the future or selling the land or something else? It would have been an amazing sight to see new towers from the Target north (Curve, AMLI, Lennar (3), and Burnham Pointe).
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Old April 8th, 2007, 04:00 AM   #146
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Old April 8th, 2007, 04:06 AM   #147
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Old April 8th, 2007, 08:29 AM   #148
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I've heard nothing about the Lennar parcel, but they would have had to own it (not just have it optioned) to get the PD.

But here's an Easter Morning factoid: the Lennar parcel was previously home to St Peter's Catholic Church, which in 1865 dominated the cottages around it but eventually became incongruous among the railyards and freight houses. Many of the worshipers in later years were actually priests changing trains in Chicago. St Peter's built a new sanctuary on Madison near Clark in the mid 1950s. Here's what Clark and Polk looked like a century ago:

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Old April 8th, 2007, 09:30 AM   #149
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Old April 8th, 2007, 05:52 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loopy View Post
It looks like AMLI is going to set up a second crane. Perhaps the townhouses will be constructed in real time with the tower. I asked the guys delivering the sections what project it was for, and all they knew was that is was for Walsh. I badly wanted to believe that "the Curve" was underway, but I've never heard of a crane going up before groundwork is finished.
More parts of the red crane were just delivered to the site of the Curve, this morning. While it could very well be for AMLI, I am also hoping that this crane is for the Curve. The crane parts are lying on the Curve site - far away from the AMLI site, not to mention, there were articles last fall stating that construction for the Curve would start in early 2007...so you can't completely rule this possibility out!
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Old April 8th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #151
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Wow, very cool. Thanks.

Some old maps indicate an "R.C." church at 9th and Wabash. Do you have any documentation of that structure?
That was the fourth home of Old St. Mary's (now in its sixth home at 1500 South Michigan). The building on the southeast corner of Ninth (Eldredge Ct) and Wabash was built in 1865 as Plymouth Congregational Church, one of several large churches interspersed with the mansions on that part of Wabash before the Chicago Fire. St. Mary's home near Madison and Wabash was destroyed in the 1871 Fire and they relocated to the 9th/Wabash building, which was temporarily the city's cathedral.

Here's the building about 1868:


In case you haven't seen it, the 1886 Robinson's fire insurance maps of the city are available online:
http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/11479.html

As the surrounding area became commercial rather than residential, Old St. Mary's opened a "downtown mission" at 21 E. Van Buren in 1954, and in 1961 Belli and Belli converted a former office building into the fifth Old St. Mary's at Wabash and Van Buren.

The 9th/Wabash church was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1964, but the old landmark ordinance offered only recognition rather than protection. The church property was purchased in 1970 by Standard Oil; the last Mass was celebrated in Sept. 1970 and the church building and rectory were demolished a month later.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #152
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Old April 8th, 2007, 10:08 PM   #153
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Boyington?
Architect was someone named Gurdon P. Randall. Though apparently it was a fine example of Joliet limestone.

Guys, I hope I'll see a SSC team at Wednesday night's South Loop Jeopardy! game, 7 pm at Grace Place. (If you don't know where Grace Place is, you're probably not going to score very high). It's just a fun game of neighborhood trivia, done in my favorite game-show format, most of it based on simple observation of the neighborhood. I'm pretty sure one category Wednesday night will be "CHURCHES."

This is the April no-yelling meeting of South Loop Neighbors, just a fun thing we've done annually the last several years. Having been some days in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #154
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I'm beginning to see a pattern

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...realestate-hed

Prairie District group objects to tower plan

By Jeanette Almada

Special to the Tribune
Published April 8, 2007

Near South Side residents who constitute the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance say that they are pro-development, but they expect to bring a new level of scrutiny to projects planned for their historic district.

More important, they assert, they will intensify their fight for developer accountability on construction defects.

At its March meeting, local developer Rokas International presented a plan to build a 40-story tower on the northwest corner of 21st Street and Prairie Avenue. The plan was not well received, according to Jeff Ayersman, the group's treasurer.

"Its height is clearly not consistent with the city's Near South Community Plan for Prairie Avenue," Ayersman said. That plan, formed by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development with input from area residents, allows buildings of four to six stories for Prairie Avenue. "That is the scale of existing mansions and townhouses in the area," Ayersman said.

"We are focused on issues that affect the quality of life in our community such as education and schools; proposed residential and commercial developments; zoning regulations; traffic improvements and protecting the architectural integrity of the Prairie District," Ayersman said.

High on the group's list of priorities is quality in development projects, backed by assurances from developers.

"Developers need to be more accountable," Ayersman said of developers who build projects under limited liability companies that they form for individual projects. Those entities are often dissolved after each project's unit is sold, leaving condo associations and condo buyers with huge bills for defect repairs.

"We are just beginning to get an idea of how extensive the problem is and are starting to pull together statistics regarding how many buyers are suing developers," Ayersman said.

"A lot of associations don't want to talk about the problem, fearing that they won't sell their units."

Alerted by media reports of lawsuits against developers for defective construction, Mayor Richard Daley on April 4 invited an alliance board member to a private meeting to discuss defect-motivated special assessments, and to ask for recommendations concerning the city's role in addressing quality assurance problems.

"We want developers to provide escrow protection for buyers and want the city to consider looking at the developer's history, to see if past projects have required special assessments after the development was completed," Ayersman said.

Chicago Department of Planning and Development staff members attended the group's March meeting.

While the group recommended a smaller building in response to Rokas International's 40-story tower pitch last month, other high-rises have been slated for construction in the district that are taller than the city's Near South Community Plan allows. The alliance is attempting to halt issuance of a city construction permit for one of them.

"Under that plan, 20-story buildings are allowed on streets just off of Prairie Avenue, such as Cullerton Avenue and 18th Street; and high-rise buildings taller than 20-stories are allowed on the Prairie District's periphery -- on Cermak Road, Indiana Avenue, Michigan Avenue and Calumet Avenue," Ayersman said.

"The city went through all of that expense to form the Near South Plan, and then they say it is just a guide and allow a high-rise building in a district not zoned for high-rises," he said.

Formed in October 2006, the group's influence will depend on the support it receives from Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd), who will now subject all developers who want to build in the Prairie District to the alliance's review process.
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Old April 9th, 2007, 04:51 AM   #155
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Haha! This is pathetic and worthless. These people will accomplish little to nothing, and it's because there's just too much damn incentive and upside to prevent these developments from occurring. I laugh at these delusional attempts to stop the big development machine that is currently chicago, and the baller of a mayor who wholeheartedly supports it. Let them have their fun and play their games- their efforts will only hit dead ends, and amount to nothing! This is simply a glorified laugh riot for us development supporters.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 04:40 PM   #156
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Burnham Pointe is in the middle of putting up their crain....and I think I think the parts that they are assembling are the same parts that were on the Curve lot, that Loopy took a picture of.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #157
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Old April 10th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #158
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I snooped around the AMLI site to look for a pad for the new crane, and I didn't see one.
I can probably confirm that it was for BP. Pad and first couple stories of the crane were up by last night, I didn't see it this morning. Supposedly they still have some piles to pound on the north side of the lot, so I wonder if they're going to go all the way up with it right away.

A lot of the staging for Burnham Pointe has been happening at the AMLI site and then they drive stuff up Clark, I assume because the Burnham site is so tight and Walsh is doing it all anyway. I think they're also dumping excavated material at AMLI (north of it actually, right where the new 9th St. will be).

Does anybody know what the perspective is supposed to be on that rendering of the AMLI building? Is it from the northeast? It seems like the curved wall it shows is actually going up along Clark.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #159
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Old April 10th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #160
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I agree with Loopy, the rendering lines right up with what you see driving southbound on Clark Street. The set back in the diagram is very prominent now that the building is past the first floor.
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