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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #1881
spyguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeZekas View Post
In the YouTube video below, Coldwell Banker VP David Hall refers to the South Loop as "our Las Vegas." It's a meme that resonates on a number of levels - Las Vegas as a gambler's haven, as the poster-child for recent over-development, and more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQzs33KIHKs

Is the South Loop our Las Vegas?
From a development/real estate point of view, maybe. From an aesthetic point of view, I think River North around the McDonald's and Hard Rock and Rainforest Cafe is our Las Vegas strip.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #1882
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From a development/real estate point of view, maybe. From an aesthetic point of view, I think River North around the McDonald's and Hard Rock and Rainforest Cafe is our Las Vegas strip.
I didn't interpret his comment from a real estate meltdown point of view. He threw out other areas like Miami Beach. My interpretation is his comparison to what we saw 2-3 years ago... a boom in real estate development. While all these areas are struggling in the real estate market, Las Vegas is on a completely different track than the South Loop with a ridiculous percentage of foreclosures, abandoned subdivisions, huge inventory of unsold realty, etc. Based on what we all know and what he said in the interview, we have hit a speed bump, but the construction has not stopped, developers are not losing their buildings (other than Burnham Pointe that I know of). Vetro is auctioning off 40 units, but I believe it is a small percentage of their inventory and probably is enough to cover them until after the market turns. It seems developers are willing to finish their buildings and fight the storm.

As for the aesthetics of Vegas... there is no comparison. It would be neat to see something of a Vegas Strip along the lakefront in Northwest Indiana (i.e. Gary, Hammond, Michigan City).

Or - my pet project - along a river walk from Ping Tom Park (18th Street/Chinatown) to Harrison (around River City) on the east side of the River and between the Post Office and 18th Street on the west side of the River. This could be anchored by a casino constructed over the railroad yards between Taylor (including completing the bridge - stimulus package?) and Roosevelt on the west side of the River. I think the City needs to come up with a new master plan for this area including completing the grid, mass transit (talk in another thread), etc. Connect to the Museum Campus/Lakefront/McCormick Place with good transit and this could be a hot location for hotels/casinos/condos etc. that could bridge the river walk from the Loop south to Chinatown (and be a major component of the Olympics).
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Old February 16th, 2009, 07:23 AM   #1883
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The western fašade of Two East Eighth has been decorated with yellow dots and figures that the grandkids tell me represent someone called "Ms PacMan." Apparently this is a reference to some kind of moving-image "game" that is played on a light-projecting-tube apparatus of some kind. Sounds like a way for the younguns to avoid their chores, if you ask me.

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Old February 17th, 2009, 05:32 AM   #1884
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Originally Posted by PrintersRowBoiler View Post
I didn't interpret his comment from a real estate meltdown point of view. He threw out other areas like Miami Beach. My interpretation is his comparison to what we saw 2-3 years ago... a boom in real estate development. While all these areas are struggling in the real estate market, Las Vegas is on a completely different track than the South Loop with a ridiculous percentage of foreclosures, abandoned subdivisions, huge inventory of unsold realty, etc. Based on what we all know and what he said in the interview, we have hit a speed bump, but the construction has not stopped, developers are not losing their buildings (other than Burnham Pointe that I know of). Vetro is auctioning off 40 units, but I believe it is a small percentage of their inventory and probably is enough to cover them until after the market turns. It seems developers are willing to finish their buildings and fight the storm.

As for the aesthetics of Vegas... there is no comparison. It would be neat to see something of a Vegas Strip along the lakefront in Northwest Indiana (i.e. Gary, Hammond, Michigan City).

Or - my pet project - along a river walk from Ping Tom Park (18th Street/Chinatown) to Harrison (around River City) on the east side of the River and between the Post Office and 18th Street on the west side of the River. This could be anchored by a casino constructed over the railroad yards between Taylor (including completing the bridge - stimulus package?) and Roosevelt on the west side of the River. I think the City needs to come up with a new master plan for this area including completing the grid, mass transit (talk in another thread), etc. Connect to the Museum Campus/Lakefront/McCormick Place with good transit and this could be a hot location for hotels/casinos/condos etc. that could bridge the river walk from the Loop south to Chinatown (and be a major component of the Olympics).
I LOVE your pet project.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #1885
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Since I keep posting this information in the wrong part of SSP, hopefully third time's a charm.

In the State of the University address presented on January 28, 2009, Dr. Charles Middleton, President of Roosevelt University, provided some information regarding the University's plans to construct a highrise tower primarily for student housing on the site of the Herman Crown Center (located on the east side of Wabash between Van Buren & Congress).

In the power point presentation that was used, two renderings were provided to give somewhat of an idea of what to expect in the coming years. Dr. Middleton referred to the building as, "an expression of our continuing success and a public statement about where the University is and where it's going, and of future excellence to come." I've included a link to where the video is located on the RU website, however it cuts off before he concludes his speech. The information regarding the highrise is near the end of the video. I remember him providing further details about the building, though unfortunately that commentary is beyond where the video ends. I seem to remember him commenting that this will be a LEED certified building. He noted that education infrastructure is an element that the new Obama administration is keenly interested in providing assistance to, and as a result it's possible the University may be able to receive some financial assistance. He also commented about the construction timeline, indicating that the building is basically ready to go once the Board of Trustees makes the final vote in June. I do know the building is somewhere between 400 - 500 ft, though I'm not sure on the number of floors.

Here's a link to the RU President's page with the State of the University video & power point presentation.

The two renderings below are taken directly from the power point presentation.

(View from Grant Park - it's the tallest building between the red CNA tower and the Sears Tower)
image hosted on flickr


(View from the El on Wabash Avenue heading southbound toward Roosevelt Road)
image hosted on flickr


And here's the timeline that was presented in the power point presentation:

January 2009: Design/Development documents 100% complete
February 2009: Application filed with Dept. of Planning and Development
February 2009: General contractor identified for main project
Spring 2009: Periodic meetings with community and landmark groups
Spring 2009: Demolition of Herman Crown Center begins
Summer 2009: Demolition to be completed
May 2009: Construction drawings 90% complete
May - June 2009: Ordinance published
June 2009: Board of Trustees deliberation
August 2009: Ground-breaking
June 2011: Substantial completion
August 2011: Occupancy for teh 2011/12 AY
-------

And from VDTA's website
Columbia College Chicago Campus Center
The building was conceived as a simple sculptural block of fourteen floors with a traditional core serving all levels. This defined large floor plates or "universal space" which could be adapted to the changing needs of an arts and media school. The building's image is a by-product of its structural exo-skeleton of a small diameter pre-fabricated concrete-sheathed steel tubes inset in a diamond pattern. A monumental star begins at the street level, winding around the exterior of the building as it connects the lower floor floors which are devoted to a student center. The stair sets up a spiraling pattern that extends from grade to the green roof.

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Old February 21st, 2009, 08:50 PM   #1886
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This was discussed back in October at ChicagoBusiness
http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.co...ws.pl?id=31498

This is a great project! I think this is a great location and they are really centralizing the Roosevelt campus to the square block of VanBuren/Michigan/Wabash/Congress. I am guessing this means the University Center will be more and more dominated by Columbia. I enjoy the fact that the universities are centralizing their schools on Wabash with this new building and the proposed student center at Buddy Guy's digs. Wabash is starting to turn into a vibrant street with the recent improvements to the el trains (ok a paint job), pavement overlay, and streetscape on top of the school's great contribution to Wabash (both by the demographics and the development).
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Old February 24th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #1887
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The Scientology meeting was dominated by Nick Contesi (owner of the car wash next door) and folks who seemed to be friends of his. There was also a fair number of Scientology haters who raised all sorts of curious objections. For instance, one guy was seemingly enraged that, although they were going to do the renovation using all sorts of various "green" criteria and techniques, they weren't planning to pay (the rather large cost) of brand-name LEED certification. Others went on and on about the parking issue, even though the church has a 20-year lease on 100 spaces over on LaSalle Street.

Apparently the problem at the Zoning Board of Appeals was that Contesi, having failed to interest the church in buying his carwash at a hugely inflated price, personally persuaded two ZBA members to vote against the special use permit, which is usually granted quite routinely. When the chairman had to recuse himself, the permit vote failed 2-2. Since they couldn't get a reconsideration for a year, they decided to go for a rezoning from DX-12 to DR-10. Religious assembly in DR-10 is allowed as-of-right.
First, Mr. Contesi is asking fair market value for his property. The reason I know this is that I wanted to purchase his property and we tentatively agreed to a price. However, after I learned that the Church of Scientology was trying to obtain zoning approval for their property to the north, I rescined my offer.

Second, the ZBA denied the Church of Scientology's special use application on two seperate occasions. The first application was denied by a vote of 2 to 2 and the second application was denied by a vote of 4 to 0.

Third, at the community meeting, the Church of Scientology stated that there would be a total of 40-full time employees at the 650 South Clark St. premises. However, the COS filed a document entitled "PROJECT NARRATIVE AND STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL USE FOR RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY" with both of their ZBA special use applications. The document states that the Church has a paid staff of approximately 180-persons, most of whom are full-time employees, and all of whom will have access to the building. Additionally, the document states that between 5 and 10 volunteers will provide support services on a daily basis. These numbers do not include parishnors/other visitors. Thus, 125 parking spaces would not be able to accomodate parking for their own employees.

All of the above-mentioned information is public record and I would be happy to provide copies to anyone who requests them. If someone would like me to fax these documents to them, please send me your fax number or if you have an alternative method of delivery, please let me know.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 03:55 AM   #1888
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[QUOTE=Mr Downtown;31685690]The liquor license question was left very muddled at the meeting itself. Last year, I had talked to some of the Scientology leaders who said they were willing to sign a waiver or whatever was necessary. However, one of the attorneys at the meeting said it was a state law, not a city ordinance, that forbids "taverns" (no food service) within 100 feet of a church. Clark Street is an 80-foot right-of-way. Blackie's is probably fine, but Villains is a question. I haven't yet researched the law myself to see exactly what it says.

As for parking, the 20-year lease (with Hunter Parking/Cacciatore) is for the spots along the west side of LaSalle and underneath LaSalle Street Station.[/QUOTE

State laws and various city ordinances would prohibit liquor establishments (taverns, restaurants, retail, etc.) within 100 feet of a church. This means that any new liquor establishments within 100 feet would be prohibited and Villians would be prohibited from selling the liquor licence to a new owner.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY LEADERS HAVE NO INPUT WITH LIQUOR LICENSES. THEIR SIGNATURES/APPROVAL WOULDN'T EVEN BE CONSIDERED BECAUSE THESE ARE STATE/CITY LAWS AND A CHURCH'S INPUT MEANS NOTHING.

As for the 20-year lease , which I'm sure can be terminated by either of the parties, the Church (based on documents filed at the ZBA) will have 180-full time employees at 650 S. Clark St. nothwithstanding any parisionors which means 125 parking spaces is not enough.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 04:55 AM   #1889
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^ Chicago1, welcome to the forums and I have no reason not to believe you. But, frankly, since when did it become standard for there to be a parking spot for every single employee in downtown Chicago? Did it ever occur to you that you live in an area well endowed with an expensive to run transit system that your tax dollars are paying for (and is becoming more and more expensive to run because too many people insist on driving instead of using it)? You should thank your great great grandfather for building a system that other cities covet and which allows for the sheer vibrance of the neighborhood that surrounds you.

Since you are a new forumer I thought I'd just let you know that people at this website aren't particularly forgiving (for good reasons) to people whose entirety of a complaint about a development is parking, especially in an area served by a voluminous fleet of buses and trains every single day.

I know a well-paid professional living in Wisconsin who rides a train twice a week to get to a job in the south loop. Why don't you let the system work as it has for well over a century and not try to do the job of the Planning Department for it? No offense, but this whole "take things into our own hands" mentality that everybody seems to employ is not getting anybody anywhere and won't benefit your neighborhood in the long run.

Last edited by The Urban Politician; February 24th, 2009 at 05:03 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #1890
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Third, at the community meeting, the Church of Scientology stated that there would be a total of 40-full time employees at the 650 South Clark St. premises. However, the COS filed a document entitled "PROJECT NARRATIVE AND STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL USE FOR RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY" with both of their ZBA special use applications. The document states that the Church has a paid staff of approximately 180-persons, most of whom are full-time employees, and all of whom will have access to the building. Additionally, the document states that between 5 and 10 volunteers will provide support services on a daily basis. These numbers do not include parishnors/other visitors. Thus, 125 parking spaces would not be able to accomodate parking for their own employees.
I would imagine most employees would take public transit or walk since it is in close proximity to many bus and rail lines. A lot of people on this board give me a hard time due to a misconception that I am pro-parking, but I see no problem with the parking provisions provided. I hope this project moves forward and welcome the church to the community.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 06:54 PM   #1891
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^ Chicago1, welcome to the forums and I have no reason not to believe you. But, frankly, since when did it become standard for there to be a parking spot for every single employee in downtown Chicago? Did it ever occur to you that you live in an area well endowed with an expensive to run transit system that your tax dollars are paying for (and is becoming more and more expensive to run because too many people insist on driving instead of using it)? You should thank your great great grandfather for building a system that other cities covet and which allows for the sheer vibrance of the neighborhood that surrounds you.

Since you are a new forumer I thought I'd just let you know that people at this website aren't particularly forgiving (for good reasons) to people whose entirety of a complaint about a development is parking, especially in an area served by a voluminous fleet of buses and trains every single day.

I know a well-paid professional living in Wisconsin who rides a train twice a week to get to a job in the south loop. Why don't you let the system work as it has for well over a century and not try to do the job of the Planning Department for it? No offense, but this whole "take things into our own hands" mentality that everybody seems to employ is not getting anybody anywhere and won't benefit your neighborhood in the long run.
Well said!
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Old February 24th, 2009, 09:47 PM   #1892
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As for the 20-year lease , which I'm sure can be terminated by either of the parties, the Church (based on documents filed at the ZBA) will have 180-full time employees at 650 S. Clark St. nothwithstanding any parisionors which means 125 parking spaces is not enough.[/QUOTE]

Your two posts make a big deal of 180 employees and "only" 125 spots. Do you really think a seven day operation with 180 employees means all will be there at the same time? If you do the math and assume the Church is open with some level of employees 12 hours a day seven days a week you would need at least 2.5 full time employees to cover those hours with only 1 there parking his/her car at a time. That cuts your 180 figure to 72, leaving plenty of unused parking before public transportation is even considered.

I have never seen such a concern for parking spots in an urban area as exists in Printer's Row. To go to development meetings and hear residents bemoan the loss of surface parking lots is really unfathomable. Don't they get that the more parking you have the more auto traffic you invite?
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Old February 24th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #1893
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I have never seen such a concern for parking spots in an urban area as exists in Printer's Row. To go to development meetings and hear residents bemoan the loss of surface parking lots is really unfathomable. Don't they get that the more parking you have the more auto traffic you invite?
PA, your points and everybody else's on transit options are well taken. However, the discussion in the wider community about the Church of Scientology seems to go well beyond the typical grousing about parking/traffic impacts (which actually seem to be the default arguments about any new development anywhere ever). Something about the Scientologists really seem to be getting people's backs up in a way that I can't imagine if this was any other organization, religious or not. (Except maybe another homeless shelter.)

I really have a hard time getting too upset about them. Even if they're brainwashed zombies, they still have to eat lunch, they still have to buy things, they still have to walk around the neighborhood and add to the vitality of the streets. All of this is good for Printers Row. They have to buy/lease supplies, equipment, furnishings, etc. All of this is good for downtown and the city. In the current economic environment, especially, I really can't understand a bunch of community leaders banding together to keep a wealthy organization from making use of a vacant building in an underused part of the neighborhood.

Last edited by Belacqua; February 24th, 2009 at 10:49 PM.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:53 AM   #1894
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I really can't understand a bunch of community leaders banding together to keep a wealthy organization from making use of a vacant building in an underused part of the neighborhood.
I know of no organization or "community leader" who has opposed the rezoning or the church generally.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:19 AM   #1895
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PA, your points and everybody else's on transit options are well taken. However, the discussion in the wider community about the Church of Scientology seems to go well beyond the typical grousing about parking/traffic impacts (which actually seem to be the default arguments about any new development anywhere ever). Something about the Scientologists really seem to be getting people's backs up in a way that I can't imagine if this was any other organization, religious or not. (Except maybe another homeless shelter.)

I really have a hard time getting too upset about them. Even if they're brainwashed zombies, they still have to eat lunch, they still have to buy things, they still have to walk around the neighborhood and add to the vitality of the streets. All of this is good for Printers Row. They have to buy/lease supplies, equipment, furnishings, etc. All of this is good for downtown and the city. In the current economic environment, especially, I really can't understand a bunch of community leaders banding together to keep a wealthy organization from making use of a vacant building in an underused part of the neighborhood.
Just curious....if Scientologists are "brainwashed zombies", then how are Christians or members of any other religion any different?
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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #1896
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..

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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #1897
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I know of no organization or "community leader" who has opposed the rezoning or the church generally.
The South Loop presidents group seems to be fairly opposed to the rezoning, although I'm not sure this is an official position.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 08:00 PM   #1898
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The South Loop presidents group seems to be fairly opposed to the rezoning, although I'm not sure this is an official position.
From the Journal:
Enrique Perez, a Printers Row resident who publishes an influential electronic newsletter, testified against the zoning change Tuesday, saying neighborhood concerns "were not taken to taken to heart" by Fioretti despite what he described as the alderman's "good faith" effort to hear them out.

Perez testified he and other Printers Row condominium association presidents met with church officials and the alderman in November to discuss concerns about the project.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #1899
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From the Journal:
Enrique Perez, a Printers Row resident who publishes an influential electronic newsletter, testified against the zoning change Tuesday, saying neighborhood concerns "were not taken to taken to heart" by Fioretti despite what he described as the alderman's "good faith" effort to hear them out.

Perez testified he and other Printers Row condominium association presidents met with church officials and the alderman in November to discuss concerns about the project.
Well, they also had the public meeting a few weeks ago. The attorney for the church has also attended at least one South Loop Neighbors meeting to try to work with the community. What else can they do?
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Old February 26th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #1900
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Well, they also had the public meeting a few weeks ago. The attorney for the church has also attended at least one South Loop Neighbors meeting to try to work with the community. What else can they do?
Agreed. Typically these folks want promises in writing "guaranteeing" things.

They expressed worries about parking and whether the church would be conducting drug/alcohol rehab services at the hearing but those issues don't impact zoning.
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