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Old November 18th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #9761
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Sure, but it doesn't have to be withering and suffocating. We should be allowed to have some fun.
I understand. But I think many visitors to this site who are unfamiliar with Chicago, especially those from outside the U.S., look at photos of the gleaming, well-maintained downtown area of Chicago and don't realize the serious underlying long term problems the city has. Then they wonder why such a "great" city is not attracting development and new residents.

Chicago is like that bragging neighbor who has the biggest house with the best landscaping, the new car every two years, all the fun toys (boat, pool, motorcycle, classic car in the garage, etc), and delivery trucks in the driveway every week bringing in the fancy new furniture and kitchen appliances. Then he loses his job and two months later the house is in foreclosure, the repo men are coming for the toys, and the guy is totally bankrupt. It was all an illusion, based on credit card debt and multiple mortgages.

There's a reason why NYC is booming with new construction and Chicago is stuck in the doldrums with only one small office building and a handful of cheap rental apartment buildings going up. The looming pension catastrophe is a serious drag on the entire state's growth. Until it is reasonably addressed and the city and state budgets can be stabilized, Chicago will continue to stagnate.

So I'll say it again. You'd have to be insane to buy a multimillion dollar condo in Chicago. Prices are low in Chicago because demand is low. Rental towers are successful now because people are unsure of the city's future and will pay to have the flexibility of being able to move away quickly if and when the crap hits the fan.

There is no way a $2.5 billion dollar condo tower is going to be financed in this climate. It was iffy enough when Chicago was riding high pre-2008. The only hope is to value engineer the project down a billion dollars or so and convert to mixed use.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 07:01 PM   #9762
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Anyone in the Chicago area with conservative or Republican leanings has long since moved to the collar counties. Remember, Chicago has lost over 900,000 people off its peak population in the late 1950s. In fact, it's second in the country only to Detroit in raw population loss - and it's NOT a distant second.

It's not as if no one is aware of the problem, but they all think everyone else but themselves is to blame and should pay for it. It's not like no one saw the writing on the wall in Detroit either, but everyone there was similarly entrenched in their own self-interest, unwilling to budge, with the government hopeless to do anything but wait for the inevitable collapse. I do believe Chicago is headed the same way.

In the last decade, Chicago lost close to 200,000 people. Yet the recent fight to close a relative handful of public schools - because they were obviously no longer needed - was a protracted and contentious political fight, with everyone involved battling to protect their turf regardless of the cost. The top-to-bottom systemic restructuring necessary to put the city on a firm foundation for the future would be 1000 times harder than this. No one has the stomach for it.
Raw population loss is an absurd metric to use. Chicago lost 900,000 but that was only 25% of its total. Detroit lost over a million which was over half.

Which is to say nothing of the complexities of Chicagoan migration.

The tri-state Chicagotown area has vastly increased its population during the same period. It also represents the broad and varied economy of the Chicago area, which is one of the fastest growing in the nation.

All big American cities have seen a decline in population since the 1950s. The rise of public transportation and better suburban amenities mean people don't have to live in the city to work there anymore, which was not always the case. Especially rich cities with affluent residents, like Chicago.

The 2008 credit crisis hit the entire American economy hard. New York was only the first to emerge from the rubble - just like London and Tokyo - because it is a globally important center of commerce. It is not a best representation of the overall health of the American economy, which is still not out of the woods.

Chicago has fared much better than most. It still has the fourth largest city GDP in the world (third in the US), whereas Detroit is not even in the top 100.

Attempting to liken Chicago to Detroit is complete nonsense. Chicago's stagnation is no worse than anywhere else in the country, it only seems worse because - compared to LA and particularly NYC - it had a much more robust pre-credit-crunch economy.

Look at it like this: The Chicago Spire not only won't be built in NYC, but it couldn't. The fact that it is on the table for Chicago, even if that table is wobbly and perhaps missing a few legs, speaks to the immense size of the Chicago skyline (which is still, on average, taller than any other US city) and the restrictive construction rights of other major American cities.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #9763
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Raw population loss is an absurd metric to use. Chicago lost 900,000 but that was only 25% of its total. Detroit lost over a million which was over half.

Which is to say nothing of the complexities of Chicagoan migration.

The tri-state Chicagotown area has vastly increased its population during the same period. It also represents the broad and varied economy of the Chicago area, which is one of the fastest growing in the nation.

All big American cities have seen a decline in population since the 1950s. The rise of public transportation and better suburban amenities mean people don't have to live in the city to work there anymore, which was not always the case. Especially rich cities with affluent residents, like Chicago.

The 2008 credit crisis hit the entire American economy hard. New York was only the first to emerge from the rubble - just like London and Tokyo - because it is a globally important center of commerce. It is not a best representation of the overall health of the American economy, which is still not out of the woods.

Chicago has fared much better than most. It still has the fourth largest city GDP in the world (third in the US), whereas Detroit is not even in the top 100.

Attempting to liken Chicago to Detroit is complete nonsense. Chicago's stagnation is no worse than anywhere else in the country, it only seems worse because - compared to LA and particularly NYC - it had a much more robust pre-credit-crunch economy.

Look at it like this: The Chicago Spire not only won't be built in NYC, but it couldn't. The fact that it is on the table for Chicago, even if that table is wobbly and perhaps missing a few legs, speaks to the immense size of the Chicago skyline (which is still, on average, taller than any other US city) and the restrictive construction rights of other major American cities.
Attempting to liken Chicago with NYC, LA, Tokyo, and london is complete nonsense. You have to look at the trends and trajectories of the cities. Chicago is at the beginning of a Detroit-style collapse. It can certainly be halted and reversed. But the first step is to recognize there's a problem - something which Detroit did far too late. Chicago's politicians and civic leaders have yet to recognize Chicago's budget problems and rapidly shrinking population as the serious problem it is. Instead, they are trying for quick fixes and Band-Aid solutions. What do you think the 2016 Olympic bid was all about?

As far as population loss, yes Chicago is like many other American cities, many of them even worse basket cases like St. Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia. But LA has boomed in population and NYC has never lost more than 10% of its population. Both are currently at their peaks. Houston is growing and will soon nip at Chicago's heals.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 08:14 PM   #9764
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Attempting to liken Chicago with NYC, LA, Tokyo, and london is complete nonsense. You have to look at the trends and trajectories of the cities. Chicago is at the beginning of a Detroit-style collapse. It can certainly be halted and reversed. But the first step is to recognize there's a problem - something which Detroit did far too late. Chicago's politicians and civic leaders have yet to recognize Chicago's budget problems and rapidly shrinking population as the serious problem it is. Instead, they are trying for quick fixes and Band-Aid solutions. What do you think the 2016 Olympic bid was all about?

As far as population loss, yes Chicago is like many other American cities, many of them even worse basket cases like St. Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia. But LA has boomed in population and NYC has never lost more than 10% of its population. Both are currently at their peaks. Houston is growing and will soon nip at Chicago's heals.
Your argument suffers from a massive factual error though. The bulk of the 200,000 people who left Chicago were the poor, who were either priced out or the unfortunate victims of "public housing modernization strategies" (bulldozing the projects). The loss of 200,000 people was actually financially positive for the city which replaced large, poor families on public welfare with more nimble, educated and rich new residents with less people per household. Look at Washington, DC. It's 100x a better run city today with 630k people who are richer than 800k poor people in the 1950s.

Look here: http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/segre...cityid=1714000

Black population 2000: 1,068,054
Black population 2010: 889,783
That's practically the entire drop!

The White population decreased by 50,000 and again those leaving were the poor. Hispanics went up and Asians went up.

And comparing Chicago to sunbelt cities is fatuous. Chicago will never compete with sunny areas close to international borders! LA and Houston are booming because of Hispanic growth. Chicago is too far inland to attract vast numbers of minorities. The best it can do given its geographical realities is strengthen its position as the regional hub or the 2nd business center of the US.

You also ignore that Detroit was primarily industrial. Chicago is primarily commercial. HUGE difference in terms of prospects.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #9765
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Attempting to liken Chicago with NYC, LA, Tokyo, and london is complete nonsense. You have to look at the trends and trajectories of the cities. Chicago is at the beginning of a Detroit-style collapse. It can certainly be halted and reversed. But the first step is to recognize there's a problem - something which Detroit did far too late. Chicago's politicians and civic leaders have yet to recognize Chicago's budget problems and rapidly shrinking population as the serious problem it is. Instead, they are trying for quick fixes and Band-Aid solutions. What do you think the 2016 Olympic bid was all about?

As far as population loss, yes Chicago is like many other American cities, many of them even worse basket cases like St. Louis, Cleveland, Philadelphia. But LA has boomed in population and NYC has never lost more than 10% of its population. Both are currently at their peaks. Houston is growing and will soon nip at Chicago's heals.
Detroit's bankruptcy is actually the first stage of its rebirth. Once the city has cleared these awful debt obligations, it can return to investing in itself. If more reforms occur, that process can accelerate. Philadelphia is growing again and neighborhoods are seeing renewal so I don't get your c.1990 view about Philly.

Of course population is a meaningless metric for this thread. My own city has nearly doubled in size since 1980 and no one is proposing even a 10 story building here.

This discussion belongs in the United States Urban Issues Forum, not here.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 09:16 PM   #9766
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Clean up this thread please! We don't need city vs city comparisons and fighting. Ugh.

This is just pure trolling. Move the discussion somewhere else and leave this thread for real news and specific posts about the skyscraper. We don't need political and economic diatribes.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 11:16 PM   #9767
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Look at it like this: The Chicago Spire not only won't be built in NYC, but it couldn't. The fact that it is on the table for Chicago, even if that table is wobbly and perhaps missing a few legs, speaks to the immense size of the Chicago skyline (which is still, on average, taller than any other US city) and the restrictive construction rights of other major American cities.
3 residential towers exceeding 400 meters couldn't be built in Chicago (or any other city for that matter), but in New York they are already u/c or in prep. And when 432 PA tops out, New York will have a taller skyline than Chicago. By 2020 New York will have about 20 supertalls. So yeah, Chicago is falling behind. That's why the Spire would be such a big boost.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 06:06 AM   #9768
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I that see the trolls are out in full force on here but i'm not surprised. Typically, these are know nothing individuals who think they know what's going on in a city simply by watching Fox News. Let me address some of the lies and inaccurate claims.

First off all, Chicago lost about 190k of its black population. Chicago may have lost the largest number of black residents amongst northern cities, but it's not the only one to have lost African Americans to the south. And a lot of Chicago's black population are still in the area. Chicago's black population lost is due to the removal of public housing units, the violence in many areas on the south and west side and the inability of some of those people to afford living in the city.

Chicago didn't close just a "handful" of schools like some troll claimed. When 50 plus schools are on the chopping blocks, of course there's going to be some resistance. However, closing those schools had to happen. Again, the city lost 190k African American residents so instead of spending limited resources on half empty schools, CPS decided to consolidate.


Meanwhile, Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are growing at a rapid pace. Downtown Chicago, where almost all of the high rise are built, added 48k people last decade, no other city in the US added that many people to its downtown.

Also, downtown Chicago had over 8,000 unsold condos when the finical crisis hit in 2008. Today, that number is around 600 or so, the lowest it's been in over a decade.

The neighborhoods surrounding downtown are also booming. The West loop, where it's nearly impossible to build anything above 10 stories due to all the NIMBYs is seeing lots of residential, hotel and even some office projects. There are several high rise rental projects that have either been completed, proposed or are under construction. Then there are several mid sized condo projects that's been developed or are being developed in the area, some of which have sold out prior to construction. There's at least 2 hotel projects under construction with another 3 or 4 proposed. This is all due to the West loop's growing population, which includes lots of families.

Overall, there are easily 20 hotel projects under construction in the downtown area with several others being proposed on a weekly basis on top of the half dozen or so that recently opened. In the last couple of years, there's been over a dozen high rise rental projects completed there 's over a dozen more currently under construction and many more proposed. 5 + million dollar condos have been selling and the condo market is also starting to pick and demand is growing due to a lack of new product on the market.

River Point may be the only large new office tower under construction currently but there's another one scheduled to break ground next spring. This is on top of the 300k gut rehab in the West Loop where Google is moving its Chicago HQ. There's also the recently completed 200k rehab that Sarah Lee just moved it's GQ into from the suburbs. There's also several smaller rehabs in the works.

Case in point, there' a lot of construction going on in Chicago and just because there isn't a constant flow of 700ft + story buildings being built or proposed doesn't mean things are stagnant. And just because there isn't a thread for every 10, 20, 30 or 40 story building that's proposed or being built in Chicago doesn't mean there's nothing going on. Finally, just because Chicago isn't proposing or building supertalls like NYC, a city that is strapped for land and has a whole different set of dynamics to its economy, doesn't mean its stagnant. The skyline may not be getting much taller at the moment but it's getting denser and it's spreading out, which is a very good thing. Lots of parking lots in the Loop, West loop, and the rest of the downtown area are being filled. At the pace things are going, there won't be many undeveloped sites to build on in the downtown area in a decade or so and developers will have nowhere to go but up.

Last point, Chicago's situation is no where near Detroit's, a comparison the trolls love to make. First of all, Detroit's downfall was decades in the making. Second, Detroit was primarily a one industry town and that industry was one of the hardest hit during the great recession. Third, Chicago is a vibrant city where lots of things are still going on. Its economy is healthy and very diversified. Many of Chicago's industries are doing pretty well. For instance, tourism is up record numbers, hence the reason there's a hotel boom going on.

Yes, Chicago has got to do a better job improving the lives of its poor and underclass but the rest of the city is pretty healthy and doing pretty well. While the unemployment rate in some parts of the south and west side are above 25%, it's only around 5 % downtown and in the surrounding areas and along the north lakefront.

The State, on the other hand, is in pretty bad shape. The lack of action is Springfield is holding the city ransom. For the most part though, Rahm is doing his part to return the city to financial stability. There's is word though that something might finally get done down in Springfield so we'll see how that goes.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 06:29 AM   #9769
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The city government is more at fault in the horrendous financial situation in Chicago than the state. Unreasonable unions and idiotic government management are the primary cause behind Chicago's poor financial health.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 07:06 AM   #9770
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The city government is more at fault in the horrendous financial situation in Chicago than the state. Unreasonable unions and idiotic government management are the primary cause behind Chicago's poor financial health.
True. All of what 3521usa says IS true and was important to point out but there is an important caveat about city finances. They aren't anywhere near Detroit bad but after Daley and the Democratic machine paid off the unions and supporters with generous contracts over the last 25 years there is precious little room for self-improvement initiatives and capital projects that the city could really use. While generally popular at the time in retrospect Daley was at best a mediocre mayor if not a derelict mayor. He made the trains run on time and painted the walls but it was completely done on the backs of future taxpayers.

For once in a long while the Chicago Tribune has done some real journalism and highlighted the mess extensively from various aspects over the last few weeks.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 07:19 AM   #9771
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Daley was classic Chicago: lets fix it for the short term and let other people deal with it later. Unfortunately later has arrived, and it demands interest payments. Chicago is a great city and I truly hope it recovers lost glory (once the 5th largest city in the world, largest industrial hub, etc), but the mentality of the Chicago Machine doesnt seem to be favorable to that happening.
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Old November 19th, 2013, 08:00 AM   #9772
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The city government is more at fault in the horrendous financial situation in Chicago than the state. Unreasonable unions and idiotic government management are the primary cause behind Chicago's poor financial health.
True and no one is denying that but the fact still remains, the city can't do much without things getting done in Springfield.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 07:04 PM   #9773
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I had no idea this thing was back from the dead! Though if it does get resurrected it'll probably be at half its original planned height, and probably only with a spire to get there. Still, I can dream
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Old November 20th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #9774
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I had no idea this thing was back from the dead! Though if it does get resurrected it'll probably be at half its original planned height, and probably only with a spire to get there. Still, I can dream
Sorry, you're not allowed to dream. There are naysayers at the ready to tamp down your enthusiasm.
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Old November 20th, 2013, 08:14 PM   #9775
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Chicago will not go the way of Detroit. Its economy is too diversified for that to happen. Prolonged (decade+) stagnation is what people should really be worried about. The central portion of the city is attractive to the young middle class and wealthier people, but the high tax rates and atrocious management by the Democrat run Chicago political machine makes living in the city a non-option for countless middle class and working class families. These families are the lifeblood of the city's tax revenue and their absence is one of the primary causes of the horrific financial situation of the city.
Hopefully SOMEONE there will get it... like you said, Chicago isn't Detroit but it is badly in need of reform or it will just be economically moribund and that just shouldn't happen especially with all the things Chicago has going for it.
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Old November 21st, 2013, 12:07 AM   #9776
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I'm not too worried about Chicago's population loss. That's mostly the metro area. Chicagoland is always expanding. My hometown is considered part of Chicagoland and it is one fastest growing cities in the state. You can see for yourself via the timelapse. Just find Chicago after the intro is done and zoom in. The suburbs are always expanding, raising demand for structures in the Loop.

http://world.time.com/timelapse/

The only area that we need to worry about is the decay of the inner-city economy that does NOT include downtown.
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Old November 22nd, 2013, 09:49 PM   #9777
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Chicago Spire fight gets personal

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By: Alby Gallun November 22, 2013

The largest creditor on the Chicago Spire is turning up the heat on the failed project's developer.

An affiliate of Related Cos. sued Garrett Kelleher, the Irishman who started and then aborted the condominium project, demanding that he fulfill a personal guarantee he signed to secure a loan for the development, now just a hole in the ground. Related wants a federal judge to force Mr. Kelleher to fork over $95.1 million, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

New York-based Related has been tangling in court with the developer since the summer, when it acquired delinquent debt on the property at Lake Shore Drive and the Chicago River. Mr. Kelleher had been fighting a foreclosure suit filed in 2010, and Related trumped that case last month by forcing the dispute into bankruptcy.

Suing to collect on the guarantee puts even more pressure on Mr. Kelleher. If it wins the case, Related could pursue Mr. Kelleher's personal assets, not just the property he pledged to secure the loan. A foreclosure suit usually stops at the real estate, but many lenders have sued over guarantees since the crash, setting off a scramble to collect whatever assets they can, whether it's artwork, yachts or diamond rings.

“We are confident that all open matters will be resolved through the bankruptcy process,” Mr. Kelleher's Chicago-based lawyer, Thomas Murphy, said in an email.

[...]
If Related wins the suit, this will be Kelleher's last act and possibly, the last we ever see of the Spire.
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 01:08 AM   #9778
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Oh my, I really hope Related will loose this. The US desperately needs a building like the Chicago Spire. This is Kelleher's last chance:

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Old November 23rd, 2013, 02:20 AM   #9779
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Oh my, I really hope Related will loose this. The US desperately needs a building like the Chicago Spire. This is Kelleher's last chance:
I certainly agree that Chicago needs this building or one similar to it but I actually think that if Related wins it may be better for the project. Kelleher proven that he can't get the project going, if he loses the land and the rights to the project maybe somebody else can get things moving.
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Old November 23rd, 2013, 03:55 AM   #9780
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Oh my, I really hope Related will loose this. The US desperately needs a building like the Chicago Spire. This is Kelleher's last chance:

Got that right.
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