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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:00 PM   #221
wrabbit
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Poetic vs Prosaic

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.....From the Central Plan "...the scale and density of new development will require special attention to the effect on the neighborhood, district, and Central Area. The most signiificant buildings must be protected, the distinctive identity of special areas maintained,....Key Recommendations: Preservation and sensitive infill in the Prairie Avenue District respecting the scale and character of this important Landmark District" (this is the entire District)
The new Spertus annex on the Michigan Ave cliff is a great example of how a contemporary, forward looking building can maintain the distinctive identity of an important, landmarked district through massing, scale & other formal considerations (and actually enhance the older buildings around it!) without resorting to the kind of inacurate, non-historical pastiche that unimaginative developers currently peddle as historical & respectful.

True historical recontruction can be fine if it is done well (the board has discussed this previously in another project forum - old castles in Japan, entire bombed-out villages is Europe have been rebuilt this way); Pricey though, because there aren't many skilled craftsmen (eg, stonecutters) left, and the companies that provide all of those little architectural flourishes & ornaments that we so like today are long gone. However, these bulky, squat developer homes aren't at all in this category.

I think of those strange little "Renaissance Faires" wherein Bob & Sally put on polyester robes, brandish some plastic swords & toss in some "thees" & "thous" (for authenticity) - the whole experience is bogus, historically inaccurate & really just a little sad, dippy & depressing.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:21 PM   #222
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Spertus

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The new Spertus annex on the Michigan Ave cliff is a great example of how a contemporary, forward looking building can maintain the distinctive identity of an important, landmarked district through massing, scale & other formal considerations (and actually enhance the older buildings around it!) without resorting to the kind of inacurate, non-historical pastiche that unimaginative developers currently peddle as historical & respectful.

True historical recontruction can be fine if it is done well (the board has discussed this previously in another project forum - old castles in Japan, entire bombed-out villages is Europe have been rebuilt this way); Pricey though, because there aren't many skilled craftsmen (eg, stonecutters) left, and the companies that provide all of those little architectural flourishes & ornaments that we so like today are long gone. However, these bulky, squat developer homes aren't at all in this category.

I think of those strange little "Renaissance Faires" wherein Bob & Sally put on polyester robes, brandish some plastic swords & toss in some "thees" & "thous" (for authenticity) - the whole experience is bogus, historically inaccurate & really just a little sad, dippy & depressing.

Apples and Oranges...Spertus is not residential, nor are most of the buildings around it. Also the building scale of Spertus is not outlandish and in generally in context with the area. What if the Spertus was 90 stories, would you say the same thing?

I like Spertus, but if you were to build 20 in the same area, you would do what planners and developers have essentially done to destroy MAG Mile farther North.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:50 PM   #223
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Apples and Oranges...Spertus is not residential, nor are most of the buildings around it.
Irrelevant, unless one wants to keep out new residents - alas, this is an old Chicago pecadillo.

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Also the building scale of Spertus is not outlandish and in generally in context with the area.
Exactly - modernism can be contextual, too.

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What if the Spertus was 90 stories, would you say the same thing?
Oh, probably not on that part of the cliff face, but hard to say w/o seeing a proposal. Plenty of towers in town I wouldn't care to see anywhere

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I like Spertus, but if you were to build 20 in the same area.....
Why on earth would anyone want to build 20 Spetus annexes in one area?

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.....(Y)ou would do what planners and developers have essentially done to destroy MAG Mile farther North.
The Wrigley, Trib, Medinah & Hancock towers are some of my favorite towers on the planet.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 09:35 PM   #224
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Irrelevant, unless one wants to keep out new residents - alas, this is an old Chicago pecadillo.

The Wrigley, Trib, Medinah & Hancock towers are some of my favorite towers on the planet.
1. Not keeping new development out; there are plenty of lots and spaces
in and surrounding the District for increased density. That is the point.

2. Agree 100% - my side point on 20 Spertus buildings is that the
proliferation of crappy, comercial driven only modern spaces on the MAG
Mile, is that contextually ruins or cheapens the Wrigley, Trib, Medinah,
Hancock. I think Spertus has achieved a great balance. But the builders
did not try to over build in desperation of potential profit through sheer
volume of size and scale (like X/O) for something that fits well.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 09:47 PM   #225
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Quote:
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1. Not keeping new development out; there are plenty of lots and spaces in and surrounding the District for increased density. That is the point.
Right, then the point is irrelevant to style.

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2. Agree 100% - my side point on 20 Spertus buildings is that theproliferation of crappy, comercial driven only modern spaces on the MAG Mile, is that contextually ruins or cheapens the Wrigley, Trib, Medinah, Hancock. I think Spertus has achieved a great balance. But the builders did not try to over build in desperation of potential profit through sheer volume of size and scale (like X/O) for something that fits well.
Right - the same formal concerns apply whether the building is modern, pomo or whatever...
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 01:43 AM   #226
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Through out Chicago's history there has been episodes in time we the population favors limiting the height of structures. Should idealogy proven to stunt economic growth and adds nothing to a city's image. I strongly feel that building of great importance ( historic & architecturally) should be preserve. HOWEVER we should not try to save every old building simply because it is old. We should respect a neighborhood's character but we must also realize that a city is an ever evolving place that must be allows to grow. There are no arguments that sprawls have and are a serious strain on the enviroment and economically. As long as we demand good and great architecture from any new development, we should not fear tall structures.
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Old June 5th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #227
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The next Friends of Downtown Brown Bag presentation
Thursday, June 7th at 12.15

Chicago Cultural Center
Millennium Room, 5th floor east

Projects by Lucien LaGrange

For the past 22 years, Lucien LaGrange has transformed downtown Chicago’s skyline with nearly two dozen new buildings. The architect will discuss his design for X/O, being constructed at 1712 South Prairie, and offer a look at other new projects including the Ritz-Carlton Residences, the Blackstone Hotel, and 208 South LaSalle.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:44 PM   #228
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http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archi...News070713.htm

The X/O development at 1712 S. Prairie Ave. is well underway, with 75% of the first of two towers already sold, said Lagrange, who is this project’s architect as well. “Dancing figures in the sky moving away from each other like tango dancers,” is how Lagrange describes the ultramodern design of the two X/O towers. Groundbreaking is anticipated in winter 2008, with move-ins expected in 2010. The development team also includes Frankel & Giles and Kargil Development.

Lagrange acknowledged the controversy the project created, with some community members preferring a modern design and others a historical one. Much controversy remains, and legal input has been sought, stated Jeffrey Ayersman, treasurer of the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA), at a recent meeting.

The development will consist of 525 dwellings with 600 garage spaces. Two glass-clad towers, one 45 stories high and the other 35 stories, will be built in tandem behind a row of townhouses, which are designed to harmonize with Prairie Avenue structures such as the Glessner House located across the street. Prices range from the high $200,000s to more than $1 million.

“No two units are alike,” said Lagrange. The building will provide a spa, an environmentally friendly “aqua grotto” on the roof, movie screening room, fitness center, and one-quarter acre park.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 08:53 AM   #229
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^ Great news on X/O. This one is in the bag. The thoroughly wrong-headed positions taken by Ayersman, Feldstein, McClendon, Ermdiego, "Mr. Downtown", etc have been soundly trounced on the issue. Much like Park Michigan, this is a fantastic project that is appropriately designed and scaled for its setting. Good planning, urban design, forsward-thinking and aesthetic sophistication have won out over NIMBYism, misplaced backward-looking sentimentalism and clumsy design taste in this case. Let's all hope this is one out of many, many similar victories that are yet to come...
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Old July 7th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #230
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To be honest, I'm only supporting this project because of its progressive design so close to the lakefront. The Prairie District simply cannot keep its totally low-scale character when simple market principles and precedent dictate that lake views are desirable, especially so close to downtown, and parcels along the lakeshore will be developed densely.

If this project were to be proposed in a historic district NOT near the lake, and faced a similar reaction, I'd be inclined to side with the NIMBYs.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #231
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Crane Article Today

July 20, 2007
By Alby Gallun

Proposed zoning change threatens South Loop project
(Crain’s) — Newly elected 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti has introduced a zoning change that would shrink a controversial South Loop condominium project, potentially triggering a lawsuit from the developer.

More: http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/n...searchType=all
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Old July 20th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #232
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I see a developers lawsuit coming, and I side with them on this one. X/O should be built.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #233
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I see a developers lawsuit coming, and I side with them on this one. X/O should be built.
Would it ever get built with out some financial risk? If, as the article indicates, the sales are "about 200" out of 490, that does not seem that good for all the agressive marketing and publicty (pro & con). And is this likely before the contruction loan is granted (possible investor units held that go back on market)?

Many projects, larger and smaller, have started far later and are cruising at a far better pace on sales. Now granted some of these are under construction, but per other sites like Yo, here are some numbers:

Printers Corner 69% U/C
Vetro 53% U/C
Aqua 87% U/C
340 on the Park, Related Midwest's 62-story tower Lakeshore East - 99%
Waterview Tower, which, at 90 stories 60%
550 St. Clair. 85%
One Museum Park -95% Sold U/C
One Museum Park - West Tower - 75% U/C
1400 Museum Park - 88% U/C
Marquee - 1445 S. Michigan - 87% U/C
Six North Michigan - 30% (and they have not yet opened sales center) U/C
Michigan Avenue Tower II - 85% - U/C
Vision on State - sold out - built
2100 South Indiana 15% - sold - launched 6 weeks ago
1600 Museum Park 60%+U/C
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Old July 20th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #234
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Waterview Tower, which, at 90 stories 60%

From what I've heard coming from the grapevine, I question this particular stat.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #235
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As for a lawsuit, why would Giles and his partner immediately sue the city? Is no one practical here? How easy is it going to be for those developers to get future developments and city processing once they have become legal adversaries with the city and the alderman of the 2nd ward. If X/O is stopped on Prairie look for deals to be made and a property swap so it can go up somewhere else. People are much more practical in real life than they are cast here, deals will be made and things worked out.

How about a small dose of reality here for a change instead of the polarized wrong conclusion jumped to adversarial nonsense?
From Kargil's point of view, a suit would be inevitable and practical, because they would probably win. I can't see them not suing when there are millions of dollars at stake. Their relationship with the city would be minimally damaged - afterall, it's the city that would have initiated the adversarial pulling of the rug from under Kargil's feet.

The good news is that the City Council knows this and probably will not pass the zoning change. The City has much to loose if it passes.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 12:17 AM   #236
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[QUOTETheir relationship with the city would be minimally damaged - afterall, it's the city that would have initiated the adversarial pulling of the rug from under Kargil's feet.

The good news is that the City Council knows this and probably will not pass the zoning change. The City has much to loose if it passes.[/QUOTE]

Really, what is the track record of alderman on zoning changes opposing the proposal of one of their own? Is their a consistent track record where the council has defeated these proposals on the basis of probable litigation?

And the other point that this is pandering to PDNA that got Fioretti elected? Really? Fioretti carried the ward with more than 6,000 total votes, beating Haithcock 2-1 and with Haithcock carrying I think only 4 or 5 out of the 50 precincts. I can't imagine that even PDNA would would say they represented more than a hundred or perhaps 2 hundred votes.

Why isn't it more logical to see this action as Fioretti living up to his campaign platform -- that developers will no long get everything they want because of their monetary influence with the office, and every development has to have community support or community benefit to gain approval?

And even though my post the XO board got wiped off, I will reiterate here -- Giles development has almost been exclusively made up of 2nd ward projects. You really believe Kargil thinks the best plan here is to go to the mat against the Alderman? Maybe he wins the battle but loses the war?
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Old July 21st, 2007, 12:43 AM   #237
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These are excerpts from an article in the near west gazette a few months back. In it, DPD makes excruciatingly clear that the permit process for the towers was legal and had full disclosure to the community. Further, the DPD position, from an urban planning viewpoint, is that the "historic district" argument, is bullshit. The quotes in that article alone make any legal challenge to this project unsustainable. But legality aside, it doesn't seem at all likely that the city would side with the PDNA in this case anyway.


http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archi...story0507f.htm

The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) has filed a procedural challenge with the City’s Department of Planning and Development asking for clarification on aspects of the approved X/O luxury highrise project at 1700 S. Prairie Ave, which would erect one tower of 45 stories and another 33 stories high. The City, however, found no reason for an investigation and nothing inappropriate in the project’s approval process.

The City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) said that, although the PDNA objects to having two tall towers near the historic Prairie District, the property actually sits just north of the district and fits into the City’s plan for the South Loop for several reasons. For example, according to Constance Buscemi, DPD spokesperson, the X/O development will be down the block from other new—and taller—buildings, the corner will provide open space that is accessible and available to the community, the project will provide parking as required, and the development will be set back behind townhouses in accordance with the South Loop plan.

“Development means that you mix old with new—a mix of heights and density,” Buscemi said. “If you never developed anything, it would stay the same. You do not preserve a historic district by creating new buildings that mimic it but [by constructing ones] that are different so you don’t confuse historic buildings with recently erected buildings.”

Buscemi confirmed the developers completed the approval process in the correct manner by holding community meetings and going through the City Planning Commission and Zoning Committee, where the public can comment.

“It was an open, public process judged on its merits, and it was approved,” Buscemi said. “There was nothing inappropriate and no reason for investigation.”

“The public and community review of this project took place over a period of over six months, which allowed comment and community input from many, many different sources," Giles wrote in a letter that was read aloud at the last GSLA meeting. "The result was a project that was approved without significant objection.”
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Old July 21st, 2007, 12:47 AM   #238
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[QUOTE=Prairie Avenue;14368877]
Quote:

Really, what is the track record of alderman on zoning changes opposing the proposal of one of their own? Is their a consistent track record where the council has defeated these proposals on the basis of probable litigation?

And the other point that this is pandering to PDNA that got Fioretti elected? Really? Fioretti carried the ward with more than 6,000 total votes, beating Haithcock 2-1 and with Haithcock carrying I think only 4 or 5 out of the 50 precincts. I can't imagine that even PDNA would would say they represented more than a hundred or perhaps 2 hundred votes.

Why isn't it more logical to see this action as Fioretti living up to his campaign platform -- that developers will no long get everything they want because of their monetary influence with the office, and every development has to have community support or community benefit to gain approval?

And even though my post the XO board got wiped off, I will reiterate here -- Giles development has almost been exclusively made up of 2nd ward projects. You really believe Kargil thinks the best plan here is to go to the mat against the Alderman? Maybe he wins the battle but loses the war?
OK, we'll see how it all plays out...

I don't know why you are getting so confrontational. I was just stating my point of view on the situation, which is that of a large developer.

I would sue to protect the millions of dolars already invested and potentially lost with a rezoning. And sue to protect my rights. I would still get plenty of pity from the DPD and Mayor, and after losing the suit, the Alderman would be practically impotent to try to stop me on future projects. But, that's my personal analysis. I would like to analyze the Council's track record of approving changes that would have a high probability of harming the City itself. I'd be glad to discuss it further if you'd like to take a less confrontational demeanor.

Never did I say that PDNA single-handedly elected Fioretti, but many of their people played key rolls in his volunteer organization and helped much with community visiblility and fundraising. That precinct was the strongest in favor of Bob in the primary and runoff. Like it or not, Fioretti owes much of his success to them. (of course not all of it)
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Old July 21st, 2007, 12:51 AM   #239
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I only know of one case (Eugenie Terrace) where City Council has gone against aldermanic prerogative for his own ward. I believe the law department vigorously defended aldermanic downzonings for the second New York tower and for 65 E. Goethe and 1350 N Lake Shore Dr. However, I've never heard of a PD being rescinded, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Haithcock was so clueless that she didn't appear to understand that a PD was an ordinance she introduced. (In a forum during the last campaign, she told me "oh, planned developments. I don't have anything to do with those.") I think she was just given instructions by someone in the mayor's office.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 01:02 AM   #240
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Mr Downtown

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Haithcock was so clueless that she didn't appear to understand that a PD was an ordinance she introduced. (In a forum during the last campaign, she told me "oh, planned developments. I don't have anything to do with those.") I think she was just given instructions by someone in the mayor's office.
You hit the Nail on the Head - 100% concurrance. I often wondered how much of this was an act to confuse and demoralize.
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