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Old August 12th, 2007, 09:36 PM   #321
Mr Downtown
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Some residents of nearby blocks objected to X/O as out of keeping with the historic character of the adjacent Prairie Avenue Historic District, and as incompatible with the 2004 Near South Community Plan, which does not anticipate tall buildings on that site. Some of them feel they were misled by the former alderman and feel they were not properly represented by the Greater South Loop Association, so they formed a new organization, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.

Architecture fans on this forum admire the design of the buildings and dismiss the neighbors' objections.

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Old August 12th, 2007, 10:25 PM   #322
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Interesting. Still, I'm wary of so many coincidences at once - the mistaken identity at the dinner party, the overhearing of a telephone conversation - are you sure you don't run Whole Foods?
Oh, the timing wasn't close. The one-third thing was over a month ago; the phone conversation was Friday. I think the lack of discretion is more surprising. Maybe I'm a really private person; but, I never have business conversations within earshot of others.

Heh! I like the Rahodeb reference. Too bad I have nothing to tout (except Chicago, natch). I'd love to see a nice hotel with a lounge/restaurant/wine bar on that parcel (something like the SoHo Grand). Or even townhouses. Anything other than what's there now.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 10:31 PM   #323
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Architecture fans on this forum admire the design of the buildings and dismiss the neighbors' objections.
I wouldn't go that far. It's a nice design; but, I *hate* the parking block base. I really wish that had been put underground -- or just given a similarly fresh design. Architecturally, that part stinks.

As for the neighbors' concerns, the sewer problems in the area are real; but, any development will have to handle that. The 'look and feel' complaint is the most unenforceable garbage I've ever heard. Even a stroll along Astor St (cue the angel choir) will show similar juxtapositions.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #324
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Interesting. Still, I'm wary of so many coincidences at once - the mistaken identity at the dinner party, the overhearing of a telephone conversation - are you sure you don't run Whole Foods?
And it's an even greater coincidence is that his first post on SSC ever, which was a day ago, made a bold and bizzare that the X/O project is dead (he also claimed that 1550 South Wabash is probably dead too - even though construction has already begun).

I could be wrong, but my guess is that this guy is a member of the PDNA (perhaps even one of the two PDNA guys who post on this thread, and got a second account). He's pretending to claim that he actually likes the project, but that it won't make it because of financing reasons. His thinking is that way, all the level-headed people on this site who support X/O won't spend any more time writing letters to Fioretti in support of this project or doing anything else to further X/O's cause - as they would assume that it would just be a waste of their time anyway if the project is going to die because of financing.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 01:16 AM   #325
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XO is dead. Financing was via Countrywide; they've pulled out for a number of reasons:

1) pending downzoning (they don't want to be involved with any legal uncertainty),
2) slow sales (a month ago, the fraction of units sold was about a third),
3) armageddon in credit markets,
4) Coutrywide's particular woes (they are pulling financing all over and will likely go bankrupt).

Unfortunately, that financing was sort of a package deal -- taking with it many of their other projects (including some financing for the parcel south of River City). Overall, F&G are spread thin; they hold an ungodly amount of unlet commercial space. I'd hazard that they might even go into bankruptcy.

Where will this leave all these projects? People who've "bought"? No idea; we're entering uncharted territory.
So deciding to not to with a particular lender equates to a project being "dead"? Rather, I would guess you claimed that "XO is dead" so that your BS story would have a lot more shock value and get many more people's attention.

Also, I could be mistaken but X/O didn't have financing in place with Countrywide, or any other lender for that matter. Most developments typically don't secure financing until they are at 50% in terms of sales (if not more) so that they can gain more favorable terms in their loans...and that they don't secure financing until they are just about ready to begin construction (this seems to be the case in just about every project and it makes sense....why would you secure financing 6 months before construction is to begin when you could do that 6 months later when you have made more sales and thus will get better loan terms?). X/O's officials have stated that construction won't begin on the first tower until this winter....I doubt that they had financing with Countrywide or anyone else, contrary to what you said.

Regardless, your whole story with all of its inaccuracies, coindicences, overhearing phone calls that you shouldn't have, and then making your very first post on SSC claiming that "XO is dead" yesterday (even though supposedly they are only not getting financing from Countrywide - even if true by no means that XO is dead) reeks of BS.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:26 AM   #326
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Also, I could be mistaken but X/O didn't have financing in place with Countrywide, or any other lender for that matter. Most developments typically don't secure financing until they are at 50% in terms of sales (if not more) so that they can gain more favorable terms in their loans...and that they don't secure financing until they are just about ready to begin construction (this seems to be the case in just about every project and it makes sense....why would you secure financing 6 months before construction is to begin when you could do that 6 months later when you have made more sales and thus will get better loan terms?). X/O's officials have stated that construction won't begin on the first tower until this winter....I doubt that they had financing with Countrywide or anyone else, contrary to what you said.
I don't anything about the deal terms for X/O, but that is an excellent point about timing. That story about Countrywide does not seem to make a lot sense. If anything, all they would need is a bridge loan, and even in these jacked up markets, you can get a reasonable term sheet. But even then, they should not need that type of funding until they are ready to start construction.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:33 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Some residents of nearby blocks objected to X/O as out of keeping with the historic character of the adjacent Prairie Avenue Historic District, and as incompatible with the 2004 Near South Community Plan, which does not anticipate tall buildings on that site. Some of them feel they were misled by the former alderman and feel they were not properly represented by the Greater South Loop Association, so they formed a new organization, the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.

Architecture fans on this forum admire the design of the buildings and dismiss the neighbors' objections.

It's not just fans of quality architecture who are pushing for it. It is also those who truly want to respect districts of historic character and proponents of quality urban planning and design. You continue to have difficulty with issues dealing with historic character (and of course continued misinterpretation of neighborhood plans...)
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:35 AM   #328
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I'm no PDNA mole, believe me. I live here in South Loop; but, I've been sorely disappointed with the PDNA. They can't seem to come up with anything other than esthetic complaints. That doesn't cut the mustard. So while I believe firmly in their right to organize expression of their opinions, I also believe that they're unprofessional, lacking in polish, and woefully unable to use the opportunities given to them. Had they really known what they were doing, they could have seized power via the courts and killed XO long ago. Instead, they circulate petitions begging the people in power to throw them a crumb. Lame.

As for overhearing development plans in the South Loop, come down here and go to the few nice restaurants. You won't need long before somebody airs their public laundry. A year ago, I heard a guy nearly give away his development plan at the bar in Cuatro. The South Loop just isn't that big a place -- especially with developers being a large part of the clientele at nicer establishments.

Now as for 1555 S. Wabash (which one of you referrred to as 1550): I certainly did not say that it is dead. Rather, I stated that one might take bets as to its eventual demise. (i.e. a dead pool) Construction has started and stopped a few times and, last I looked, they'd done nothing more than grade the land. That's no commitment. I'm skeptical of anyone who isn't pouring concrete right now. Does that make me a pessimist? Sure. But a pessimist is different than a fool. And saying I'm in with the PDNA is putting me in the latter camp rather than the former.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #329
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..

Last edited by Loopy; May 18th, 2010 at 08:28 PM.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #330
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..

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Old August 14th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #331
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PDNA MOLE

PDNA moles? Hardly. A mole infiltrates a group in order to gain confidential information that will be revealed to the group's detriment later. This is a public bulletin board. Unless you guys are sharing secret developer/architect handshakes and rituals via PMs it would be difficult to be a mole here. Stick with PDNA douche bags.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 10:30 PM   #332
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Quote:
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Large condo developments do rely on "pre-construction" financing for architect fees, sales center development, sales staff and project managers salaries.
For sure. But those fees are fraction of hard costs and could easily be covered by bridge/mezz/whatever-you-want-to-call-it financing. These types of loans are always expensive; meaning the current problems in the credit markets do not exacerbate pricing on these aggressive loans. Furthermore, mezzanine is not determined by presale, or is by a much smaller fraction than permanent/large loan would be, but instead drawn against the developers credit.

Again, I have no inside info; I am just raising questions about the validity of this rumor that the debt markets have screwed X/O.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 01:12 AM   #333
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Again, I have no inside info; I am just raising questions about the validity of this rumor that the debt markets have screwed X/O.
Not to mention, why would that guy only post on the X/O thread, claiming that the project is dead. According to SSP, there are 92 proposed buildings in Chicago that are greater or equal to 12 stories high. Why didn't this guy go into any of the other proposed building threads and claim that those projects are "dead" as well? I don't see why the current condition of the debt markets would make it any more likely that X/O won't get built as opposed to any other proposed building in Chicago.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 01:54 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by Sir Isaac Newton View Post
Not to mention, why would that guy only post on the X/O thread, claiming that the project is dead. According to SSP, there are 92 proposed buildings in Chicago that are greater or equal to 12 stories high. Why didn't this guy go into any of the other proposed building threads and claim that those projects are "dead" as well? I don't see why the current condition of the debt markets would make it any more likely that X/O won't get built as opposed to any other proposed building in Chicago.
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Originally Posted by Lux Veritas
I'm skeptical of anyone who isn't pouring concrete right now.
I guess that covers my suspecting other buildings will also die.

Why not post about those developments? Because I don't run into those developers casually. The current condition of debt markets is that for these more illiquid loans, there ISN'T a market. As in 'no bids'. Most banks don't have infinite balance sheet; they depend on securitization to free up capital and make more loans. As that gets difficult, they pull back on some loans.

Clearly, 315bp over Libor for a CDS doesn't mean anything to you; so, let me put it this way: I cannot recall seeing a financial company quoted over 200bp that avoided bankruptcy. Ergo, I would not hold my breath on any project they are financing. A bridge loan could help; but, many of the banks that make those have subprime losses and are being told by risk management to get out of loans, not in.

This is how credit squeezes go. Read up on what happened in Japan, or anywhere else after a boom. The results are very painful for a half-year or more. Go read pages 27-28 of Kindleberger's _Manias, Panics, and Crashes_; it will sound very familiar.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 11:06 PM   #335
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I wish the admins would quit locking this thread.

Anyway...

Prairie Avenue History Tours

A Guided Tour of Chicago's Original Gold Coast

Led by William Tyre

Prairie Avenue, between 16th and 22nd streets reigned as Chicago's premier residential street during the last three decades of the 19th-century. By the early 1890s, over 75 millionaires resided there, including Marshall Field, Phillip Armour and George Pullman. This tour will transport you back to an era when grand mansions and elegant dinner parties were the order of the day. Learn about the business and personal lives of Chicago's most influential citizens and the neighborhood they called home.

Tour Highlights

Exterior Tour of the 11 surviving residences, 9 of which are Chicago Landmarks.

For more information visit
http://www.glessnerhouse.org/programs.html

View vintage photos of the homes which have been lost.

Interior tour of the last surviving mansions on adjacent Calumet Aveneue, recently restored to its Second Empire grandeur and now functioning as a boutique hotel.

Interior tour of the Second Presbyterian Church, featuring nine Tiffany stained glass windows and an extraordinary Arts and Crafts interior designed by

Howard Van Doren Shaw with murals by Frederic Clay Bartlett.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 12:10 AM   #336
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thaks for the link, I'll be making a day of it.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:44 PM   #337
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Updates? I dont like going a week w/o X/O news.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:25 PM   #338
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This is directly from the agenda for tomorrow (thurs.) morning's Chicago City Council Committee on Zoning meeting in council chambers at 10am:

No. A-7235 (2nd Ward) Ordinance Referred (7-19-07)
To classify as DX-5 Downtown Mixed-Use District, instead of Residential Planned Development No. 1033, the area bounded by

A line 547.13 feet north of and parallel to East 18th Street; South Prairie Avenue; East 18th Street; and the alley next west of and parallel to South Prairie Avenue

(Map 4-E) 1712 South Prairie Avenue


First of all, I can't believe this actually made it on the agenda. Second, how does everybody like the fact that Little Bobbie Fioretti has decided to risk tens of millions of our tax dollars on a sure-lose lawsuit? He's a Loser, with a big L....
From an email I received...

XO to be Down Zoned ???
73 Story Building Coming to Central Station ???[/


Thursday, October 25 at 10 AM


The City Council's Committee on Zoning will be meeting at City Hall, located at 121 North LaSalle Street, in Room 201-A. The Committee on Zoning, which is chaired by Alderman William Banks, votes upon proposed zoning changes, which then go before the full City Council for final approval. There are two ordinances that are of great concern to many South Loop residents that were originally scheduled to be heard by the Committee at the October 25 meeting.

The first ordinance would down zone the XO Development at 1712 South Prairie Avenue to the originally allowable height for that location before XO was approved by the City Council last year. The second ordinance would increase the height of the third "Grant Park South Wall" building at the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Indiana by 100 feet, or approximately 10 stories. Both ordinances were introduced by 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti.

According to a staff person with the Committee, both of these ordinances are going to be deferred and will not be heard at the October 25 meeting. According to the Committee agenda (attached below) however, both of these ordinances are still showing as being on the schedule.

Regarding ordinances that are scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Zoning, interested parties wishing to testify either for or against a proposed ordinance may do so by signing in at the beginning of the meeting.

For more information on the meeting, visit http://www.chicityclerk.com/citycoun...ning102507.pdf
For a link to a recent article on XO, visit http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/n...07-20&id=25726

This has been deferred until November 20th. We'll see what happens.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:59 PM   #339
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I like the towers but the bases are really ugly.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 03:44 AM   #340
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I love Fioretti's last quote in that article:

“I’m not one that likes to see litigation,” he says, “but I think that everybody believes that this is an inappropriate structure at this location.”

Really? Everybody? What a douche.
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