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Is that a green roof over the Target???

6,905 Posts,CST-NWS-uptown01.article

Historic Uptown may get an encore at last
Interested firms large enough to restore landmark

December 1, 2006
BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporter

The landmark Uptown Theatre, 4816 N. Broadway, has been mostly unused for 25 years. Community-based plans for a revival foundered because little but hope was behind them.

Now, the Uptown has another chance. This one involves prospective buyers with money and, maybe, a real plan for putting the huge auditorium to use.

Two companies that specialize in concert promotions and large-scale entertainment, Live Nation Inc. and AEG, have examined the property, sources said.

Greg Harris, an aide to Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th), confirmed both companies' interest and said either or both are expected to submit a proposal in December. "These are major groups that have the financial capacity to do the job right," he said.

Harris said both would restore the 1925 building for its original use as a live performance venue.

The local aldermanic office is involved because city officials are pressuring the Uptown's owner to sell. The theater is controlled by Robert Lunn, a financial adviser forced into bankruptcy by creditors who accuse him of misusing their money.

Companies have venues here

The City Council has given Mayor Daley's administration authority to forcibly acquire the theater. Threatening condemnation was a tactic to force Lunn to accept an offer.

Harris said the city hopes a voluntary sale can be worked out. Lunn, he said, has voiced a willingness to cooperate.

Lunn did not return calls. Live Nation had no immediate comment and AEG did not respond to messages.

Live Nation bills itself as "the world's leading live entertainment company" and owns such local venues as the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park and the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis. For $354 million, Live Nation bought the House of Blues nightclub chain a month ago.

It also manages the bookings for the Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island.

AEG owns Toyota Park in Bridgeview, home of another of its properties, the Chicago Fire, one of four Major League Soccer franchises it owns. It also owns the Los Angeles Kings hockey team and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Once part of thriving district

The city planning department declined to say if it has met with the companies. Spokeswoman Connie Buscemi said staffers "haven't seen any proposals yet but we look forward to doing so."

The department oversees landmark buildings and would review any zoning changes the site might need.

The Uptown was done in the Spanish Baroque style for the Balaban & Katz theater chain and anchored an entertainment district that thrived before World War II. It later showed movies and the occasional concert while suffering through a series of owners.

Lunn gained control of the building after the collapse of development ventures of a former business partner, Rudy Mulder. In 2002, Mulder was said to be offering the theater for $2.5 million.

6,905 Posts,CST-FIN-roeder20.article

Sunrise plans to bring Lagrange to Uptown

December 20, 2006
Sun-Times Columnist

Fawad Butt, chief operating officer of Sunrise Development Group, admits that it didn't take a lot of brains to make money in real estate the last few years. If you built it, the buyers came. But now he believes product niches and unique approaches will be needed to succeed, so that's the course he's charted for his young, Rogers Park-based company.

Butt has three residential deals in the works, including one that will bring highly regarded architect Lucien Lagrange to Uptown. Sunrise is finalizing a zoning deal with the city that will permit it to build 179 units in a Lagrange-designed complex in the 4700 block of North Clarendon, across the street from Weiss Memorial Hospital. The project includes an 18-story building, plus low-rise segments.

Lagrange, known for both modern and classical buildings, has been hired to take the modern approach, Butt said.

6,905 Posts


By Andrew Davis

Windy City Times: What accomplishment during this current term are you proudest of?

Mary Ann Smith: I would have to say that a premier developer has signed a contract with the Uptown Theatre (whose name I can’t reveal right now) is pretty important. This is very significant not just because it’s an important structure historically and architecturally but, also, because people have been giving up because property values have gone up. People needed to be reassured that this [area] is viable. It’s also symbolic because so much of what we do is community restoration—revitalizing the community and also historic buildings.

64 Posts

By Jeanette Almada
Special to the Tribune

April 1, 2007

Uptown multi-use project is planned

A 228-unit, mixed-use project is planned for the Uptown neighborhood on land neighboring Weiss Memorial Hospital.

Chicago-based Sunrise Equities and Development Co. will build the project through an entity called Leland Terrace LLC.

The 1.5-acre site consists of four parcels -- the northwest corner of West Leland Avenue and North Clarendon Avenue, at 4700 N. Clarendon; the southwest corner of Lakeside Place and North Clarendon Avenue, at 4730 N. Clarendon; 831 W. Leland Ave; and 834 W. Leland.

Sunrise purchased the site, along with a city-approved planned development for 95 units, from developer Ansonia Properties. The purchase, in 2005, came just months after the city had approved Ansonia's plan, which applied to three of the four parcels, Salman Ibrahim, president of Sunrise, said last week.

Sunrise expanded the plan, adding 133 units. Chicago Plan commissioners in March approved the new plan. City Council approval is needed, and expected in April, Ibrahim said.

"We are still in design stages, but we are trying to change the entire look and feel of the neighborhood; we are going for a very modern look," Ibrahim said.

The site is surrounded by Weiss and residential buildings that went up in the 1960s or earlier. "Our project [designed by Chicago architect Lucien LaGrange] has a very modern look, with a lot of glasswork on the exterior," Ibrahim said.

Plans include the rehab of a vacant five-story building at 4730 N. Clarendon that was once an Alzheimer's residential facility. "It is still early, but we expect to rehab it into a senior-care facility," Ibrahim said.

The developer will build an 18-story building with 165 condominiums -- 17 of them to be sold as affordable units -- at 4700 N. Clarendon, where a former psychiatric hospital had been demolished by Ansonia by the time Sunrise bought the site. "That building will have 7,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space," Ibrahim said. He expects condos in the building to range from estimated 900-square-foot, one-bedroom units to 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom units.

At 831 W. Leland, Sunrise will build a four-story building with eight units. "They will all be affordable, and though we are still planning, we expect that they will be three-bedroom units with about 1,500 square feet of space," Ibrahim said.

Three-story, three-bedroom market-rate townhouses, to go up at 834 W Leland, will have an estimated 2,100 square feet of space, Ibrahim said.

"We expect to begin construction in spring 2008," Ibrahim said, adding that he expects to open a sales center, by fall. Sunrise will sell the units through a Realtor to be selected.

Rogers Park-based Sunrise is building other residential and mixed-use projects, including the 75-unit Pure on 24 S. Morgan, with 4,600 square feet of ground-level retail space.
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

1 Posts
The Target has not yet begun construction. To my knowledge, it's still not 100% that Target has even agreed to move into the retail space there. Currently the new Aldi is mostly finished and a new street has been paved to access the parking lot for it.

1,391 Posts
The one story terra cotta building at Montrose and Broadway will be preserved (or at least the facade). You can see it in the rendering. The old CTA building west of it on Montrose probably will not be saved, though.

My Mind Has Left My Body
7,268 Posts
Decided to post TUP's recent Uptown article from SSP over here as well....,HOF-News-

Uptown on the way up
DEVELOPMENT | New residents change flavor of neighborhood

May 11, 2007
BY CELESTE BUSK [email protected]

Like most Chicago lakefront neighborhoods, Uptown is no stranger to redevelopment. And, like its neighbors Lake View to the south, Edgewater to the north and Lincoln Square/North Center to the west, Uptown is no stranger to controversy as homebuyers have moved into new condos and houses, displacing long-time renters.

For years, this anxiety had a name all its own: Wilson Yard.

What's up in Uptown?
You may know it as the home of the Green Mill, but Uptown lays claim to plenty more good stuff.

Wilson Yard is the former site of a CTA maintenance facility on the west side of Broadway, between Wilson and Montrose. The project's housing component was the subject of heated debate. Like its far north neighbor Rogers Park, for years Uptown was known for its social services agencies and subsidized housing. The longtime alderman -- Helen Shiller, an independent firebrand on the City Council -- had worked to bring a Target retailer and affordable housing development to the site.
But newer, relatively wealthier residents wanted a different flavor of retail there, one that would blend better with the artsy feel of the historic architecture and their vision of the neighborhood. And they have been actively fighting for a different approach to developing the site.

"There are a number of people who live here who are tremendously committed to the community," said John Holden -- who owns a vintage two-flat, is a block club president, and has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years. "They spend untold hours at community meetings. This adds to Uptown and hopefully will help its future," Holden said.

As of this writing, that dispute is over with a whimper if not a bang. Construction begins in July on Shiller's plans for a $140-million development on the Wilson Yard site that calls for a 180,000-square-foot Target, 30,000 square feet of smaller retail and 168 units of affordable housing.

The rental component at Wilson Yard is a 98-unit high-rise apartment building, according to its developer Peter Holsten of Holsten Real Estate Development. Units in that building will be sold to seniors with incomes equivalent to 60 percent of the area median income, or $35,000, for a household of one. Another 78 units will be available for rental to those earning 60 percent of the area median income, or $50,000 for a household of four. The development includes 700 parking spaces.

"This affordability range can qualify instructors at Truman College, police officers and public school teachers," Holsten said. Other plans call for a new Aldi store, which is set to open June 2.

"The retail space is planned to include restaurants, a coffee shop and a bank," Holsten said. At least 100 parking spaces will be available for the smaller retail and general public use. Construction on the Target store is scheduled for June, and the development is scheduled to be completed within 22 months.

To pre-empt big-box sidewalk blight, the Target and other retail stores will front Broadway, while the housing will primarily front Montrose. "The facade of the existing one-story terra cotta building at the northwest corner of Montrose and Broadway will be restored or replicated to the greatest extent possible given the condition of the terra cotta material," Holsten explained.

With the Wilson Yard controversy behind it, Uptown -- bounded roughly by Irving Park Road, Foster Avenue, Lake Michigan and Clark Street -- still has lots of housing, although today far fewer rentals and many more condos. New research by the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University shows that Uptown had 512 large apartment buildings in 1989; it lost 219 (43 percent) by 2004.

Luring the new-home buyers, residents say, are the area's lakefront location, shopping, restaurants and good transportation.

"There are a lot of signs of development all over the neighborhood." Uptown resident Holden said. "And, of course, obviously Uptown's location is fantastic. It's five blocks from the lake -- about five minutes by bike."

Another Uptown attraction is its vintage architecture. "We have three landmark districts here," Holden said. "I'm an architecture freak, and we have some beautiful buildings here."

A theater district centered at Broadway, Lawrence and Racine is working toward revival, slowed somewhat by lagging plans for the 4,500-seat Uptown Theater.

The Chicago landmark building, built in 1925, was the crown jewel in the Balaban and Katz theater chain and the focus of the Uptown entertainment district in the '20s. Another historic music hall, the Aragon Ballroom, is still a flourishing live music venue. The Riviera Theatre, a formerly elegant movie palace, now hosts rough and tumble rock acts from all of over the world. Jazz showcase the Green Mill Lounge has reinvented itself Sunday nights with its poetry slams. And Uptown's cultural edge is emerging at the Kinetic Play-ground, the namesake for the legendary '60s club where stars like Jimi Hendrix played.

Nevertheless, Holden said there have been a number of issues over the years regarding public safety. He points to the L stop at Wilson and Broadway, which has been a community eyesore for decades.

Holsten, the Wilson Yard developer, says plans are under way to remove the blight from the L stop. The architecturally significant structure will be completely restored on the outside and completely new on the inside.

"It will be brand, spanking new, so more people will use it," Holsten said. "The more people, the lesser the crime." That project is expected to be completed by early next year. he said.

"I'll believe that when I see it," Holden said. "There have been so many plans over the years for that station and nothing has happened. But if it does happen, that would be great," he said. "But right now, the L stop is very intimidating and is a place where vagrants loiter. It's gotten a little better in recent years, but I still avoid that station," Holden said.

There's so much going on in this neighborhood it's hard to capture it all. Uptown consists of several smaller upscale residential enclaves, including the historic landmark districts. These include the Hutchinson Street District (a city landmark district), the Sheridan Park Historic District (a national landmark district), Buena Park Historic District (a national landmark district), Clarendon Park and Margate Park. Each of these landmark districts has its own homeowners association.

"The fact that we have three historic districts is a big draw," said Joyce Dugan, president and chief executive officer of the Uptown Chicago Commission, an economic development corporation. "People are interested in historic preservation, and we have some very attractive older housing.

"Also," Dugan said, "there has been a huge resurgence of people interested in city life and wanting to live closer to downtown. And, Uptown is only about a half-hour to the Loop or Millennium Park, so people are coming here."

Many students who attend Truman College live in the area. Springing up nearby the college's Wilson Avenue address are cafes, coffee houses and lounges. One harbinger of the changing neighborhood is a Nick's bar, a northern cousin to the popular Lincoln Park watering hole.

Ethnic influences
Uptown is home to people from many parts of the world, and exhibits influences from many cultures. Argyle Street, from Sheridan to Broadway and spilling onto Broadway features an exceptional selection of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, French Vietnamese and Cambodian ethnic restaurants and bakeries.
The Clark Street Corridor -- running north from Montrose to Foster avenues on the western edge of Uptown -- also is undergoing a rebirth with new condominiums, retail and restaurants.

"Spilling north from the Graceland West neighborhood into East Ravenswood and West Uptown, growth in the Clark Street Corridor is being sparked by the sale of new upscale condominium developments," said Susie Kanter, sales associate for Rubloff Residential Properties.

Another revitalization catalyst is the completed $24.3-million Phoenix at Uptown Square, a mixed-use condominium and retail developments on Broadway, just south of Lawrence in the heart of Uptown.

The former Goldblatt's department store now hosts 37 lofts and new-construction condominiums, and 41,000 square-feet of retail space, including a Borders Books and Music store at Broadway and Racine.

"Home shoppers looking for everything from affordable condos and rental apartments to posh lofts and Queen Anne mansions can take their pick at the diverse housing stock in the Uptown neighborhood," noted Paul Hardej, president of Metropolitan Development Enterprises, which is developing the ambitious Rainbo Village on the 2-plus-acre site of the former Rainbo roller rink at 4836 N. Clark.

Situated on the border of historic Uptown and Andersonville neighborhoods, Metropolitan's Rainbo Village is a condominium development drawing first-time buyers.

"Soft loft condominiums have been the draw for young, urban buyers at Rainbo Village," Hardej said. "We have diversity here. People from Uptown, Andersonville and Lake View are upgrading from rental to ownership.

Rainbo Village is home to 127 soft loft condominiums, duplexes and town houses as well as 15,000 square feet of retail space. Open, soft-loft floor plans with spacious 10-foot ceilings are the earmark of Rainbo Village's Kinetic Lofts, a collection of 88 loft condominiums in two five-story buildings. Homes will be built around a courtyard garden that features stone pieces from the original Rainbo facade.
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