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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With buildings like Trump and Waterview underway, others well on the way to development, and the promise of Chicago Spire looking better and better, some eye-popping views are about to get seriously enhanced.

What effect will this have on high rise development removed from the general downtown area and the lakefront?

In other words, will the offering of the type of Chicago-Skyline-on-Steroids contribute to inland residential high rise clusters to take advantage of the view?

My sense is that the condos that have risen and are still rising in downtown Evanston and a project like the Optima Woods in Skokie have views of downtown as one of their major selling points. Wouldn't areas on the West Side (or NW and SW sides) offer even more eye popping views?

Could some of our inland parks become like Forest Park in St. Louis, well removed from downtown but with high rises that take advantage of park and city views?

If ever there were a time for this....
 

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Oh most definitely. It's happening in Toronto and there's no doubt it will happen in the Windy City. Nice views scaffolded by tremendous waterfronts give developers a great chance to jack up prices and build, build, build. People want to be able to wake up to a waterfront backed up by an awesome skyline. Chicago is no doubt gifted with natural and man made beauty; developers know that, and you're completely right.
 

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I wonder when, or if, Oak Park will realize the views waiting to be had if the'd build some downtown skyscrapers.

Same thing, but even more in some ways, goes for places like Hammond, East Chicago and Gary.
 

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I honestly doubt that we'll see a lot of highrises going up in the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs. The NIMBY pressure is too great in places like Oak Park to get anything large scale built.

Where we're most likely to see high rises built outside the Loop are in areas that minimize the NIMBY influence: freeways, PMDs that may eventually convert (I'm talking to you Goose Island), near other large commercial buildings like hospitals, etc.

It's interesting to me that Forest Park in St. Louis was discussed, because I lived within a couple of miles of FP for several years. There isn't really much that I would hold up as a model around Forest Park. The best example of urban and suburban working together I've found in the Midwest is Clayton, MO mile or two west of Forest Park. Clayton developed as a result of St. Louis business packing up and moving out of the city and into the county. A lot of them settled here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I honestly doubt that we'll see a lot of highrises going up in the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs. The NIMBY pressure is too great in places like Oak Park to get anything large scale built.
I suppose this is relevant here although, to a degree, it has been touched on before:

Why did Oak Park and Evanston, once on a common course, diverge so much in recent years. For much of their history, they paralleled each other in virtually every way. The nature of each community was so very, very similair in ways too numerous to mention.

But today Evanston goes in one direction and Oak Park in another. Evanston welcomes major developments, particularly downtown, and has a healthy attitude about height. Oak Park, while still attractive to condo consturction, is much more skittish about it and much less likely to make radical moves.

The demographics of the two community are still similiar. Once strongly conservative, they have both shifted to being an attraction to progessive people who embrace divesity. Yet Oak Park still holds on to conservative attitudes towards development and Evanston does not.

What factors make Evanston go one way and Oak Park another. It can't be NU (it's always been there) or North Shore vs. West Suburbia (that's always been there, too). So what causes this?
 

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^^ Simple. Oak Park, several decades ago, realized their tremendous architectural heritage. Hundreds of homes are designated historic by Oak Park, which imposes near-Draconian restrictions on what property owners can and can't do.

The city makes great efforts to keep their urban scale the way it is - they view high-rise construction as a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the destruction of some historic properties, to which they are hugely opposed. The most desirable areas (read: land values high enough for high-rises) are within walking distance of Metra/CTA, in downtown. Coincidentally, the historic district also surrounds these stations.

Evanston never saw themselves as having the same kind of architectural treasures, so they allowed their downtown to expand and grow at the expense of some old houses and shops. It also helped that they had acres of vacant lots west of the train viaducts, an eyesore begging for development.
 

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I agree with Ardecila's comments above and believe there is probably also another factor contributing to the difference.

The highrises of Evanston are a contiguous progression from Edgewater and Rogers Park, where lakefront mid and high rises are in abundance. They don't stick out the same way they would on the west side.

In the St. Louis example, Clayton developed a set of highrises because people wanted the hell out of St Louis, so a new downtown came the the affluent burbs immediately west in the county. It was the logical point.

The one area where I think economics/demographics might dictate high rise development over the next 20 years is Naperville. You've got a job center, a relatively lively downtown, and a segment of the population that is affluent yet aging. For many, the kids have long since graduated college, they don't need a 4000 square foot McMansion, and they like familiarity of the 'ville, so they're not in a hurry to head to the city. There have already been numerous teardowns of post-war to 70s housing for newer homes. Architectural legacy isn't as important apart from a few of the old Victorians. What they do have is a lot of surface parking ripe for development in the downtown area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
^^ Simple. Oak Park, several decades ago, realized their tremendous architectural heritage. Hundreds of homes are designated historic by Oak Park, which imposes near-Draconian restrictions on what property owners can and can't do.

The city makes great efforts to keep their urban scale the way it is - they view high-rise construction as a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the destruction of some historic properties, to which they are hugely opposed. The most desirable areas (read: land values high enough for high-rises) are within walking distance of Metra/CTA, in downtown. Coincidentally, the historic district also surrounds these stations.

Evanston never saw themselves as having the same kind of architectural treasures, so they allowed their downtown to expand and grow at the expense of some old houses and shops. It also helped that they had acres of vacant lots west of the train viaducts, an eyesore begging for development.
ardecila, while i agree with much of what you say and recognize the FLW legacy in Oak Park, I have to say that Evanston also has a commitment to its vast architectural heritage from a number of years.
 
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