Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Minutes from 12/09/2009 Meeting

Alderman Daley opened the meeting with introductions.

Before the developer’s presentation, Alderman Daley raised the issue of past litigation and the resulting judgments, community agreements and consent decrees.

Andy Robertson gave a brief overview of three legal settlements and how they shaped the development of the hospital. The hospital had been allowed to expand and/or build new buildings while providing neighbors with relief such as the open space and service drive on the north side of Webster, no parking on the garage roof and other considerations. Mr. Robertson stated that these settlements may or may not be currently binding on the property but represent the spirit of the negotiations between the hospital and neighbors over its growth and development. If the new owners seek to utilize the “grandfathering” of the bulk and height of the hospital structures for new use, then they should also respect these considerations that the neighbors had earned.

The development team responded that there are currently no deed restrictions or covenants on the property reflecting these settlements. The only existing easements pertain to a turn-around area at the end of the Grant Place/Webster alley resulting from a property swap with the City.

Following the meeting Mr. Robertson provided copies of the legal settlements to the development team and the alderman’s office.

Alderman Daley then moved the meeting to the development team. Ted Novak, attorney for the development team introduced Larry Okrent of Okrent Associates who has been hired by the development team. From Mr. Okrent’s website:

LAWRENCE OKRENT
President

Lawrence Okrent has been accepted as a planning and zoning expert in the circuit courts of metropolitan Chicago and by numerous plan commissions and zoning boards in the region. Formerly associated with the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1970-1979), he founded Okrent Associates in 1979. He is responsible for the firm's administration, written documentation, public presentations, and architectural and aerial photography.
(B.A., Michigan, 1966; M.A., Northwestern, 1968)


Mr. Okrent gave a comprehensive presentation on the zoning and land use history of the site, and his analysis of the developer’s proposal. He sought to show compatibility with land use patterns currently and historically in the neighborhood.

Okrent’s Key Points:
  • History of the growth and development on the hospital property since 1906 when it was the German-American Hospital;
  • The current proposal represents the first time that the bulk on the property has decreased; and
  • Historically there was a significant amount of commercial space on this site and on adjacent blocks of Larrabee and Lincoln Avenue.

Okrent also claims that the proposed mix of retail/office/residential uses is a decrease in intensity of use compared to a functioning hospital. There is also an increase in the amount of open space on the property.

According to the Institute of Traffic Engineers, traffic associated with hospitals is less intense than the proposed mix. A hospital of this size is expected to generate 4020 car trips/day compared to 2716 car trips/day they would expect with a mixed-use development of size proposed.

There are many neighborhood examples of commercial uses at intersections along Lincoln Avenue adjacent to residential uses.

The proposed mix of uses: 10-12% retail, 16% office, 20% senior living, 52% basic residential (for sale condos). Approximately 50,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

Senior housing points:

  • Low levels of auto ownership
  • Parking is typically underused in senior housing developments
  • Social life for seniors generally occurs within the building
  • Average age is 75, nearly all retired
  • Car trips are rarely during peak times
  • Residential units are smaller than standard units
  • Residents are mostly single

Overview of the urban design perspective of the Mid-North Landmark District and how the proposed development would be more compatible than the existing aesthetic of the hospital buildings.

Points raised by neighbors during Mr. Okrent’s presentation:

Debate over reality of increased open space assertion — Neighborhood would lose open space on lot and service drive next door to 516 W Webster to be developed as single family homes. Most of the open space is in the center of the property mostly for the benefit of the residents of the proposed development. Green space vs. open space, and accuracy of using these terms if the subject space is not accessible to the public.

Developers respond that proposal represents a decrease in building bulk and resulting open space. Open space/green space is such regardless of who can physically access it. The immediate adjacent neighbor on Grant Place will have better view and more light from demolition of building and resulting interior open space. New building on Grant Place will have a 14’ front yard setback where there is no setback now. This results in over 4000 sq. ft. of new yard visible to anyone on Grant Place.

All of the open space is at grade. The interior-located open space is on top of underground parking. Previous versions of the proposal indicated that this would a green roof 8’ above grade over parking.

Garage may be ugly but it’s terracing minimizes shadowing impact on pedestrian.

The examples of neighborhood retail on corners next to residential is not comparable to the size of the retail in the proposal.

The examples of neighborhood retail adjacent to residential are smaller stores adjacent to multi-unit residential buildings not single family homes.

Richard Zisook, the developer, presented the proposal as modified since the last meeting:

The site plan includes 5 buildings: A, B, C, D, & E


Building A — New construction on Grant Place, 14’ front yard setback where there is no setback now, 40 residential units, no taller than current building (5 stories).

Building B — Existing building on NE corner of Geneva/Webster — New skin/façade with more traditional brick/stone/windows. Building façade will have same treatment on all four sides. 170 senior living residential units. Ground floor retail use —“neighborhood retail like dry cleaners, stationery store, florist, etc.”

Building C — Existing Hospital Tower on north side of Webster — New skin/façade with more traditional brick/stone/windows. Building façade will have same treatment on all four sides. 120 market rate residential condos for sale. Loading area and entrance to internalized basement parking will be at the east end of the building.

Building D — Two single family residences with height and setbacks compliant with RM5 zoning classification on site of existing service drive and open lot.

Building E — Existing parking garage — two story retail at the corner of Lincoln/Webster, all retail space west of current driveways. 1st floor retail, 13,500 square ft, pharmacy (possible Walgreens). 2nd floor retail, 18,500, boutique grocery store (possibly Fox & Obel). Loading bays for retail stores will be off Webster approximately where current driveway located. Driveways for parking garage will be immediately east of loading bay. Entrance to the 2nd story retail will be on Lincoln just south of corner where there is currently the round wall of the driving ramp. Entrance to 1st Floor retail right on corner of Lincoln/Webster. Retail section of building proposed to increase in height by 5’ from current 26’ to 31’. New façade and partial reconstruction of building with traditional brick/stone. Façade east of driveways will be recessed with “greenbelt” planter along sidewalk. Façade elevation east of driveway will appear as a residential townhome-like façade.

Parking layout — 98 spaces in basement, 53 parking spaces at grade on 1st floor, 2nd & 3rd floor each have 38 parking spaces, east end of roof top holds 38 parking spaces.

Roof top parking will have a 5’ parapet wall with a landscape edge on east and south outsides of parapet. Above the 5’ parapet will be a clear panel to let light through but keep people out.

Ted Novak reported on meeting with their traffic engineers and the Chicago Dept of Tranportation (CDOT):

CDOT gave some preliminary recommendations but will study further as plans refine. CDOT recommended:

  • Loading — Should use Cleveland/Lincoln alley for loading. Developer explained that would incite objections from neighbors. Consequently CDOT recommended loading off Webster instead of the previously proposed Lincoln Ave loading.
  • Truck deliveries should be scheduled outside of peak traffic hours on Webster i.e. mid-day.
  • Hospital is more intense traffic use than proposed retail/residential mix.
  • May have future recommendations on traffic improvements.


Questions/Issues raised during presentation:

Alderman Daley raised the issue that developing service drive will block egress from the Grant/Webster alley, making it a dead end. Neighbor concurred that residents and city sanitation trucks use service drive to access alley.

Developer team response (DTR): Service was once public alley. Now it is private property. Anyone using it is trespassing. There is turn-around area at west end of Grant/Webster alley that is public property. Developer’s original proposal was to use service drive/alley to access internalized parking. Neighbors objected at first community meeting, so they redesigned the project to move the entrance and loading into the east end of the Webster elevation so as not to use any part of existing alley. This creates no need for them to use existing service drive for traffic.

Robert Buday raised issue of parking access on north side building being at east end of property. Past negotiations/settlement resulted in entrance to south side garage being as far west as possible. That should be guide for how to locate driveways on north side of street as well. Perhaps they should look at moving some of the traffic and access to Geneva Terrace.

DTR: Didn’t believe there would be community or city support for new driveway on Geneva. Geneva is smaller street and more complicated traffic-wise with limited area between Grant Place and Webster intersection.

Melissa Macek asked if there would be balconies on the tower and would the tower get wider.

DTR: Yes, the balconies recessed into building, not hanging off of it. The tower building is not growing over the four-story portion. The tower currently has an undulating façade with large bay-like sections. The proposed building will not have this effect. The area will be filled in between the bays to create a flat façade. In the rear, sections of the bays may be removed to create a consistent flat façade.

Fred Shapiro questioned if the all elevations of the towers look the same.

DTR: Yes all elevations will be consistent. There will be no “backside” of tower. Windows will be added on current “backside” of tower.

Fred Shapiro felt that additional windows in the tower would affect his privacy.

Robert Buday said that historically, rooftop parking on the garage has been a major objection from the community and the source of litigation.

DTR: Vehicles and lighting will be shielded from view with a green landscaped area and parapet wall. Developer could also execute a deed restriction or used the planned development ordinance to insure no parking on the roof after a certain hour of the evening.

Melissa Macek asked if there had been any reduction in retail since the previous meeting as requested or was it just a relocation.

DTR: In Building E, the amount of retail is the same, just reoriented to the corner of Lincoln. The amount of commercial space has been reduced in Buildings B & C. In Building B, the north edge of retail will end in line with the 7-11 building across the street. On Webster, the eastern edge of retail will end west of the existing canopied hospital entrance. The developer could execute a deed restriction or use the planned development ordinance to restrict the total amount or retail, the size of any particular retail space, commercial uses, hours, etc.

Fred Shapiro asked what/where is the office space, and will that have an impact on traffic.

DTR: Office is one of the potential uses in the overall mix. Most likely it would be located in the “Bussle” area above the ground floor around the base of the tower. But that could be residential instead of office. That area seems the least marketable for residential. There is no proposed office tenant or plan at this time. Could be medical offices or some other kind of office.

Marty Oberman, attorney for Fred Shapiro, recounted the days when he was alderman and how many hospitals were located in the ward. Now they’re all soon to be gone. All of the hospitals were building parking garages over community objections. Now they’re gone. While Mr. Okrent may be correct in the historic commercial uses in the area, the trend has been to go residential. He questioned if they have considered replacing the parking garage with residential.

DTR: The current economics do not support residential development. The parking in the garage is needed for the property and for the community. They have put together this package of senior living and retail that can finance the development of the property. The residential component can occur later. They didn’t think the community would want a mid-rise residential building on the site of the parking garage.

Josh Glazier said that he did not object to the old hospital. It provided a round-the-clock presence on the street that increased safety. There were police officers often at the hospital which increased safety.

Richard Price relayed his perspective and that of other Walpole Point residents — the reuse of the hospital building for residential was okay. Even the density was maybe okay. The move of the loading dock off Lincoln was a positive modification. Walpole Point residents have always been concerned about increasing height on the parking garage and parking on the roof. Their main concern was the size of retail. Many of his neighbors don’t want the retail at all. He didn’t know if Mr. Okrent’s information about all the commercial uses that had historically been on and near the site weakened his side’s argument. They’re very concerned about commercial and its impact on the neighbors and traffic.

DTR: The property is zoned as a planned development for a hospital. That is a commercial use and has been back to 1906. They’re trying to improve the property with residential, senior residential and neighborhood retail. When the PD was adopted in the early 70’s there was no underlying zoning. Their residential density is equivalent to RM5 zoning.

Josh Glazier recommended that the developers package their proposal in a communicable format so people could discuss and consider it with their neighbors and families.

Nada Riley recommended that there should be more sharing of information. She didn’t like that individual neighbors were meeting with the development team to lobby for their interests. She recommended that we incorporate Alderman Daley’s approach to the Children’s redevelopment discussion with a website, etc.

Todd Main spoke about being a longtime resident on Webster and architect who supports the project. The active hospital was very intrusive and disruptive in the residential neighborhood with ambulances and traffic. He likes urban living with a diverse mix of uses near residential so you don’t have to drive to the grocery store or other stores. He believed this was a good practice of using and improving existing structures.

Alderman Daley closed the meeting, saying that she would produce and distribute meeting minutes, put information regarding the proposal on a website, and would organize another full community meeting in January.

26 comments:

  1. Lincoln Park Hospital is inthe midst of a Historic Preservation District. There are no current residential high-rises on Webster west of Clark St. LPH is the geographic center of the 43rd ward. Any decision concerning the immediate neighbors will radiate out to the rest of the ward. We need a leader who will stand up for all the voices of the neighborhood -- the full number in opposition to such a life-altering project has yet to be informed, elicited, and, most importantly, heard. The midnorth Association represents only a small percentage of the residents, and only the biased opinions of the board are heard. We need a leader and I hope that my Alderman can be that leader.

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  2. The retail component of the project is innapropriate for this location. We do not need a commercial loading dock or any stores that sell alcohol or are open late at night. I would welcome a suitably sized senior housing development or residential development which matches the character of the neighborhood.

    J Glazier
    2156 N. Cleveland

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  3. I just returned home from the January 12th meeting at Lincoln Park High School, and was surprised at the both the turnout and the level of emotion. I went to the meeting with no opinion about the development and went home with very positive feelings about it.
    I was extremely impressed with the beauty and sensitivity to architectural context the recladding of the buildings will provide. I think the concept is sound; it's a good mix of upscale residential, senior housing, and retail. The retail is a very small component of the overall development, and brings convenience to people who don't want to drive to a store.
    Robert Meltzer
    245 W Concord

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  4. KB and SB 500 WebsterJanuary 13, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    We would like to confirm our very strong opposition to the proposal made by the developers who purchased the property. Retail does not belong in a residential neighborhood and the size of the stores and the increased traffic would change the livability in the area. We were signers of the neighborhood petition and we are still adamantly opposed to large retail stores and increased traffic at that site. There are so many young children in the area walking to and from school and this kind of increased traffic will surely increase the possibility of a serious accident. Thank you for supporting the residents of the 43rd ward as we have supported you.

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  5. KB and SB 500 WebsterJanuary 13, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    Just to be clear, we will work hard to defeat “any” retail in the residential neighborhood next to and across the street from our home. Let the developers know that it is a residential area and to come up with a new plan for well designed town homes to replace the vacant hospital and garage. We don’t want retail and the danger of increased automobile traffic.

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  6. Vi...did you get the idea last night that your days are numbered?

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  7. I believe that the neighbors who oppose redevelopment of the hospital are missing the point. I have NO ECONOMIC interest in that redevelopment. BUT I used to live next door to the site and was a signer to one of the agreements. I current live 2 blocks from the site. The site is UGLY and has been for over 30 years. The tower was constructed in the mid-late 70’s. The block has NO CHARM and is NOT visually friendly. The commercial on Lincoln Av has morphed into COLLEGE/POST COLLEGE bars. Very little uses that cater to the community. Webster Av in the 500 block is PERFECT for a drug store “in a building” and a food store that is bigger than 5000sqft, but too small to ever be a BIG BOX. 15,000 to 18,000 feet would serve our community well. Since the Jewel closed in 1989 , and it was 12,000 ft, our community has been without a great grocery store. ODD. Also, we MUST be morally fair and realize that senior housing is a commitment we must make. The community used to offer senior housing and now the only remnant is the one on Clark street. T count senior rooms as market rate condo housing is extremely disingenuous. The proposed housing in the Hospital Tower is just another way to bring smaller and nicer homes back to Lincoln Park. Most of the proposed homes in the tower will sell at less than $1,000,000. The number of smaller units has dropped over the past 10-15 years as richer owners have deconverted the multi-flat building to single family homes selling at over $1,5 million. The market, not the community will have the final say as to what can or cannot be built. Look at the ugly foreclosure at Belden and Geneva. What good did the community do there…NONE. The current hospital site is an eyesore. The proposed retail, senior and ownership uses are a vast improvement and will be used happily by our community. We live in a dynamic neighborhood. Change is good. This is the ONLY tower in the community and it was here before almost everybody else (except me). We do NOT want a revised Hospital USE which is what the market will allow if no sensible other mixed-use can be approved. That would be a permanent disaster. We have been flexible as a community before when all the homes were built on Lincoln and when Augustana Hospital was razed. The tower at LPH is about the size of the one at Children’s but of a smaller floor size. Setting a good example here will positively impact the Children’s site. The total population of seniors renters and Condominium Owners will be remarkably less than the hospital population was..Patients, doctors, nurses and all other staff. The retail will be charming and scale appropriate. All parking will be invisible. The time for good change is now. Saving or perpetuating hospital uses is a negative. Don’t do it. DO NOT try to force a housing type or size that will not be built, and will therefore force the reuse of the Hospital buildings. Once someone invests more money in these building, they will not be torn down for over 30 years. We are not and should NOT be a closed community of rich snobs…..the tower was here before with a larger population. A great façade and homeowners will be a plus..especially for those who want to live in MID NORTH for $500,000 to $900,000. The seniors have a right to live well in their waning years and being near Lincoln Av is fun and a good buffer use. Be fair and remember, MID NORTH was a community of diverse ages and pocketbooks when my dad and Lou Supers did the first rehab in 1950. While economic values may have inflated, moral values are still essential. We must reuse old buildings and provide housing for all ages and a wide range of sizes and values. Do not waste this opportunity.

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  8. I want to add my name to those that are strongly against
    overdevelopment anywhere in the neighborhood, but especially at the
    Lincoln Park Hospital and Childrens Memorial Hospital Sites. If such
    a development is successful it will have a huge impact on our
    neighborhood - both in terms of traffic - but also in terms of the
    atmosphere of high density living. We know our neighbors and we want
    to keep it that way. Given the economic situation, it is also
    possible that such a project will get started and not completed, or
    end up with empty units. This is not a time for an ambitious project.
    Lets think in terms of the Augustana hospital situation where there
    was minimal impact on the density and goo use of the asset.

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  9. I am NOT in favor of the development of Lincoln Park Hospital, and MidNorth Assoc. board is not speaking for me, although I am a member

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  10. It was empowering to see the turn out at last nights meeting. After listening to both sides, I feel that we should go with the plan as presented by the developers, as it benefits the neighborhood.

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Everyone favors redevelopment of the hospital site. However, it must be consistent with it's surroundings. Those who invested in the Mid-North area did so because they like the neighborhood. This particular proposal goes overboard in it's scope and uses. It is too dense for the area and should be downsized.

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  13. I am opposed to the current plan presented by the developer of the Lincoln Park Hospital. I'm opposed to any retail at this site. The buildings at this site should be consistent in height with the other buildings in the neighborhood. 2200 N. Geneva

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  14. Buzz Ruttenberg has every right to speak. But he should give full disclosure of his interests. Whereas he may or may not have any interest in THIS project, he has been involved as a developer with Mr Zisook and Supera on several others in the past and, presumably others in the future: see the You-tube video of "meet the developers" where the 3 of them are on a sofa discussing their joint ventures and feelings about each other -- his views are not without a certain bias. The bottom line is that the developers CAN make money (maybe not as much) without changing the entire character of a neighborhood by putting up an unprecedented residential high-rise and more unnecessary large retail and commercial. Their true motive is greed, not green. The bullying tactics of the developers -- that if they don't get their way, the hospital will be used -- is just plain wrong. The only way the developers will LOSE their investment is if, in this age of declining occupancy and revenues, they actually carry out their threat to make a go at a hospital. And while I have your attention, let me put a word in for the defense of a hospital: Hospitals in the city do have to be high -- residential does not. Hospitals provide a service to the community (thus the term "community hospital"). If you have a heart attack in the middle of the night, try going to Walgreens or Fox and Obels. Hospitals are not built to be "pretty" -- I would rather have an "eyesore" than added congestion, pollution, parking and safety issues. I feel secure having a hospital near me; so go ahead, Zisook and Ruttenberg, threaten me with a hospital. There are plenty of ways for you to make money without destoying the character of a neighborhood. If you actually talked to the many neighbors against the project, instead of trying to bully us, you might get some useful suggestions instead of the large uprising you are provoking.

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  15. I have an idea, a modest proposal, if you will (something to aspire to). Mr. Zisook proposes to be "green" (In no way is large retail and commercial "green" with its attendant congestion, traffic, pollution, parking and safety concerns). So how about going all out for GREEN. There is a house, recently built at about 4900 N. Ravenswood Ave -- I believe it is called the Yanoff House (Farr & Assoc, Architects). It was written up in the newspaper. It is three stories, and in my non-expert opinion, very pretty. It's notable attribute is thatit is "energy-sufficient" in that it is designed and built to provide for its own energy use and even may have the capacity to provide Com Ed with some!Mr. Zisook's property is on 42 equivalent city lots. Why not design and build 42 similar houses -- a COMMUNITY of energy-sufficient, green, high-end housing? He could even have room for some senior housing. He has made enough money in his life; now make some HISTORY. He could be the Daniel Burnham or Frank Lloyd Wright of his generation. My guess is that the neighborhood and the Ward would love it, the city and its leaders would love and support it (maybe even financially), and the media would adore it. Mr Zisook would be welcomed with open arms to do future projects. Time to decide: What is more important: the green of the dollars to be made or the green of the neighborhood and the 43rd ward? (By the way, no charge for the idea.)

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  16. Now Ruttenberg is calling us rich snobs? I will never be as rich as he (nor as snobbish). How much money does he (and Zisook and Supera need). As for taking the moral high-ground, I challange Z,S and R to make the ENTIRE devolopment senior housing -- I for one would love that, as long as it conforms to the height and density restictions of the rest of the area. I might even move in.

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  17. Developers started with a dud of a plan, modified the dud to be dud-lite and tried to convince neighbors it was good. Well, neighbors know what's good and it isn't this. The neighbors closest to the hospital--those most affected--were not consulted but instead were presented with a disaster masqueraded by a new facade. And the developers wonder why neighbors don't like it?

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  18. Perhaps all those agaist the project should open their checkbooks, pool their money together, and buy the project out from the developers. You then can do whatever you want with the property.

    Just a thought...

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  19. I believe that Lisa Torem has written a seriously slanted advertisement for the developers in the Inside Booster of Jan 20-26, or she is a very incompetent writer and reporter. Her artical reads as if she picked up (in whole) the developer's written arguments and only vaguely remembered few verbal arguments made by residents at the Jan.12 meeting.

    This particular development proposal goes overboard in its scope and uses. It is too dense, and 12 stories of decks and windows are too tall to be in the center of a 3-4 story neighborhood. The developers propose to strip and widen the hospital tower, the only non-hospital high-rise west of Clark street, setting a precedent for future developments. This PD residential/commercial zoning disaster is being masqueraded as a new facade. It's been said before, but I'll say it again, A plan "drawing (of) a few dozen trees around the perimeter of this large parcel of land does not make the project green. The true motive of these developers is greed, not green."

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  20. As to the genius above who suggested that all those against should get together and buy the property, I have an equally brilliant alternative suggestion: perhaps Mr. Zisook, or Supera, or Ruttenberg should run for Alderman and get elected, so that when they purchase any property -- even a hospital -- they can make lots of money by getting the zoning changed and building whatever they want despite the well-being of the surrounding community (even one that is a landmark historic district).

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  21. vickreys on websterFebruary 2, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    While it is nice to have places to walk to in the neighborhood, I value peace and quiet and the quaintness of our neighborhood more than readily accessible goods at every corner. Why do we need a new drug store if we have CVS, Walgreens and Braun within a few blocks of the site? We have a corner grocery store (Carnival) a block away, plus Apple Market three blocks east, both of which would be shut down or threatened by another store down the street (esp. one with multiple loading docks). Then what? I see stores all over Halsted/Armitage and Clark Streets shutting down and nothing to replace them but banks and cosmetics stores. Do we really need more of those? Plus we will have many medical offices closing their doors and moving closer to the new hospital when Children's moves. I just don't see a demand for retail that wouldn't put other retail out of business. We're worried that if smaller locally owned businesses fail to survive, we will have even more empty space and the temptation to go with chain retail or even big box retail will be too tempting for the owner. "Charming and scale appropriate" would be fine if it would be managed: no lit up signs, no neon, tasteful sidewalks and landscaping. But can we control that sort of thing? Or is it retail or not retail? This worries us. Webster is one of the most beautiful E/W streets in the city; let's not ruin it.

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  22. Allow me, Alderman Daley, to comment on the letter I received from your office today. As an opponent of the developers' planned mega-project (both the retail AND the high-rise), I was very disappointed in some of your comments. Yes, there is no consensus of SUPPORT FOR retail among the community; but there is most definitely a consensus of OPPOSITION AGAINST such a massive project among the community, especially among those most immediately affected. Even Mr. Supera, in an e-mail to his "team" (when cajoling them to show up in support of the Jan. 12th meeting), stated that "there is a great deal of opposition to our proposal and your sopport is critical". So yes there will be developers, architects and other real-estate people in the area who will support the project, and since their pocketbook is at stake, they will be very vocal -- and they will resort to calling the large majority of opponents nimbys (and why is that really insulting?-- Mr. Zisook lives in Wilmette or Winnetka -- try putting up a high-rise in his backyard). What kind of a "consensus" do you hope to achieve when the developers and their business associates continue to insult, threaten and bully your constituency (again quoting Mr. Supera: "We felt that our approach was simply more neighborly than embarking upon an aggressive campaign against the opposition"). Your constituency -- their "opponents" -- are merely those residents and neighbors who want to exist in an area that is free of large retail and tall residential -- a project that will make them a truckload of money, but will leave our neighborhood forever congested, polluted, unsafe and disfigured. And, yes, the existing defunct HOSPITAL structure's height may be "grandfathered". And may be they cannot be FORCED to demolish it. But neither can YOU be FORCED to approve a zoning change unless they cooperate with you! If not "demolish", at least reduce the height to to conform to the surrounding Historic Landmark District -- they can still "adaptively re-use" a lower structure. You have full control -- we have no doubt about that. They cannot change anything (demolish, re-clad or something in between) without YOUR approval. They CAN threaten to keep it a hospital, but that is THE sure way for them to lose their investment (a hospital would not be the worst thing for the neighborhood or for the Ward, but it would be the worst thing for the developers). A temporarally vacant hospital (or an active one) is far, far better than a forever-bad development. The residents and your constituency need to know that you are behind us (or better still, leading us). Your letter did not give me that impression.

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  23. Deja vu. The ward/community/neighborhood have been here before: A little over 20 years ago, we contested with the developers who took over the Augustana hospital property. The same laws applied, but a different Alderman.No one "forced" the developer to demolish the "grandfathered" hospital. In order to obtain a zoning change, the proposed highrise was scrapped and townhomes, consistent with the area, were built; and the developers still made money. Though quite proximate, Augustana was on Lincoln ( a "commercial" street), while LPH is on Webster (a "residential" street). Even more reason to honor the precedent and stay consistent in OUR (residents and Alderman) stance. The times may have changed (eg, property values have soared - meaning the developers should make even more money), but the principles have not: NO HIGHRISE/ NO RETAIL AT LPH!!

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  24. A "MIXED-USE" project, eh? The first high-rise residential adjacent to our Chicago Historic Landmark District? More retail and another large drugstore when 3 others are a short walk away? Even more traffic and congestion? Even less parking in Lincoln No-Park? Sounds to me like a "MIXED-ABUSE" project.

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  25. Dear Alderman: Thank you for your e-mail of May 10. It is now obvious that the developers only care about their corporate bottom line. Their steam-roller approach and bullying, uncompromising tactics are totally unethical. They show no regard for the neighbors or the historic nature of the neighborhood; so I am glad and reassured that you do!

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  26. There must be no retail and keep the full parking garage. The tower must either come down or be reduced to 4 stories or less. The Geneva Terrace building should be senior housing not 95,000 square feet of medical, Lincoln Park already has plenty medical. The Grant Place building must be no taller than 47 feet. There must be no loading dock. If the developer meets these conditions the Mid-North neighbors will love it. Let's think like Augustana Hospital.

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