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ChicagoBruce May 12, 2006 5:03 PM

CHICAGO | General Developments
 
Interesting. The whole principal of a TIF is to provide dollars for improvements to spur development that will raise the tax base of an “under-developed” area. The whole idea of raising the tax base is that the services that use the tax money will benefit in the long run (after the TIF bond is repaid) from the increased tax revenue. Its not supposed to be a development piggy bank. If you keep using TIF dollars to spur more development and never put the incremental tax money generated into the general pool, what good is the development?

Sure, you have a bunch of shiny new buildings and stuff, but no one benefits from those extra tax dollars except for the developers and contractors that keep getting the construction jobs to do more of it. That was never the intention of TIF financing.

ChicagoBruce May 12, 2006 5:56 PM

I agree, you definitely some sort of TIF district in certain areas of the CBD and other areas to keep spurring development, after all, if nothing else, it does create high paying construction and engineering jobs. But you must let each district run its course and return the incremental funds to their rightful place in the general tax fund. I think the compromise mentioned is the fair and reasonable thing to do. It won’t make everyone happy, but nothing ever does.

I also agree that using TIF dollars to fund things like parks is a bit shaky as that spending isn’t nearly as highly scrutinized as spending those dollars out of the general fund would be. But in the end, its still coming from tax dollars, no matter how you want to slice it. More accountability and review of TIF projects is probably in order.

Chicago Shawn May 16, 2006 1:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
Greedy Bastards...

one point though, if they do get a big payoff, all the proceeds should be earmared for the Chicago region. No way should this be used to widen i55 from
Springfield to St Louis .:( or any other bullshit down state project.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lawmakers want to earmark tollway lease money

By John Biemer
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 15, 2006, 3:12 PM CDT


Responding to talk in Springfield of leasing the Illinois tollway to a private company for billions of dollars, two Republican suburban state senators said today the bulk of any such money should be committed to counties traversed by toll roads.

Senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) said it would be a "disaster for suburban taxpayers and communities" if the process is politicized and the money—estimated at more than $14 billion—is allocated disproportionately to the city of Chicago.
Dillard and Roskam introduced legislation earlier this month requiring that 66 percent of the lease price be used for projects or purposes benefiting counties traversed by tollways.
"During the gubernatorial campaign we need to watch Gov. Blagojevich very closely," Dillard said outside the tollway's Downers Grove headquarters. "Suburbanites should be outraged that decades of their nickels and dimes might be used to bail out Chicago Public Schools, especially since no tollway runs through the city of Chicago."

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), who heads appropriations and revenue forecasting panels, has floated the idea of privatizing state toll roads. His idea came after Mayor Richard Daley's 99-year, $1 billion lease with a private firm to run the Chicago Skyway and collect tolls there.

Roskam is running in the west suburban 6th District to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), and today's event was organized by his campaign. The National Republican Congressional Committee has advised its candidates to focus on local issues.

Typical suburban republicans. Its not 'decades of nickels and dimes' from suburbanites that creates the 14 billion from leasing the toll road, what a total load of bull shit. The 14 billion will come from a PRIVATE firm interested in purchasing the roadway. The 'decades of nickels and dimes' have only paid for road improvements on the tollway system and the construction of the extreamly wastefull tollway authority headquaters in Downer's Grove. I agree a leasing deal should be used to bennifit the Chicago region, but to oppose the use of these new funds to help a broken school system, which the suburbs have helped create is disgustingly selfish. True, no toll road under the management of the tollway authority exists within Chicago's city limits, but hello, most of the roads LEAD INTO THE CITY, and would not exist without the city serving as the the hub of the regional spoke expressway system.

And you know what, many of the regional tollyway miles are in Cook County anyway (I-90, I-94 Edens Spur, I-294, section of I-355 extension), so thier point doesn't really make any sense. Just stirring up the me, me, me attitude among suburban constituants that the big bad city is out to rob them of thier precoius nickels and dimes. Doesn't really suprise me though, this is the typical attitude I expect from DuPage County.

VivaLFuego May 16, 2006 3:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
Typical suburban republicans. Its not 'decades of nickels and dimes' from suburbanites that creates the 14 billion from leasing the toll road, what a total load of bull shit. The 14 billion will come from a PRIVATE firm interested in purchasing the roadway. The 'decades of nickels and dimes' have only paid for road improvements on the tollway system and the construction of the extreamly wastefull tollway authority headquaters in Downer's Grove. I agree a leasing deal should be used to bennifit the Chicago region, but to oppose the use of these new funds to help a broken school system, which the suburbs have helped create is disgustingly selfish. True, no toll road under the management of the tollway authority exists within Chicago's city limits, but hello, most of the roads LEAD INTO THE CITY, and would not exist without the city serving as the the hub of the regional spoke expressway system.

And you know what, many of the regional tollyway miles are in Cook County anyway (I-90, I-94 Edens Spur, I-294, section of I-355 extension), so thier point doesn't really make any sense. Just stirring up the me, me, me attitude among suburban constituants that the big bad city is out to rob them of thier precoius nickels and dimes. Doesn't really suprise me though, this is the typical attitude I expect from DuPage County.

Not to mention when we city folk are unfortunate enough to have to drive out there and use a tollway, we pay twice as much in tolls because we don't have an IPASS.

Liz May 16, 2006 5:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
Typical suburban republicans. Its not 'decades of nickels and dimes' from suburbanites that creates the 14 billion from leasing the toll road, what a total load of bull shit. The 14 billion will come from a PRIVATE firm interested in purchasing the roadway. The 'decades of nickels and dimes' have only paid for road improvements on the tollway system and the construction of the extreamly wastefull tollway authority headquaters in Downer's Grove. I agree a leasing deal should be used to bennifit the Chicago region, but to oppose the use of these new funds to help a broken school system, which the suburbs have helped create is disgustingly selfish. True, no toll road under the management of the tollway authority exists within Chicago's city limits, but hello, most of the roads LEAD INTO THE CITY, and would not exist without the city serving as the the hub of the regional spoke expressway system.

And you know what, many of the regional tollyway miles are in Cook County anyway (I-90, I-94 Edens Spur, I-294, section of I-355 extension), so thier point doesn't really make any sense. Just stirring up the me, me, me attitude among suburban constituants that the big bad city is out to rob them of thier precoius nickels and dimes. Doesn't really suprise me though, this is the typical attitude I expect from DuPage County.

neither 355 or 294 lead into the city, if anything they help people aviod driving through the city, which is convienant when you're going from a far west burb to a far north burb. and even though those people with out Ipass may have ot pay the occasional double amount, paying $.80 to $2 a day in tolls adds up over time and I don't think its unreasonable for people paying into the system to want the profits from leasing of the system to go into expansion (355 to 80 or 355 to 294) and to benefit them personally. hoenstly I can see this from either side, many users of the tollway aren't driving into the city and rather are commuting between different surburbs, and both sides are benefitting from each other in different ways.

Latoso May 16, 2006 7:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
"Suburbanites should be outraged that decades of their nickels and dimes might be used to bail out Chicago Public Schools, especially since no tollway runs through the city of Chicago."

It looks like I-294 passes through Chicago City limits to me, even if it's only for about a block across the strip that connects O'Hare to the rest of the city.

http://img75.imageshack.us/img75/188...uestcom6yj.gif

jpIllInoIs May 16, 2006 1:21 PM

Good idea for a thread Lukecuj! I had no idea how many development issues were not being discussed. As long as it is not repeating anything from the superb Over 12 stories/Under 12 stories threads and the general Chicago Transportation thread then..Rock on!

I agree in general that the money should be spent Regionally.. but this region has a poor track record for cooperation.

BTW. What did Chicago do with the money from leasing the Chicago Skyway? I doubt that it went into regional road funds. The best we can hope for is that it actually went into Chicago infrastructure programs. But more likely it is being used to pay for pensions and health care for city workers.

Chicago3rd May 16, 2006 5:29 PM

Wonder how much money goes from Cook County in gas taxes to the rest of the state? Bet you it is a sizable chunk. And don't get me going about why this state needs tollways...because the people south of I-80 felt it was wrong for them to help fund the roads in Chicago land. I wish we could find out how much of the Chicagoland money goes to funding their Interstates and Highways!!!

Chi_Coruscant May 16, 2006 10:11 PM

A blurb in breaking news section in today's Tribune webpage:

Meanwhile, the council's Buildings Committee advanced a proposal calling for the $2.15 million sale of a vacant, three-story commercial building at 212 S. State St. to the federal government. The city obtained the property for $1.52 million in 1997 to help spur a commercial development that never materialized, officials said.

If the full council approves the sale, the building will become one of seven acquired by the federal General Services Administration (GSA) along State between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard.

The stretch is adjacent to the Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., which is part of a federal campus that also includes the Kluczynski and Metcalfe Federal Buildings.

The GSA has "concepts" for the new site and expects to build 1.5 million square feet of additional space there in a time frame that will span roughly the next 20 years, officials said.

Chicago Shawn May 16, 2006 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd
Wonder how much money goes from Cook County in gas taxes to the rest of the state? Bet you it is a sizable chunk. And don't get me going about why this state needs tollways...because the people south of I-80 felt it was wrong for them to help fund the roads in Chicago land. I wish we could find out how much of the Chicagoland money goes to funding their Interstates and Highways!!!


That is a very good point. Especially considering that the tollways are a self-supporting system which uses no tax payer money to maintain itself.

Hmmm,
Lets guess and say there are 2 million registered vehicles in Cook County, then multiply that times 20 gallons of gasoline @ $3.00 per gallon for each week, and multiply that figure by 52 for the yearly total.

Answer for my guestimated Cook County annual gasoline revenues = $6,240,000,000. Now what percentage of the gas price is state taxes?

VivaLFuego May 17, 2006 4:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
That is a very good point. Especially considering that the tollways are a self-supporting system which uses no tax payer money to maintain itself.

Hmmm,
Lets guess and say there are 2 million registered vehicles in Cook County, then multiply that times 20 gallons of gasoline @ $3.00 per gallon for each week, and multiply that figure by 52 for the yearly total.

Answer for my guestimated Cook County annual gasoline revenues = $6,240,000,000. Now what percentage of the gas price is state taxes?

So the gas tax per gallon should be calculated based on what roads you'll be driving on!

We begin to see the madness of having different government entities operate roadways...

It would be nice if the 6 county area could just secede from the rest of Illinois, they can't stand us and just leach off us anyway, so it would be win-win.

VivaLFuego May 17, 2006 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
City Closing $3M in Downtown Sales
By Mark Ruda Email this story | Printer-friendly | Reprints
CHICAGO-Two city-owned Downtown properties are closer to being sold in separate deals. One ultimately will expand the federal courthouse complex in the Central Loop while the other will provide more parking in the Theater District in the short term.

The federal government’s General Services Administration is paying more than $2.1 million for a 18,200-sf building at 212 S. State St. The GSA is spending $53 million Downtown for an expansion that could increase federal courthouse space by 1.5 million sf during the next 20 years. Meanwhile, the city is selling a 3,676-sf site at 174 W. Randolph St. for $1.2 million. A vacant, 17,500-sf building will be razed.

Both deals are expected to be approved by the city council this month.

A 75-space parking lot will be an interim use at 174 W. Randolph St. until Clovis Investments, LLC begins a mixed-use development involving that property as well as neighboring sites, at 178 and 180 W. Randolph St., it already controls. Joliet-based Clovis Investments has paid more than $3.2 million to acquire those two properties, which include a five-story, 47,900-sf office building.

Where are these Randolph developments in relation to Randolph tower? part of the same mixed use development?

Chicago Shawn May 18, 2006 1:05 AM

^Its right next door. There are three buildings between Randolph Tower and a State owned office building at Randolph and LaSalle. The group puchasing these three mid-block buildings plan to tear them down and pave a surface lot with some vegitation screening along the sidewalk; and then come back to the city with a high-rise plan for the site within the next two years. It is NOT part of the same plan to covert Randolph Tower to residentail uses. Thank goodness too, because no developer would put up a tall tower next to a building they are converting and obliterate all of the east facing views.

If the development plans fall through, the city will take the property back after 2 years for the original sale price.

VivaLFuego May 18, 2006 3:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago Shawn
^Its right next door. There are three buildings between Randolph Tower and a State owned office building at Randolph and LaSalle. The group puchasing these three mid-block buildings plan to tear them down and pave a surface lot with some vegitation screening along the sidewalk; and then come back to the city with a high-rise plan for the site within the next two years. It is NOT part of the same plan to covert Randolph Tower to residentail uses. Thank goodness too, because no developer would put up a tall tower next to a building they are converting and obliterate all of the east facing views.

If the development plans fall through, the city will take the property back after 2 years for the original sale price.

Cool. I feel like since the Central Area Plan, the city's P&D is getting more serious about enforcing smart, dense development in the central area; no more (permanent) parking-only structures, buildings built up to the property line, sensible driveway placement, etc.

Interesting that that corner of the loop is getting alot of residential/mixed use all of a sudden. Though there are many surface lots in that neck of the woods too, its a shame that stuff will be torn down while there are empty lots begging to be developed.

VivaLFuego May 18, 2006 7:47 PM

Yeah Mr. Figel, you own Grant Park and all the city streets. Jackass. Go back to Naperville.

Pandemonious May 23, 2006 7:04 PM

Got any pictures of the Live Stock Nat'l Bank Bldg? I have never seen it before, and couldn't find anything with google.

Chi_Coruscant May 27, 2006 7:26 PM

City rewriting its plans for the Loop
$400 million in bonds would bankroll transit, LaSalle Street rehab

May 27, 2006
By Greg Hinz
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=20782

City Hall is preparing to redraft its downtown development playbook with a series of new or revamped taxing districts, a $400-million bond issue and a revised plan for growth in the city's central core all on the drawing board.

Under serious review are proposals that could jump-start construction of a new transit line on the north bank of the Chicago River, revitalize the LaSalle Street office corridor and provide money for street beautification on the Near South Side.

Key business and civic figures familiar with the budding plans generally support what the city wants to do. But some caution that they will demand a much bigger voice in spending decisions than they've gotten in the past.

"If we're going to have to pay for it, we should be more involved in the governance and budget," says Gerald Roper, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "That's a deal breaker."

A variety of factors are driving the action, including the city's need for cash after last year's failure to win approval of a special downtown property tax and the impending sunset of the Central Loop tax increment financing (TIF) district. The TIF has served as a cash cow for dozens of downtown projects for two decades and now provides nearly $100 million a year for development, but it's due to expire at the end of 2007.

Other pressure stems from a lack of action on the city's Central Area Plan. Unveiled with much fanfare three years ago, it envisioned a wide range of transit and other improvements, but mostly has collected dust.

Here's what insiders say the city is considering or already pursuing:

• Creating a new TIF district covering LaSalle Street south of the river, as well as portions of Wells and Franklin streets. A city spokeswoman confirms that the district could come to life soon and would be used, in part, to help owners of outmoded office buildings compete with newer towers along Wacker Drive and near the commuter railroad stations. The possible new district was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The TIF also could provide subsidies to help convert outdated Class C office buildings for hotel or residential use, as has happened in the East Loop, says Jon DeVries, director of Roosevelt University's School of Real Estate.

• Renewing all or part of the Central Loop TIF for another 23 years. While depriving schools and other taxing bodies of revenue, restoring the TIF would free up money for proposed city projects, such as the Monroe Street busway or the Carroll Street transit line between Navy Pier and the commuter railroad stations. Those were proposed in the Central Area Plan, but the city does not have money to pay for them.

Asked about the Central Loop TIF, the city's spokeswoman would say only that all options are under review.

• Issuing up to $400 million in bonds — funded by proceeds from the LaSalle TIF, a new Central Loop TIF and/or proceeds from the recently authorized sale or lease of three city parking garages — as early as the city's 2008 budget. That money could help Mayor Richard M. Daley as he prepares for a presumed re-election bid.

A city spokeswoman says "no one knows anything about a $400-million issue," but sources at City Hall and a business group say such discussions are occurring.

• Updating the Central Area Plan. The city is hiring a consultant to re-examine growth projections, create a lighting plan for Michigan Avenue buildings between Washington Street and Congress Parkway, and "explore potential funding mechanisms" for the Carroll Avenue line and other transit projects, according to a summary the city sent to potential bidders.

• Creating special service areas along LaSalle Street and in the South Loop to fund street beautification and perhaps other work. The city proposed such a property tax-funded district last year to finance operations at Millennium Park, but backed down after strong business opposition.

The potential for resistance remains.

"The city needs to give strong consideration to self-governance (of special districts) in order to gain support," says William Barnhoff, vice-president of the Chicago Development Council, a trade group.

VivaLFuego May 27, 2006 10:23 PM

Great news that the city is taking iniative on that.....So many great recommendations in the Central Area Plan yet to be realized.

Rapid transit of some variety would be massively useful down Carrol and Monroe, both linking up to the commuter stations in west loop.

spyguy May 27, 2006 10:33 PM

Quote:

Updating the Central Area Plan. The city is hiring a consultant to re-examine growth projections, create a lighting plan for Michigan Avenue buildings between Washington Street and Congress Parkway, and "explore potential funding mechanisms" for the Carroll Avenue line and other transit projects, according to a summary the city sent to potential bidders.
All around sounds good

BVictor1 May 28, 2006 9:50 PM

City rewriting its plans for the Loop
$400 million in bonds would bankroll transit, LaSalle Street rehab

May 27, 2006
By Greg Hinz
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=20782

City Hall is preparing to redraft its downtown development playbook with a series of new or revamped taxing districts, a $400-million bond issue and a revised plan for growth in the city's central core all on the drawing board.

Under serious review are proposals that could jump-start construction of a new transit line on the north bank of the Chicago River, revitalize the LaSalle Street office corridor and provide money for street beautification on the Near South Side.

Key business and civic figures familiar with the budding plans generally support what the city wants to do. But some caution that they will demand a much bigger voice in spending decisions than they've gotten in the past.

"If we're going to have to pay for it, we should be more involved in the governance and budget," says Gerald Roper, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "That's a deal breaker."

A variety of factors are driving the action, including the city's need for cash after last year's failure to win approval of a special downtown property tax and the impending sunset of the Central Loop tax increment financing (TIF) district. The TIF has served as a cash cow for dozens of downtown projects for two decades and now provides nearly $100 million a year for development, but it's due to expire at the end of 2007.

Other pressure stems from a lack of action on the city's Central Area Plan. Unveiled with much fanfare three years ago, it envisioned a wide range of transit and other improvements, but mostly has collected dust.

Here's what insiders say the city is considering or already pursuing:

• Creating a new TIF district covering LaSalle Street south of the river, as well as portions of Wells and Franklin streets. A city spokeswoman confirms that the district could come to life soon and would be used, in part, to help owners of outmoded office buildings compete with newer towers along Wacker Drive and near the commuter railroad stations. The possible new district was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The TIF also could provide subsidies to help convert outdated Class C office buildings for hotel or residential use, as has happened in the East Loop, says Jon DeVries, director of Roosevelt University's School of Real Estate.

• Renewing all or part of the Central Loop TIF for another 23 years. While depriving schools and other taxing bodies of revenue, restoring the TIF would free up money for proposed city projects, such as the Monroe Street busway or the Carroll Street transit line between Navy Pier and the commuter railroad stations. Those were proposed in the Central Area Plan, but the city does not have money to pay for them.

Asked about the Central Loop TIF, the city's spokeswoman would say only that all options are under review.

• Issuing up to $400 million in bonds — funded by proceeds from the LaSalle TIF, a new Central Loop TIF and/or proceeds from the recently authorized sale or lease of three city parking garages — as early as the city's 2008 budget. That money could help Mayor Richard M. Daley as he prepares for a presumed re-election bid.

A city spokeswoman says "no one knows anything about a $400-million issue," but sources at City Hall and a business group say such discussions are occurring.

• Updating the Central Area Plan. The city is hiring a consultant to re-examine growth projections, create a lighting plan for Michigan Avenue buildings between Washington Street and Congress Parkway, and "explore potential funding mechanisms" for the Carroll Avenue line and other transit projects, according to a summary the city sent to potential bidders.

• Creating special service areas along LaSalle Street and in the South Loop to fund street beautification and perhaps other work. The city proposed such a property tax-funded district last year to finance operations at Millennium Park, but backed down after strong business opposition.

The potential for resistance remains.

"The city needs to give strong consideration to self-governance (of special districts) in order to gain support," says William Barnhoff, vice-president of the Chicago Development Council, a trade group.

Frankie May 30, 2006 10:34 AM

Cicero Avenue about to take off?
May 30, 2006
BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporter Advertisement

As a showcase for Chicago, Cicero Avenue just doesn't cut it.

The stretch of Cicero between the Stevenson Expy. and Midway Airport is one of the city's most heavily traveled arteries, with some 65,700 vehicles per day. It's the route Midway's arriving passengers take to get downtown and points beyond.

Cicero could exude a warm welcome. But right now, it's as if visitors to Chicago arrived through the host's broken-down back porch.

Parcels are empty, and some storefronts are neglected. Cheap motels overlook junkyards. And the presence on the street of a public housing complex, LeClaire Courts, with many boarded up units, has its own deadening effect.

Midway is a busy airport, so where's the economic spinoff? Drive south of the airport on Cicero and you encounter the Midway Hotel Center, a spic-and-span collection of seven national chains with parking all around. It's in Bedford Park, so none of its tax revenue goes to the city. Bedford Park also has drawn "big box" retailers nearby such as Wal-Mart and Costco.

Chicago officials hope to catch up with the tiny southwest suburb. Last year, consultants working for the city's Department of Planning and Development analyzed the Cicero corridor, and recommended an action plan. The agency is in the early stages of following up.

"Bedford Park has always had a mindset to catch the retail bleed from Chicago," said James Capraro, a co-author of the report and executive director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. He said the city must work with private investors to make its part of Cicero a destination.

Connie Buscemi, spokeswoman for the planning department, said the street was among several sites the city touted during a recent retail industry convention in Las Vegas. "It attracted a lot of interest. The street is widely traveled, and delivers great exposure. This is what retailers are looking for," she said.

She said the city has held conversations with several developers. One, Centrum Properties, plans a commercial makeover at the northwest corner of Archer and Cicero, Buscemi said. Also, the city has solicited offers for two largely vacant parcels it owns or is acquiring.

They are at 4730 and 6401 S. Cicero. Bid documents state a preference for retail or some other commercial use on the sites, and response deadlines are in mid- to late-July. The properties are each about 32,000 square feet, and carry asking prices of $1.1 million to $1.3 million.

A Starbucks sits at 4701 S. Cicero, a rare outpost for the coffee chain in a working-class neighborhood. But redeveloping the stretch has many challenges.

The city consultants' report said the Cicero strip is plagued by properties that are too small for large-scale improvements. Many are only 100 feet deep, and going back farther would require buying homes. Other issues include the typical urban redevelopment ills -- too many landowners who would inflate asking prices on a speculative whim.

People living in homes near Cicero have relayed rumors that the city wants to buy their properties, either for commercial improvements or airport expansion. City officials emphatically deny that they want to buy homes for any reason.

Capraro said city planners should concentrate on two properties near the corridor's north and south ends. One is just off Cicero and includes a scrap yard and truck parking, while the other is the Midway Business Center, an industrial complex at the southwest corner of Cicero and Archer.

The report said the 1-million-square-foot business center was 60 percent vacant in 2004 because heavy traffic on Cicero made truck access difficult. Capraro said the industrial tenants could be moved near the expressway while the business center could become an upscale hotel next to the airport.

The business center's owner is Sue Gin, real estate entrepreneur and chairman of Flying Food Fare Inc. She said the complex is only about 10 percent vacant now, but that she's open to working with the city on a hotel redevelopment.

"That would be great if that could happen," Gin said. "I really believe that property has a higher and better use."

She said she has built flexibility into her leases so she could relocate if the right offer came along. Gin said she last discussed the property with the city about two years ago and that personnel changes at the planning department have bogged down progress on the issue.

In 2001, Gin and city officials struck a deal for her site to become an employee training center for American Trans Air Inc., a project that promised 2,500 jobs. The travel slump after 9/11 caused ATA to back out, and the airline filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

The other piece vital to Cicero improvements is Le Claire Courts at 43rd Street. The town-house-style project has been a relatively low priority in the CHA's "plan for transformation," the redevelopment of its properties into mixed-income areas.

CHA spokeswoman Karen Pride said the complex totals 616 units, of which 373 are occupied. She said all options are being considered for the property, but offered no timetable for a decision.

The Cicero corridor is a tax-increment financing district, which gives the city a way to finance public improvements. Money from the TIF also could be used to acquire property by eminent domain.

Other contributors to the consultants' study included URS Corp., Goodman Williams Group and Gonzalez Hasbrouck Architects. It concluded that hotels and new retail offered the best potential for Cicero.

It identified limited demand for office space, noting that because Midway is a point-to-point airport, it lacks O'Hare Airport's appeal for corporate headquarters

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

IT'S BEEN A BUMPY RIDE FOR CICERO AVENUE

Why doesn't South Cicero Avenue, the Midway Airport access route, look the way Rosemont does for cuddling up to O'Hare?

James Capraro, executive director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp., said one answer goes back to the 1970s. It's the plan for the old Crosstown Expy., which would have run right up Cicero.

Capraro said the city's Crosstown plan froze private investment. "The motels on Cicero didn't used to be fleabag,'' he said. "After the Crosstown was announced, they became fleabag."

The plan died, but the air of disinvestment lingered. And the street and other neighborhood business strips suffered again when Midway Airlines closed in 1991, said Anita Cummings, executive director of the United Business Association of Midway.

Southwest Airlines took up the slack, but it took a while for the city's No. 2 airport to fully rebound. And the travel downturn after Sept. 11, 2001 squelched some private investment.

Cummings said whenever Midway Airport suffers, local business feels it immediately. For all the complaints about noise and traffic, the downturns "make people realize just how important that airport is to the Southwest Side," Cummings said.

www.suntimes.com

BVictor1 Jun 4, 2006 12:54 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/re...te/04nati.html

National Perspectives
How a Park Changed a Chicago Neighborhood



By ROBERT SHAROFF
Published: June 4, 2006
CHICAGO

MILLENNIUM PARK, the $475 million modernist playground that opened at the edge of Lake Michigan here two years ago, has quickly become one of the city's leading tourist attractions. What is less known, however, is that the 24.6-acre park — which features a stunning stainless steel band shell and pedestrian bridge designed by the architect Frank Gehry, along with art and gardens by a galaxy of international figures — has had a transforming effect on the surrounding neighborhood.
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/...04nati.650.jpg
Susan Grosch in her living room at the Heritage, a new condominium, with the park in the background.

In the late 1990's, the area, known as the East Loop or South Michigan Avenue, was a fairly sleepy retail and office district. In the last five years, however, it has emerged as one of the city's hottest residential neighborhoods with more than a dozen projects rising within blocks of the park.

According to a study commissioned by the city in 2005, the park is responsible for about $1.4 billion in residential development and for increasing residential real estate values in the area by $100 a square foot.

"The East Loop has become an incredibly vibrant asset for the city," said Lori T. Healey, the city's planning commissioner. What has been created there is a mixed-use, round-the-clock neighborhood that includes office, residential, entertainment and open space. "It's a great symbiotic relationship."

Real estate executives agree. "You've got the park, the harbor, Navy Pier, the museums and other cultural attractions and easy access to expressways and public transportation," said James Kinney, president of Rubloff Residential Properties, a real estate brokerage firm. "It's a pretty unbeatable combination."

Others believe the success of the park is contributing to a shift in housing patterns across the city. "The epicenter of urban living in downtown Chicago has been progressively moving south for the last 5 to 10 years," said Thomas O. Weeks, president of the LR Development Company, developer of 340 on the Park, a high-rise condominium building under construction across Randolph Street from the park. "I think there will come a time when Millennium and Grant Parks will define residential living in Chicago much like Central Park does in New York," he said.

(Millennium Park is adjacent to Grant Park, a much larger park to the south that is part of a chain of parks created more than a century ago along the city's lakefront.)

The most successful project to date is probably the Heritage at Millennium Park, a 57-story condominium tower completed 18 months ago on nearby Wabash Avenue with unobstructed views of the park and lake. The building, which has 357 units, sold out well before it was finished at prices ranging from $245,000 for an 800-square-foot studio to $3.5 million for a 5,060-square-foot penthouse.

"The park was the catalyst for realizing this could be a residential neighborhood," said Richard Hanson, a principal with Mesa Development, the project's developer. "I don't think the building would have been viable without it."

In July, Mr. Hanson will break ground on a second tower, called the Legacy, on a site two blocks south of the Heritage. Just over 60 percent of the 355 units have already been sold at prices ranging from $300,000 for an 875-square-foot one-bedroom to $7.8 million for a 9,301-square-foot penthouse.

The buyers for both projects, he said, are mainly "young professionals, empty-nesters and people who are leaving 4,000-square-foot homes in the suburbs and need larger units."

Susan Grosch and her husband, Tony, who bought a two-bedroom unit at the Heritage, are in the second category. Mrs. Grosch is a retired public school teacher while her husband is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The couple formerly lived in a lakefront neighborhood several miles north of the Loop.

"My husband had wanted to move downtown for many years and periodically would ask me what I thought of this or that location," she said. "I was never very interested until one morning he said, 'How about Millennium Park?' And I said, 'Now, that sounds interesting.' "

The draw is the neighborhood. "We love the convenience, especially being able to walk to so many of the cultural venues, where in the past we've either had to drive or take a bus," she said.

The project that has caused the most stir architecturally is the Aqua Tower, an 80-story high-rise by the architect Jeanne Gang. It will consist of a 215-room hotel and 476 rental apartments on the lower floors and 263 condos on top. The building — which is at least 50 percent sold at prices ranging from $342,000 for an 674-square-foot studio to $2 million for a 3,100-square-foot penthouse — is to begin construction this fall and to be finished in 2009.

The building has a sensuous rippling facade created through the use of irregularly shaped concrete floor slabs. Ms. Gang, a protégée of the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, said the inspiration was striated limestone outcroppings that are a common topographic feature of the Great Lakes region.

"We were looking at ways to tie the building to its place and realized the lake is the biggest thing in the area," Ms. Gang said. She added that the irregular floor plates also serve a practical function in that they allow for many stunning terraces.

Skip to next paragraph

William Zbaren for The New York Times
Millennium Park, as seen in the foreground, has spurred development in the East Loop.

Readers’ Opinions
Forum: Owning and Renting a Home
One early buyer is Nathaniel Pusey, an executive with J. P. Morgan Chase who relocated with his partner, Ronald Schnorbus, to Chicago two years ago from Wilmington, Del. The Aqua, he says, is "an architectural event."

"I like the whole package," he said. "It's enough square footage that I don't have to sell all of my furniture, and I like being near the park and the lake."

Aqua and Mr. Weeks's project, 340 on the Park, are part of a much larger project rising on 28 acres that for most of the last century was occupied by an Illinois Central Railroad train yard.

The project, called Lakeshore East, began in the late 1990's and will eventually consist of 16 high-rise residential buildings as well as a 100,000-square-foot shopping center. So far, six buildings have been completed or are under way. The developer is the Magellan Development Group of Chicago.

Another result of the Millennium Park effect is the renovation of several older office buildings in the area into rental apartments or condos. One of the largest is Metropolitan Tower, a 30-story landmark building at the corner of South Michigan Avenue and Jackson Street designed in 1924 by the architecture firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.

The building, which includes a tower topped by a pyramid, a bell carillon and an elaborate blue beacon, is part of a landmark district created by the city two years ago to preserve a multiblock stretch of historic buildings along Michigan Avenue.

Metropolitan Tower, originally known as the Straus Building, is being converted into 243 condominiums. Prices range from around $300,000 for a 750-square-foot one-bedroom to $1.6 million for a 1,932-square-foot three-bedroom. In addition, there are six penthouses of 3,800 square feet to 5,400 square feet that are being sold as raw space at an average price of $700 a square foot.

Louis D'Angelo, the developer of the building as well as of two smaller projects on the same block, said: "There's an enormous number of people moving back into the city. Crime is down, the schools have improved and there's been a huge investment in public infrastructure in the form of new parks and libraries and police and fire stations.

"And Millennium Park is the icing on the cake."

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/...icago3.190.jpg
William Zbaren for The New York Times
Millennium Park, as seen in the foreground, has spurred development in the East Loop.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/...icago1.190.jpg
Construction of the Aqua Tower is expected to begin this fall.

Dan in Chicago Jun 5, 2006 7:44 AM

Quote:

Millennium Park is adjacent to Grant Park, a much larger park to the south that is part of a chain of parks created more than a century ago along the city's lakefront.
This is a common misunderstanding encouraged by the naming of Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a PART of Grant Park. Not to include it would be like carving out a quarter of Central Park and giving it a different name. Grant Park has always been defined by Randolph, Michigan, the lake, and Roosevelt (although the southern border is a bit more complex). I had this discussion with Bob O'Neill - chairman of the Grant Park Advisory Board - and he confirmed what I have just said.

Jaroslaw Jun 5, 2006 4:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NYT
MILLENNIUM PARK, the $475 million modernist playground...

Unclear what is modernist about it... the layout is classical, the contextualization of the art is classical, the sculptures are not "modernist." Maybe they were at a loss for an adjective? Maybe they meant "modern"?

Latoso Jun 6, 2006 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan in Chicago
This is a common misunderstanding encouraged by the naming of Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a PART of Grant Park. Not to include it would be like carving out a quarter of Central Park and giving it a different name. Grant Park has always been defined by Randolph, Michigan, the lake, and Roosevelt (although the southern border is a bit more complex). I had this discussion with Bob O'Neill - chairman of the Grant Park Advisory Board - and he confirmed what I have just said.

I totally agree with you. But isn't MP run independently of GP and the rest of the Chicago Park District?

spyguy Jun 8, 2006 6:43 PM

I agree with their ideas, but the article makes them seem like really odd people.

Quote:

bicycle equipped with an oldies-playing radio
Quote:

Standing with his megaphone in hand
Quote:

riders instead found themselves gazing into Burton’s backyard
Quote:

"Give it up for the Midwest!" cry
Quote:

the group’s nemesis, Lake Shore Drive
Quote:

Dresden-after-the-bombing feel
Quote:

a fully costumed Daniel Burnham, Montgomery Ward, and George Wellington "Cap" Streeter. That ride stopped after the Burnham look-a-like left Chicago and the following year’s event, "just wasn’t the same," Burton lamented.

And on July 15, the group will host the Queen’s Ride, led by a Queen Elizabeth impersonator. It will start at Queen’s Landing, where a recent de-paving battle was lost.
:rolleyes:

It's like a cult or something:koko:

VivaLFuego Jun 15, 2006 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj
From city web site:

Mayor Daley Releases $1.7 Billion Capital Improvement Program

Aldermanic Menu Program Gets 10 Percent Boost

Mayor Richard M. Daley today released a $1,699,661,246 Capital Improvement Program for 2006 that includes a 10 percent increase in the Aldermanic Menu Program.


“From the day my administration first took office, we made a commitment to keep the city in good repair, even in uncertain economic times,” Daley said at a news conference at 110th and Peoria streets, where City crews are reconstructing a Depression-era WPA (Works Progress Administration) street.


“These projects seldom make big headlines, but they’re absolutely necessary to improve our neighborhood quality of life and create jobs to sustain the Chicago economy. They will make the city more attractive to prospective employers. And they will make Chicago an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”


The program comprises:

• $190 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the city's neighborhood infrastructure program. This includes:

o $122 million in neighborhood improvements (including $66 million for the aldermanic menu program), and other residential street, curb/gutter, lighting, alley and sidewalk projects;

o $38 million for infrastructure improvements to stimulate economic development citywide (industrial streets, streetscaping, medians, viaducts);

o $30 million for green space, facilities, traffic signals and other upgrades;

• $104 million for water system projects;

• $52 million for sewer improvements;

• $532 million for the O’Hare Modernization Program;

• $544 million in other aviation projects at Chicago's two airports;

• $277 million in federal, state, city and other funding for transportation, economic development, open and green space, and municipal facility projects.


Highlights of the program include:


> Installing 32 miles of new water mains;

> Reconstructing more than 7.2 miles of sewers, and lining and rehabilitating another 12 miles of sewers;

> Resurfacing more than 37 miles of arterial streets;

> Installing new street lights on 220 neighborhood blocks, two for each ward;

> Replacing lamps in all alleys citywide;

> Reconstructing 25 blocks of former WPA streets;

> Constructing six new alleys and resurfacing 128 alleys;

> Resurfacing 510 blocks of local streets;

> Replacing 200 blocks of sidewalks;

> Installing new and modernized traffic signals at 48 intersections;

> Reconstructing Grand Avenue, from Narragansett Avenue to Central Avenue;

> Completing new bridges over the Kennedy Expressway at Washington Street and Monroe Street;

> Beginning work on a new North Avenue Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River.


The 2006 Capital Improvement Program increases the Aldermanic Menu Program by 10 percent, bringing it to a total of $66 million, or $1,320,000 per ward


For the second year, the Model Block program has been relaxed, so that each alderman can invest the $120,000 allocation in two Model Blocks, or use the money for other menu-eligible projects.

Hm, I wonder if these include any funds for continuing the CTA subway renovations....since the subway tubes and stations are city assets, while the tracks and signals belong to CTA. Our subway stations, while endearing in their own way, are kind of disgraceful.

Chicago3rd Jun 15, 2006 4:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego
Hm, I wonder if these include any funds for continuing the CTA subway renovations....since the subway tubes and stations are city assets, while the tracks and signals belong to CTA. Our subway stations, while endearing in their own way, are kind of disgraceful.

According to CTA most comes from the Feds then the rest comes from IDOT.

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/c...ticleid=101165

"Work on the project began in May 2004. Funding was provided through the Federal Transit Administration (approximately 80 percent) and IDOT (about 20 percent)."

VivaLFuego Jun 16, 2006 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago3rd
According to CTA most comes from the Feds then the rest comes from IDOT.

http://www.transitchicago.com/news/c...ticleid=101165

"Work on the project began in May 2004. Funding was provided through the Federal Transit Administration (approximately 80 percent) and IDOT (about 20 percent)."

Good catch.

I wouldn't be averse to some or all of the renovation money coming locally though, unless the FTA money invovled somehow prohibits that. Grant money has weird rules sometime. I believe the City of Chicago, through bond issues, property taxes, and TIF districts could do ALOT more to invest some capital money in public transit infrastructure. Wouldn't be hard since they do close to shit now...

alex1 Jun 16, 2006 1:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan in Chicago
This is a common misunderstanding encouraged by the naming of Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a PART of Grant Park. Not to include it would be like carving out a quarter of Central Park and giving it a different name. Grant Park has always been defined by Randolph, Michigan, the lake, and Roosevelt (although the southern border is a bit more complex). I had this discussion with Bob O'Neill - chairman of the Grant Park Advisory Board - and he confirmed what I have just said.

your analogy doesn't quite work in chicago's instance since Millennium Park wasn't carved out of an existing park but built on top of a railroad track. I doubt you'd find anyone pre-2000 that would have termed that exact location part of Grant Park.

you can call it an extension of Grant Park if you'd like but to me it's Millennium Park. Grant Park is its stodgey neighbor.

Chicago2020 Jun 16, 2006 7:00 AM

Is the city planning on covering up the railroad tracks under the Art Institute??????

Perhaps, turning it to a open space area

VivaLFuego Jun 16, 2006 3:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chicago2020
Is the city planning on covering up the railroad tracks under the Art Institute??????

Perhaps, turning it to a open space area

There's 'plans' to deck the tracks over through Grant Park all the way down to about 15th street, but I'd be shocked if anything happened anytime soon...you know, cause it costs money and no one wants to pay for it.

SevenSevenThree Jun 17, 2006 3:54 AM

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y11...enueBridge.jpg

North Avenue Bridge reconstruction begins

Temporary bridge to handle traffic during construction.

New bridge to feature two full lanes in each direction.

Construction crews next week will begin work to replace the North Avenue Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River.

The project will replace the 99-year-old bridge with a modern, architecturally significant bridge employing the latest in bridge technology.

But before that work begins, the city will build a temporary bridge to handle vehicles and pedestrians—so that North Avenue traffic can continue to flow throughout the project.

The new North Avenue bridge will widen the roadway to feature two full lanes in each direction, the same as the rest of North Avenue. Currently, North Avenue narrows to one lane over the bridge.

“This additional lane will be a great benefit to traffic in the North Avenue corridor,” said CDOT Acting Commissioner Cheri Heramb. The new bridge will also feature sidewalks on both sides, a benefit for pedestrians, Heramb said.

The $21.4 million project represents Mayor Richard M. Daley’s continuing investment in Chicago’s transportation infrastructure.

The new bridge will be a hybrid suspension/cable-stay bridge, the first of its kind in Chicago.

The center section will be a suspension bridge, while the ends will be a cable-stay bridge. A suspension bridge hangs from cables anchored at each end, while a cable-stay bridge supports the deck with cables from a central tower or towers.

This configuration allows for an open, airy bridge with a thin deck, or roadway platform. It also creates the maximum amount of clearance over the river, as required by the federal government.

“In a city with a long heritage of innovative bridge design, the new North Avenue Bridge will be a notable addition,” Heramb said.

Traffic impacts

The city has structured the project so that North Avenue will remain open to traffic throughout construction. The temporary bridge will have one lane in each direction, the same as the current configuration. One sidewalk will also remain open.

“As with all our projects, our goal is to minimize the impact on motorists, businesses and residents,” Heramb said.

Motorists wishing to avoid the area can use Cortland to the north or Division to the south.

The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2007.

http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/w...inCategoryOID=

spyguy Jun 17, 2006 4:49 AM

http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/1...400x3009tx.jpg

How tall will the towers be?

HK Chicago Jun 17, 2006 11:16 PM

They look ~40' from the deck.

SevenSevenThree Jun 17, 2006 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HK Chicago
They look ~40' from the deck.

Yeah. I think I read somewhere theyre 45'.

Frankie Jun 18, 2006 11:49 AM

From this weeks crain's

Residents bring later Loop hours
By Darci Smith

Condo dwellers and tourists heading to Millennium Park are helping prompt changes that make downtown a little friendlier after 5.
Business and cultural centers are trying to meet the demands of the Loop's expanding residential population by extending hours, says Ty Tabing, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance. "Percentage-wise, the Loop is the fastest-growing residential neighborhood in the city," he says. "In the past it's been more of a 9-to-5 community."

To find out just how many people now call the neighborhood home, the Chicago Loop Alliance recently funded a study of the neighborhood's various demographics, including residential, business and theater. The study should be completed by summer's end.

When Kim Gray moved to the South Loop last summer from Old Irving Park, she found few after-hours shopping prospects beyond grocery stores and the South Loop Target. "I go back to my old neighborhood to do shopping," says Ms. Gray, 29.

But changes are coming.

The Loop's resurgence prompted extended hours at the Art Institute of Chicago, which will be open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays during the summer. Evening admission is free on Thursdays year-round and Fridays through Labor Day.

Daytime free hours "fell right in the middle of the workday" and weren't benefiting Chicagoans, says Erin Hogan, director of public affairs. The hope is that downtown residents will pop in after work or before heading to evening activities in Millennium Park or Grant Park. "There's a real desire on our part to take part in the revitalized area," she adds.

Water Tower Place, too, has begun summer hours: Stores are open till 9 p.m. on weekdays. "We want to be accessible to everybody, no matter what their schedules are," says a Marshall Field's spokeswoman. "It's really giving the customer what she wants."

BVictor1 Jun 18, 2006 5:53 PM

http://www.chicagoreader.com/feature...eworks/060609/

Can You Spot the Blight?
Insiders say Mayor Daley wants to re-up the Central Loop TIF, a barely overseen slush fund that sucks tax dollars away from schools and other public services in the name of stimulating development.

bBy Ben Joravsky

June 9, 2006

IN THE PAST few weeks city officials have been leaking their plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars rehabbing downtown office buildings, building new transit lines, and improving infrastructure throughout the Loop. The word around City Hall is that the flurry of announcements heralds the start of two campaigns: Mayor Daley’s run for reelection and his effort to extend the soon-toexpire Central Loop tax increment financing district to pay for a major portion of the proposed development. It’s a bit of a stretch to say the battle for the downtown TIF, set to end next year, is as crucial to Daley as his reelection, but it’s not that far off. The administration’s addicted to TIFs, which let the mayor keep his grip on city operations and give him a powerful weapon for keeping the City Council in line.

For the record, administration officials say they haven’t decided whether they’ll ask the City Council to extend the Central Loop TIF, which collected about $88 million in property taxes last year. But hardly anyone believes them. As insiders see it, city officials are quietly gauging the accommodations they’ll have to make in order to win support for extending or even expanding the TIF. “If you think Daley’s going to give that up, you’re naive,” says one county official. “He’s just putting on the window dressing to make it look good to the public.”

http://www.chicagoreader.com/feature...9/dearborn.jpg

A TIF caps the property taxes that get paid to entities like the Chicago Park District, the Board of Education, Cook County, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for a period of 23 years. So let’s say you were paying $1,000 a year in property taxes when a TIF was created in 1995, with about $500 going to the schools, $70 to the parks, and $73 to the county. That’s roughly what they can expect to get from you, no matter how much your property assessment goes up in the meantime. The extra—the increment, as they call it—goes into the TIF, to be spent at the discretion of the city’s planning department and the local alderman. The idea is to use the funds to spur development within the TIF’s boundaries, theoretically increasing the property tax base in the future.

Once adopted, TIFs practically disappear from public view. They’re not listed in the city budget or even, believe it or not, on your tax bill. The city offers no easy way for you, the citizen, to track a TIF over time to see how much is raised and spent. There’s an annual budget statement for each TIF, but it’s little more than an actuarial statement— money in, money out. And they aren’t posted on the Web. You can only get them from the planning department or at the municipal reference section at the Harold Washington Library Center.

You can’t even get a straight answer as to how much of your property tax bill is going to a TIF. If you live within a TIF district, your tax bill lies. Under the line item for the TIF it will say the fund draws zero dollars. In fact, if your property was built after the TIF was created, all of your tax dollars could be going to it.

Obviously, Daley and the City Council love TIFs—they’ve created more than 100 of them over the last ten years. Last year they diverted about $335 million in property taxes, up from $287.4 million in 2004. By law they’re supposed to be limited to blighted communities that would find it difficult to attract investment without the sweetening offered by a TIF. But given their minimal oversight, they in effect function as private piggy banks to be drawn on when, where, and how Daley and the local aldermen want. There’s TIF money going to upscale projects in gentrifying neighborhoods—the city’s even spending $46 million in TIF dollars to rehab buildings on Loyola University’s north lakefront campus, a public subsidy for a private institution that doesn’t pay property taxes. From the time the planning department officially proposes a TIF to the time the City Council approves one, people who owe their jobs to Daley or to people who owe their jobs to Daley run the process.

The Central Loop is the big daddy of all the TIFs. Originally created in 1984 by Mayor Harold Washington to cover 15 blocks in the north Loop, it was expanded in 1997 to cover pretty much everything between Michigan and Dearborn, running from the Chicago River down to the Congress Parkway. Community activists opposed the expansion, noting that it diverted hundreds of millions in property tax dollars from a public school system in desperate need of cash to a corner of the city that was already booming. “This TIF expansion amounts to a tax grab for downtown developers,” said Ted Thomas, board president of the community group ACORN, at the time.

But Daley prevailed, arguing that the approximately 15 office buildings in the area with occupancy rates below 90 percent qualified the district as blighted. Over the last five years the TIF has diverted at least $350 million in property taxes—$88.1 million last year alone—according to the Cook County Clerk’s annual statement.

And what did we get for all that money? According to studies by Jason Hardy and Art Lyons, researchers at the nonprofit Center for Economic Policy Analysis, it’s been used to finance over $100 million in public works improvements, including streetscaping, street lighting, and repairing sidewalks. About $6.6 million went to convert the Fisher Building at 343 S. Dearborn into luxury rental apartments, another $2.5 million went to convert the Mentor Building at 37 S. State into condos, and about $25 million went to convert or rebuild several hotels including the Hotel Allegro, the Hotel Burnham, the Oxford House, and the Saint George. A big chunk of the money—roughly $60 million—went to rehab or rebuild the Chicago Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, and the Cadillac Palace Theatre. And of course, the Central Loop TIF was there when Daley needed it most: he plucked $95 million from it to cover cost overruns at Millennium Park.

The city sees all this as signs that the TIF has been a smashing success. “It has been successful in bringing in new business, new retail, new visibility, new commercial, new entertainment to the downtown area,” says Constance Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the planning department.

But this very argument makes it hard to justify extending the TIF another 23 years: if the area’s booming, why is it in need of even more subsidies? “You can’t have it two ways,” Hardy says. “You can’t say the TIF has transformed the Loop and then say that the Loop is still blighted.”

As Hardy points out, the argument for the TIF has always been that it will eventually benefit the schools and parks by expanding the tax base. But if the TIF gets extended it will just keep feeding itself. Already the original 15- block north Loop TIF district is providing less in property taxes than when it was created back in 1984. According to the city, the north Loop tax increment redevelopment plan generated $5,407,659 in 1982. Last year that property generated only about $3.5 million because the assessment remains frozen at $54.5 million and the tax rate has dropped to 6.28 percent.

Don’t expect these issues to be debated by the City Council, which treats TIFs like zoning changes, generally going along with whatever the local alderman wants. As more than one alderman has told me, TIFs are the only game in town. If you want a TIF in your ward you have to be for TIFs in every ward.

Perhaps no one illustrates this point better than Ted Thomas, the ACORN activist who denounced the Central Loop TIF expansion back in the day. Now he says he’ll support its extension. What’s changed? Thanks to the prominence he gained as president of ACORN, he was elected alderman of the 15th Ward in 1999. After several years of representing his southwestside neighborhood on the council, he says he’s seen the light on TIFs. In fact, he proposed one for his ward that the council unanimously approved earlier this year.

“When I was president of ACORN I was looking at things from that point of view,” he says. “Now as an alderman, I’m pushing for a TIF in my ward. If the alderman wants something for his ward, the other aldermen should help him do it. It’s how you get things done.”

Loopy Jun 20, 2006 5:28 PM

Has anyone heard any updates on the Wabash Ave. elevated track cosmetic improvements?

http://www.chicagoloopalliance.com/l...After(new).jpg

last year, Chicago Loop Alliance announced this project to sandblast and paint the El track structure the same maroon color as the bridges. There was lighting and landscaping improvements as well. It was definitely announced as a summer 2006 project. Nothing happening yet.

http://www.chicagoloopalliance.com/b...astructure.htm

Chicago2020 Jun 24, 2006 5:51 PM

Museum-to-park bridge to get public airing

By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
Tribune Staff Reporter
Published June 24, 2006


Plans for Renzo Piano's pedestrian bridge linking the new wing of the Art Institute of Chicago with Millennium Park will be unveiled next month at a public meeting.

The bridge would stretch 620 feet from the southwest corner of the "Great Lawn" to the top floor of the museum's new modern wing. From its landing in Millennium Park, it would gently slope up, reaching about 40 feet above Monroe Street, according to the Art Institute.

Unlike the bulkier BP Bridge that meanders across Columbus Drive, the Art Institute bridge would be made of steel and glass, and be light and airy, said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, which is organizing the public meeting.

"The views from here are going to be incredible," O'Neill said. "It'll become a Chicago icon, because there are no other opportunities to look at the park, the lake and the skyline and be outdoors and be up that high."

The museum is adding an outdoor sculpture terrace and possibly a dining area with a restaurant at its third floor, officials said. The bridge would open onto this part of the wing, which would serve as a viewing area, O'Neill said.

The bridge and the outdoor terrace area would be open to the public, regardless of whether visitors are visiting the Art Institute.

O'Neill said support columns for the bridge would be hidden by trees within Millennium Park and go over fenced-off service areas where equipment is stored.

Although the Art Institute does not have a final price tag for the bridge, $14 million has been given by a private donor toward construction.

The bridge must be approved by the Chicago Plan Commission, which is scheduled to consider it July 20, O'Neill said.

The Grant Park group's meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 10 at Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph St.

jcchii Jun 25, 2006 2:16 PM

^^I walk under the tracks every day and I haven't seen any sign of it

BVictor1 Jun 25, 2006 3:49 PM

** Removed for copyright infringement **

-Dylan Leblanc

BVictor1 Jun 25, 2006 3:59 PM

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-b...06-23&id=21092

June 23, 2006

Chicago developers reach for the sky
Construction boom adds 40 buildings of 50 stories or more since 2000


(AP) - In this city where the skyscraper was born, it is being reborn.

Luxury condominium towers and office buildings that climb 600 feet or more - some way more - into the sky are sprouting up all over downtown. Along the Chicago River, the Trump International Hotel and Tower is inching its way up to what will be its full 92-story height. Nearby, plans are in the works for a 124-story skyscraper called the Fordham Spire that would knock the Sears Tower from its perch as the tallest building in the United States and take its place among the tallest buildings on the planet.

In all, no fewer than 40 buildings at least 50 stories high have been built since 2000, are under construction or are planned. Together, they add up to a surge in high-rise construction in the city that, if not unprecedented, hasn't been seen here since the 1960s and 1970s when the Sears Tower, John Hancock Center and other buildings helped give the city one of the most distinctive skylines in the world.

And while there is a flurry of high-rise construction in the United States, particularly in New York, Miami and Las Vegas, the tallest of the tall are going up in Chicago. Of the three tallest buildings under construction, two are here, according to Emporis, an independent research group that catalogues high rise construction around the world.

"Out my window there are two, three, four, five new high-rises under construction or just completed in the last year and a half, and they've just announced another 80-story building," said Jim Fenters, who has lived on the 51st floor of a 54-story building overlooking Grant Park since 1979. "It's just remarkable what's happened here."

So widespread is high-rise construction that projects that would be headline news in other cities go all but unnoticed.

"The Waterview Tower, that project is 1,047 feet, taller than the Chrysler Building," Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic said of one building under construction. "In any other city there would be endless conversations, (but) here a 1,000-foot tower is, 'Ho-hum, how are the Cubs doing?"'

A mix of several factors have triggered this construction frenzy.

Start at City Hall. Chris Carley, the developer of the Fordham Spire, remembers the days not so long ago, maybe seven years, when city officials would greet proposals for high-rises with talk about knocking off 10 or more floors.

"The comment from the planning department was, 'Well, we don't want to have these huge, tall buildings like New York,"' he said.

Contrast that with the more recent experience of Chicago architect David Haymes, during discussions with the city about a planned condominium tower.

"I remember at least two (planning and development) staff members saying, 'Can't you make it taller? We really would like it taller.' We were taken aback."

Other developers report similar experiences.

"If you give them something that's architecturally significant ... they'll let you build what you need to build," said Donald Trump Jr., who is overseeing construction of his father's skyscraper.

Carley and Kamin say Chicago's change in attitude might have something to do with Sam Assefa, a former San Francisco planner who came to the planning department a few years ago espousing the virtues of tall, thin towers like those popping up in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Neither the mayor nor Assefa would comment for this article, but Carley said Mayor Richard M. Daley clearly took Assefa's message to heart.

"He's definitely encouraging and espousing taller buildings," said Carley, whose Fordham Spire would rise 2,000 feet, or more than a third of a mile, into the air.

Known nationally for beautification efforts like planting flowers, shuttering a small downtown airport to open a park, encouraging rooftop gardens and building "green" schools, the mayor might seem an unlikely champion of high-rises.

But Daley's planning commissioner, Lori Healey, says it all makes sense. In exchange for allowing developers to go higher where eyepopping views - and huge price tags - are, the city gets buildings that are a lot smaller at their base than the ones developers would have to build if they weren't allowed to push high into the sky.

"You have less space taken up at the ground levels (and) there is a lot more green space," Healey said.

The city also gets something in short supply in downtowns with shorter, wider buildings: light.

"The shadow cast by the profile of a tall, thin building is much less than a short, fat one," Healey said.

That's not to say there aren't concerns - particularly since some of these new buildings will figuratively and literally cast their shadows on some of the city's most recognizable landmarks.

"There is a concern (that) while on balance this is a good trend, very tall buildings don't belong everywhere," said Kamin, offering Trump's skyscraper as an example.

"The jury's out on whether (the building) will overwhelm landmarks like the Wrigley Building and overwhelm the river," he said. "People are concerned."

But nobody would be talking about the pros and cons of skyscrapers if there weren't a market. In Chicago there is.

It seems that more than a century after the world's first skyscraper, or "cloudbuster" as they were called in 1885 when the nine-story Home Insurance Building went up, Chicagoans remain enamored with tall buildings.

"Chicagoans live and breathe high-rises both within the profession and within the city," said David Scott, chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which, not surprisingly, is based in Chicago.

One reason for the latest surge in construction is that Chicago, like many major cities, is becoming an increasingly popular place to live among people with a lot of money - precisely the population that fled cities for suburbs decades ago.

Downtown, tall condominium towers - some with units selling for millions of dollars - are popping up at a pace that those who track development have never seen before.

"Nearly 6,000 (rental and condominium units ) are going to be delivered this year," said Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago real estate consulting firm. "It's bigger than anything I can remember, and I've been in business since 1975."

The city's geography also plays a role. Unlike some other cities that don't have much space to build, Chicago has huge chunks of land. Perhaps more importantly, the land sits near Lake Michigan, the Chicago River or parks - all places where future developers can't build view-blocking skyscrapers of their own.

"We offer unobstructed views, basically forever, of the park and the lake," said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy.

Not only that, but thanks to the internationally acclaimed Millennium Park and other projects, longtime residents like Fenders say the view is getting even better.

From his window, Fenders can see Millennium Park's bandshell designed by architect Frank Gehry. He can also see where Renzo Piano's new wing at the Art Institute of Chicago is being built and the spot where there are plans to build the Santiago Calatrava-designed Fordham Spire.

"These are three of the most famous architects in the world, and their (projects) are right here," he said.

CMD UW Jun 25, 2006 5:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frankie
From this weeks crain's

Residents bring later Loop hours
By Darci Smith

Condo dwellers and tourists heading to Millennium Park are helping prompt changes that make downtown a little friendlier after 5.
Business and cultural centers are trying to meet the demands of the Loop's expanding residential population by extending hours, says Ty Tabing, executive director of the Chicago Loop Alliance. "Percentage-wise, the Loop is the fastest-growing residential neighborhood in the city," he says.

This is what you want to hear. Not only is the Loop growing it is thee 'fastest' growing community in Chicago. Wicked.

sentinel Jun 25, 2006 11:35 PM

^^^http://www.chicagobusiness.com/image.../og062606q.gif
The cool thing about the picture that was attached to the article above is that it's very, very recent, from perhaps withing the past month or two, primiarly because in the background you can just make out 340 on the park under construction.
Quite an amazing skyline!!!!

Wheelingman04 Jun 28, 2006 3:06 AM

^ I love that photo.

spyguy Jun 29, 2006 3:50 PM

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-roof29.html

City Hall's spreading the green
June 29, 2006
BY GARY WISBY Environment Reporter


Chicago is already tops for green rooftops, leading North America in the latest survey.

But City Hall, which started it all with a 20,300-square-foot green roof five years ago, wants more company downtown.

So under a plan that won City Council approval Wednesday, the city will offer matching funds up to $100,000 to put green roofs on downtown buildings.

The pilot program will draw $500,000 from the Central Loop Tax Increment Financing District. At $10 per square foot, that's enough to fund five to 10 projects, said Michael Berkshire of the city's Department of Planning and Development.

He calls the new project the GRIF TIF -- Green Roof Improvement Fund Tax Increment Financing.

"If it's a success, we'd like to target other TIF areas," Berkshire said. Prime candidates would be areas troubled by flooding or that are big contributors to the "urban heat island" effect -- conditions eased by roof plantings.

Buildings also benefit because green roofs cool the floor below in summer and help hold heat in winter. City Hall's greenery saves $5,000 a year on utility bills, Berkshire said.

Inspiration from Germany

Green roofs also extend the life of existing roofs by protecting their waterproofing membranes from ultraviolet rays and temperature change.

Where practical, green roofs are planted on all new and rehabbed city buildings. "Most people associate them with new construction," said Planning and Development spokeswoman Connie Buscemi. "That's a myth this program will help dispel."

Smaller buildings are getting the roofs, too. Last year, the city awarded $5,000 grants to 20 owners of homes or small businesses from a pool of 120 who applied.

A survey by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities said Chicago led North American cities in 2005 with 295,000 square feet of completed green roofs. But Berkshire said 2.5 million square feet are in various stages of development on more than 200 public and private structures.

That's not counting the 1,067,220-square-foot Millennium Park or the new 239,580-square-foot park at Soldier Field. Both are considered green roofs because they are built over parking garages.

Chicago's elevated greenery is one of Mayor Daley's darlings. He was wowed by green roofs in Hamburg, Germany, during a 1998 tour, and City Hall had its green roof by the end of 2001. It cost $2.5 million, funded by a settlement with ComEd.

Now that aldermen have OK'd the new program, Berkshire will start talking it up with business groups and building owners. Applications will be accepted online, with a Sept. 1 deadline.

Green connections lead to garden on garage


Sara and Joe Shacter have one of the newest and nicest green roofs in town, and it didn't cost them a dime.

The 20-by-22-foot garden was planted on their flat-topped garage on North Leavitt two weeks ago by Animal Planet's "Backyard Habitat" show.

Plantings were already in bloom so the roof could be shot for an episode that will air in the fall.

The Shacters built the home and moved into it in February with their 2-year-old twins, Jason and Benji.

It was chosen for the TV show because the couple had thought about adding a roof garden themselves, and because of Joe's green connections.

He works for the Environmental Law & Policy Center and is a former president of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, "so we're pretty environmentally conscious these days," his wife said.

Joe added, "We have an astounding green roof, and way before we thought we would."

The garden was designed by Bernie Jacobs of Jacobs Ryan Associates and installed by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, a Hebron, Ill., firm that specializes in green roofs.

Snow, animals no problem

The company has built about 70 green roofs in the Chicago area, 60 of them in the city, said Kurt Horvath of Intrinsic.

For each job, he assesses whether the roof is strong enough to hold the additional weight of dirt and plants -- the range is 15 to 40 pounds per square foot.

What about snow? Chicago roofs are built to withstand it, "so there's no reason to remove it," Horvath said. "You leave it just like you would on your [ground-level] garden."

Animals are no problem, either, he said. "I've never seen any type of squirrel or rodent damage."

At the Shacter residence, Intrinsic installed a $15,000 garden, using 21 plant varieties including asters, chrysanthemums, delphiniums and three types of sedum, the tough, colorful common denominator of green roofs.

"We're watering it for the next two weeks, but after that it will be self-sustaining," Sara said. "I had no idea it would be so pretty."

Joe said the garden complements the home's landscaping, which incorporates several native elements.

"We're infatuated with our roof," he said. "We've got neighbors across the alley yelling at us, 'Thank you for the view!'"

Dan in Chicago Jun 29, 2006 6:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alex1
your analogy doesn't quite work in chicago's instance since Millennium Park wasn't carved out of an existing park but built on top of a railroad track. I doubt you'd find anyone pre-2000 that would have termed that exact location part of Grant Park.

you can call it an extension of Grant Park if you'd like but to me it's Millennium Park. Grant Park is its stodgey neighbor.

It's not my analogy, it's the official Chicago Park District boundaries. You're forgetting that not all of Millennium Park was railroad yards: there was a substantial area of parkland along Michigan Avenue, where the original peristyle was, that was always considered part of Grant Park. And I don't see what's stodgy about green space... are we living in an age when any park that isn't paved from end to end with "attractions" is dated?

Chicago2020 Jul 11, 2006 3:24 AM

No step taken to replace crosswalk

Jon Hilkevitch
Published July 10, 2006

New bridges exclusively for pedestrians and bicyclists are gaining a welcome foothold in Chicago, improving access and safety and adding beauty to the landscape from Millennium Park to the south lakefront.

The next installment to the series of spans recently built in the Grant Park area will be the new pedestrian bridge at Monroe Street, connecting Millennium Park to the new modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Plans for the gently sloping steel-and-glass Art Institute bridge, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, will be presented at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph St.

But there is no progress to report on Queen's Landing, where Chicago officials removed the traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk to Buckingham Fountain a year ago--without any public notice. The crosswalk near Monroe Harbor was installed in 1988 after a 13-year-old girl was struck and killed by a car.

Civic leaders who for the last year have unsuccessfully prodded the city to bring back the crosswalk are now beginning to focus efforts on forming a public-private partnership.

Their goal on this first anniversary of the crosswalk's closing is to raise some of the estimated $15 million needed to build a bridge or an underpass at Queen's Landing, named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 1959 visit to Chicago.

The civic leaders point to the city's ongoing strategy to sell corporate naming rights to the Chicago Skyway; to the approximately $15 million in private funding donated by Art Institute sponsors for the Monroe Street bridge; and to the Millennium Park bridge paid for in part by British Petroleum.

"This is an easy project to attract private dollars because with millions of people in cars on Lake Shore Drive, on foot and on bikes, it would be the most visible corporate sponsorship in the park area," said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council.

"With the obvious connection to Queen Elizabeth, I'm going to start by calling [British entrepreneur] Richard Branson at the Virgin Group and British Airways," O'Neill said.

Chicago traffic authorities initially said it was necessary to remove the Queen's Landing crosswalk to more efficiently move the 139,000 vehicles a day that travel on Lake Shore Drive through the busy Grant Park area. One pedestrian pressing the "walk" button there, changing a green light to red for 34 seconds, inconvenienced a hundred or more vehicles, they said.

Officials also promised to come up with a solution--a bridge or a tunnel--for pedestrians seeking access from Buckingham Fountain across the eight lanes of Lake Shore Drive to the water's edge, to Navy Pier and the Museum Campus.

Yet a Chicago Department of Transportation feasibility study, started before the crosswalk, is still in the conceptual phase.

"Our engineers are taking a look at the available space and concerns related to construction, sight lines and access points with respect to building either a pedestrian underpass or a bridge," said CDOT spokesman Brian Steele. "But we have not drilled down to the details yet."

Steele said there is "no real timeline" for moving the project forward, although the city intends to apply for federal funds later this year to eventually build something.

"Any large-scale project like this is always going to be a lengthy process," Steele said.

But other projects are under way.

The city has secured about $6 million in federal funding to add a pedestrian bridge over South Lake Shore Drive at 41st Street and to design replacement bridges at 35th and 43rd Streets on the Drive, Steele said. The bridges, whose winning designs were selected from a CDOT-sponsored international competition, will be built over the next several years, he said.

In addition, plans are set to build a pedestrian and bicycle underpass beneath Solidarity Drive near the Adler Planetarium on the Museum Campus. All $11 million needed for the project has been acquired, Steele said.

The work follows the 2003 completion of the 11th Street Columbus Drive pedestrian-bike bridge and underpass and the 18th Street pedestrian-bike bridge.

But the slow pace of progress at Queen's Landing is leaving some Chicago business and civic leaders dissatisfied. "Of all the bridges being discussed, this is the most important one, linking Grant Park and the lakefront," said Louis D'Angelo, chairman of the Chicago Loop Alliance. "It needs to be put at a higher priority."

In light of the already long list of corporate sponsorships in Millennium and Grant Parks, such creative financing at Queen's Landing could place the project on a fast track, said D'Angelo, a developer who is president of Metropolitan Properties of Chicago.

Five million people visit Buckingham Fountain each year, according to the Chicago Park District, which owns the land on both sides of Lake Shore Drive. Millennium Park, home to the BP Bridge that snakes across Columbus Drive, is visited by about 3 million people, according to Millennium Park officials.

The Park District plans to work with other city agencies to develop a workable solution at Queen's Landing that is aesthetically compatible with the historic nature of the park and improves safety for park users, said Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.

A year after the crosswalk closed, people still occasionally risk their lives bolting across Lake Shore Drive, according to the Chicago Traffic Management Authority.

Snow fencing hastily erected last year to discourage pedestrians, bicyclists and joggers from darting across the roadway has been replaced by concrete bollards linked by decorative chains. But remnants of the striped pedestrian crosswalk are still visible in the pavement.

"I think the bollards are ugly and perfectly stupid," said Kathy Schubert, a member of Forever Free and Clear, one of the groups pushing for a pedestrian crossing that is separated from the traffic. "It's easier to climb over the bollards than to scale the snow fence. The situation is an accident waiting to happen."

Pedestrian crossings on Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain still exist at Monroe, Jackson and Balbo Drives and at 11th Street. But the distances to those intersections are longer than the average city block and, once there, pedestrians must contend with turning vehicles cutting through the crosswalks.

City officials are still defending their decision to close the crosswalk.Daily traffic counts have increased substantially, up 13 percent north of 18th Street, said Kevin Smith, spokesman for the Traffic Management Authority. That's due in part to Lake Shore Drive being an alternate to the Dan Ryan Expressway, which is under construction, he said.

"Generally, pedestrians have made the adjustment [to the closed crosswalk pretty well and it seems traffic is running better through the spot," Smith said. "We think the pedestrians have found there are alternate locations to cross safely."

Chi_Coruscant Jul 11, 2006 11:51 AM

Millennium-Art Institute bridge gets public airing

July 11, 2006

BY KEVIN NANCE Architecture Critic
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/...-millen11.html

The Art Institute of Chicago's proposed $25 million bridge would soar above Monroe Street between Michigan and Columbus in the summer of 2009, connecting Millennium Park with the museum's new Modern Wing.

It would be 620 feet long and 15 feet wide. It would be 23 feet above grade as it begins to cross over Monroe, and 30 feet high at the point of its junction with the museum.

And unlike the park's BP bridge, it would be open year-round, thanks to a heating system that would melt any ice or snow that accumulates on its aluminum floor.

Art Institute and Millennium Park officials doled out these and other tidbits about the bridge, which was first announced last year, at a Monday night meeting of the Grant Park Conservancy and the Grant Park Advisory Council. The event was one of a series of meetings with community groups at which the museum hopes to build support for the bridge before seeking final city approval for the project later this summer.

"We're excited about the opportunity to connect these two great cultural institutions in Chicago," said Meredith Mack, the Art Institute's vice president of operations.

Response mostly positive

If Monday's meeting is any indication, the museum appeared to have little to worry about. Reaction to the bridge, which would start at the southwestern edge of the Pritzker Pavilion's Great Lawn and end up on the Modern Wing's third-floor sculpture terrace, was mostly positive.

The Grant Park Conservancy's Bob O'Neill, for example, hailed the plan for the views it would offer pedestrians of the city, the lakefront and the Michigan Avenue streetwall. "You can't get those views from anywhere else," he said. "I think it'll be incredibly well-used and a huge success."

Millennium Park's Ed Uhlir agreed, noting that the bridge will offer a spectacular and currently unavailable view of the park's Lurie Garden, which slopes down toward Monroe.

A minority opinion came from downtown resident Greg Reid, who lives in the nearby Harbor Point Condominiums, which overlooks the park. Reid said he was concerned about the bridge's potential to obstruct views of and from the lake, and about the broader issue of overcrowding and noise in the vicinity of the park.

"A lot of people do live here in the neighborhood," he said. "I don't want to turn Grant Park into Navy Pier, where people come down to party all the time."


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