Woodlawn Ave. Corridor- an innovative institution-neighbors plan to cooperatively preserve and enhance Chicago's largest continuous stretch of custom-designed homes and buildings. 2012 Amendment to the University of Chicago Planned Development,
"U of C Woodlawn Avenue Plan Sub Area O"

This page is solely a document of hydepark.org and sets forth various views on the matter. It does not express policy of HPKCC or any other organization or formal or informal preservation group. Writer Gary Ossewaarde
A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its Development, Preservation, and Zoning Committee and their website, www.hydepark.org. Send us your additions and corrections: hpkcc@aol.com.
Help support our work: Join the Conference!

Writer, Gary Ossewaarde. Note from the editor: although resolved with an innovative agreement, this is still an evolving story.

To page index (what's here) 2017 Plan Update
Public and focus meetings were held from time to time from 2012 forward on subsequent tweaks and projects such as 5710, 5730 S. Woodlawn ongoing to January 19, 2016 on process. Next is March 17, 2016.

Collateral pages:
>>>>> READ AND COMPARE NEW PD LANGUAGE REG. WOODLAWN AVENUE IN PD43 PAGE.
JANUARY 18-19 2012 REVISED FILING LANGUAGE (Almost final) AND "WOODLAWN PLAN"
WOODLAWN CORRIDOR INFO--SEE ALSO THE PLANNED DEV. 43 page. (This includes description and much language from the Amendment).
PD43-WOODLAWN JANUARY 19 2012 MEETING - SETTLEMENT
Return to Home. Development Hot Topics. History and Preservation homepage and link navigator.
CHICAGO THEOGICAL SEMINARY and Meadville PRESERVATION CONTROVERSY AND REPURPOSING
CTS' website is http://www.ctschicago.edu. An independent site: http://www.ctsthreatened.org. The UC says it will be putting up its own documentation site on CTS.
March 28: REPORT OF THE COMMUN. MTG. ON PLANS FOR CTS, ALLEY BLDG./HOUSES, 58TH ST. MARCH 28, 2012
University Hot Topics. University Opposition. Southside Preservation Action Fund.
Landmark District for South Central Hyde Park?
Landmarking Criteria. Landmarking FAQ.
Landmarking Religious Spaces and Institutions.
Preservation Hot. Preservation Beat.
Quadrangle Club. Robie House. ChVD Shaw in Hyde Park.
5-year-in report- May 18 2017 public meeting


See HPKCC position pre Oct. 6 meeting.
HPKCC letter of support for Woodlawn Ave. Landmark District
Nov. 2011- By itself in pdf.

TO FLYER BY WDLN AV HOMEOWNERS ASSN
Oct 6 2011 incl. detail map (pdf but very large file)
To Form with Description of and Support Form for landmark districting (confirmed to be for any interested)
WHOA!'s (Woodlawn Avenue Homeowners' Association) site, http://www.woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org has description of historic architectural significance of the blocks and surrounding blocks and photos of the 5700 block buildings in addition to the groups's positions and material about historic districting. Exhibit on the Avenue by HPHistl Society at SHoP from Nov. 20 5638 S. Woodlawn.

WHAT IS HISTORIC DISTRICTING AND HOW MIGHT IT AFFECT OWNERS: Landmarking Criteria. Landmarking FAQ. Landmark District for South Central Hyde Park? about a not-long-ago effort.

In this page:

Meetings and opportunities

March 17 2016, Thursday, 6 pm. University of Chicago Community Meeting -- not clarified what this is on- could be Woodlawn PD district projects. Saieh 141, 5757 S. University. Reg. not necessary.

 

With more tweaks, the language is endorsed by all sides at Chicago Plan Commission February 17 2012. Passes unanimously, Alderman Hairston praised. Naturally some think it could have been better, but all call it AN UNPRECEDENTED, HISTORIC MODEL--A NEW PRESERVATION TOOL FOR APPROACHING HISTORIC AREAS IN TRANSITION THAT AREN'T LANDMARKED OR IN A LANDMARK DISTRICT AND FOR INSTITUTION-COMMUNITY ARRANGEMENTS- plan for investment and protection of its buildings in the 5700 block and that changes must be reviewed through the city landmark process. Separately, it is expected that five properties will additionally be protected by historic easements.
Next test is the additions to the Becker-Friedman Institute. And the movement for a landmark district continues to be pushed by many. The plan is subject to 5-year review-and-renewal but not revocability (a plus) but a district is permanent and would provide a steady state of rules for many additional properties, most not owned by the university. PD 43 passed city council in March.

THE UNIV. ANNOUNCED AT THOROUGH MARCH 28 MEETING A COMMITTEE like for Woodlawn Corridor/PD43 TO EXPLORE 58-CTU-ALLEY ETC. PLANS, and to explore ideas from audience. MORE MEETINGS ARE PLANNED ON THIS, TRAFFIC MGMT PLAN AND MORE. Visit March 28 REPORT page and website given there- Material is up, in http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/planned-development-43.
Archive pictures of the stained glass and other features of the CTS are online at http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/5757windows.

Herald article-matter and outcome in a nutshell. Neighbors' lawyer's take. Jack Spicer of preservation orgs. statement.
HPKCC President Jane Ciacci praises board members' role
Compare (synopsis) as sent to/ passed by Plan Commission Feb 16 2012 (expected final) to Jan 18 2012. Full final in pdf.
Bulk allowed comparison table.

The first two can also be found at http://www.hpherald.com/hpindex.html.

Herald, February 22, 2012. City Planners OK U. of C. zoning. By Sam Cholke

The University of Chicago's zoning changes for its main campus easily cleared another hurdle on Feb. 17 and now only needs a City Council sign-off.

The university has spent the last eight months in a sometimes rancorous debate with its Hyde Park neighbors about how it should change its zoning and what properties should get special protections. The Chicago Plan commission last week approved of new protection for the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue and plans for three new campus projects, sending the zoning changes to Council.

"There has been a very lengthy process with lots of community involvement," said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who facilitated a series of meeting between community members and university planners. "I think we have a better product because of the community involvement." Hairston said she expects the plan to easily pass in City Council.

The university needed to amend its planned development zoning for campus property to increase the allowable density of building around the medical center. The planned development zoning document outlines how the 214 acres of university property on or contiguous to the campus can be used. Once City Council approves the changes, the university can begin construction on the William Eckhardt Research Center, 5630 S. Ellis Ave.; a new daycare center, 5640 S. Drexel ave., and renovations for the Seminary Cooperative Bookstore's move to the McGiffert House, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.

During community meetings, it became clear that there was considerable concern among residents about the future of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue, a block that adjoins campus that has slowly transformed from residential to institutional use over the past decades. The university included in its filing a report on its projected investments in the buildings through 2016 and wrote into it zoning document that any changes to buildings on the block must go through historic preservation processes with the city.

"This is outstanding, brave and I think groundbreaking," said Jack Spicer of the Hyde Park Historical Society and Preservation Chicago, speaking in support of the proposal at the commission hearing.

Roger Huff, a Hyde Park resident who worked closely with university planners combing through the proposed changers, also spoke in support of the planned development. Both Spicer and Huff said there was room to improve on the proposal, Spicer thought it could be accomplished outside the zoning discussion and advocated a landmark district along portions of South Woodlawn Avenue. Huff said the zoning document could be adjusted to reduce the amount of density allowable along Woodlawn Avenue, now a special subsection of campus zoning.

"The university, community, alderman and her office have put probably hundreds, if not thousand, of hours into this project, "said Richard Gill [of South East Chicago Commission], the third and last to testify in favor of the zoning changes. "I urge you to approve it."

The 22-member commission, which reviews proposals that involve planned developments, the Lakefront Protection Ordinance, planned manufacturing districts, industrial corridors, and tax increment financing districts, unanimously approved the zoning changes.

Captions: University of Chicago Associate Vice President for Facilities and University Architect Steven M. Wiesenthal presents the highlights of the university's proposed planned development 43 amendment to the Commission in City Hall Thursday afternoon.
Woodlawn Avenue [sic: Kenwood] Avenue resident Roger Huff confers with University of Chicago Director of Civic Engagement Ellen Sahli prior to speaking to the Chicago Plan Commission in support of the university's plan.


Adam M. Kingsley- Making Progress on Woodlawn Avenue [Herald's headline]. Herald, February 22, 2012. Mr. Kingsley, esq., is counsel for the Woodlawn Home Owners Association.

I am a lawyer who was retained by the Woodlawn Home Owners Association, a group of Woodlawn Avenue resident who are concerned about the potential impact of the University of Chicago's planned expansion of Planned Development No. 43. I want to summarize my thoughts regarding the substance of the university's application and the process by which we achieved a large measure of success.

When the neighbors first became aware of the university's plan to amend PD 43 there was a great deal of consternation and concern. In truth, the university's initial attempts to explain the reasons for the proposed amendment and, more importantly, the impact of the amendment on Woodlawn Avenue were less than clear.

The large-scale community meeting, while a necessary part of the process, were, unfortunately, a format for one-way communication from the university. Initially, the university's representatives appeared unwilling or unable to engage in any real dialogue or answer specific questions regarding the future of the neighborhood. The generalities offered regarding the university's interest in preserving its properties were non-specific and noncommittal.

I am pleased to say that our concerns regarding the university's secretiveness and evasiveness eventually gave way to open and honest dialogues regarding the future of the block. This change was due, in no small part, to Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who strongly encouraged the university to work with the community and who refused to support the amendment if it did not include viable historic preservation protection. Over time, the university's intent regarding the future of the block and its commitment to preservation became more definite.

The university's disclosure of its Woodlawn Avenue Plan was a turning point, in that the university detailed its plans for the block, and its commitment to preservation, on a building-by-building basis. The university also agreed to to a site review and permit review process that is similar to the one required by the city's Landmarks Ordinance. Although the university's properties are not within a landmark district, proposed changes to its Woodlawn Avenue properties will be reviewed and evaluated with reference to historic preservation standards by staff within the city's well-respected landmarks division. I understand that city staff also played an important role in shaping the language of the amendment.

As further evidence of its intent to preserve the block, the university followed the recommendations of the community by creating a new subarea that includes only Woodlawn avenues by agreeing to height limitations. This should decrease the economic incentive for demolition of historic structures and wholesale redevelopment. These revisions came about as a result of stakeholder meetings hosted by the alderman at her office. These smaller meetings allowed for two-way communication with the university and dialogue on specific issues.

The end result of this process has been the creation of a new preservation tool: the creation of a building-by-building preservation plan within a planned development district. I am hopeful that the spirit of openness and cooperation fostered during the amendment process and encouraged by the alderman wil continue to prevail. Although the community and the university will not always agree, the university must come to the realization that masking its agenda is not an effective way to address planning and development issues in Hyde Park.

Many community members believe that university-owned properties on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue should be included in a landmark district. Although I believe that the proposed amendment to PD 43 and the accompanying Woodlawn Avenue plan provide the equivalent protection to a landmark district, this protection does not extend to the rest of the Woodlawn Avenue corridor (the 5500 and 5600 block of Woodlawn; the east side of the 5500, 5600 and 5700 blocks of University Avenue; and 56th Street between University and Kimbark avenues). This area includes important historic properties owned by the university, including the Quadrangle Club and the soon-to-be-bought* Fenn House at 5634** S. Woodlawn Ave. I am hopeful that the preservation of teh 5700 block of Woodlawn avenue that has been achieved by the amendment to PD 43 should be a starting point for additional preservation efforts in Hyde Park.

It has been a pleasure to work with the university, the alderman and members of the HydePark community to begin the process of securing lasting historic preservation for Hyde Park.

Adam M. Kingsley is an attorney with O'Donnell Law Firm, Ltd.

*Not necessarily by the University, but regardless, no protections are in place. ** 5638.


Jack Spicer, February 22, 2012 as also in the Hyde Park Herald Feb. 22, 2012. Jack Spicer is on the board of Preservation Chicago, Hyde Park Historical Society (where he is Preservation Chair), Hyde Park Historical Society, and Southside Preservation Action Fund, and a landscaper in Hyde Park. His home is in the 5500 block of Kimbark, abutting the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor.

Dear Neighbor --

As you may be aware, the University of Chicago presented its PD 43 expansion application to the Chicago Plan Commission last Thursday, and it was accepted. In my opinion this document represents an outstanding resolution of the potential conflict between the University and the community over the future of the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue. The resolution is not a "compromise" but a whole new and creative way of moderating and guiding change over time on a block with important historic architecture and character. And, most importantly, the resolution was created through an uncharacteristically open and cooperative exchange between the University and members of the community. This is something the University, the community, and Alderman Hairston should be very proud of. (For more information please see the front page article and the page 4 column by Attorney Adam Kingsley in today's Herald: <http://www.hpherald.com/hpindex.html> [here above]).

The resolution is not perfect. It doesn't include the properties on the 5700 block that the University does not own, nor important University buildings in the Woodlawn Corridor that are not on the 5700 block (the Quadrangle Club and Fenn House at 5738 [sic 5638] Woodlawn that the University is negotiating to buy, for instance). Nor does the agreement protect the many important buildings and houses owned by other institutions and by private individuals on the 5500 and 5600 blocks of Woodlawn; on the east side of the 5500, 5600, and 5700 blocks of University; or on 56th Street between University and Kimbark. These other buildings remain vulnerable to unnecessary demolition. And the larger Woodlawn Avenue Corridor remains vulnerable to kinds of redevelopment that could change its historic character through institutionalization and commercialization and could destabilize property values.

Many neighbors have indicated their support of a landmark district for the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor as a solution to these issues. My hope is that given the example of real community cooperation and creativity shown by the PD43 process, we can design a landmark district that is tailored to our specific needs. One that will protect our historic architecture and community character as our neighborhood evolves over time, one that will allow us reasonable expectations of one another, one that will provide property value stability, and one that is not financially or bureaucratically onerous. I hope this can be done through an open and cooperative process involving the community, the University, and Alderman Hairston.

Thanks,
-- Jack Spicer


HPKCC Board President Jane Ciacci praises role of board members in a good final result. (The Conference had also weighed in in letters to the University and in the Herald).

We owe a great debt of gratitude to Jack, who has guided the Woodlawn Ave. neighbors throughout this process, and done so much to publicize the issues; and to Allison Hartman and Conference member Roger Huff, who participated in small-scale and very productive meetings of neighbors with Alderman Hairston (also a Conference member) and the University to reach this resolution that we can be proud of. And to Jay Ammerman, who pressed Civic Engagement publicly and with unfailing civility to engage in more open dialogue with the community. All this has taken place during a time when it seems to me that Civic Engagement has actually paid attention and changed its approach to the community, so let's hope present trends continue. I know that we will all be vigilant.

I am sure that there are other Conference members who have taken active roles in this process that I am not remembering. Thanks and congratulations to all.


Comparison/differences of the final "February 16 2012" passed by the Chicago Plan Commission with the as-known modified dated January 18 and presented at the public meeting of January 19.

See Full PD 43 final as submitted to Plan Commission Feb. 16 2012 compared with January 18 prepared by Roger Huff. Changes are:

Removes that the document under review by Dept..... from all pages.
Confirms new subarea O (so there are 20, re-lettered with uses moving with), inserts (p 2) that only the owner of the subarea can propose regulation changes. For O the uses are: "College and University, School, student and staff housing, residential
support services, and accessory uses related to the principal uses of the subarea."

Starting with page 7, changes "Heritage" buildings to "Historic" buildings in all cases, and changes commitment to preserve and retain historic buildings from as much as possible to as much as practicable.

In the general PD 43 approvals (part II review) of plans re traffic, circulation, parking, landscape etc. adds to requirements page 14, "Prior to the approval of such site and elevation plans for any new building containing more than 75,000 square feet of floor area, any building addition that contains more than 75,000 square feet of new floor area, any new building that is higher than 80 feet or any building addition that creates a total height that is higher than 80 feet, the Commissioner shall submit the plans to the Chicago Plan Commission for its information and comment. Notice of the hearing shall be posted by the Applicant on the property in question (but no written notice pursuant to Section 17-13-0107-A of the Zoning Ordinance, by the Applicant, shall be required)."

Rewording of expiration of approval if the projects (Eckhardt, Childcare West, and Co-op Bookstore) are not done within 5 years.
Other changes are trivial.

See also bulk table as revised (Jan. 4)

Area O- has 187,380 sf / 4.3 acres. Maximum coverage 35% or 65,583 sf. "
Max. FAR (floor to area ratio) 2.20, 412,236 sf.

Introduction, key updates through Jan. 19 2012, key links

To introduction (fall 2011). This site's assessment right after November 9 meeting. Update 1st week of December- stakeholders meetings (near end of this phase?) Links to full and partial PD43 etc. and landmark support forms.

A VERY SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC MEETING WAS HELD ON JANUARY 19 THAT SEEMS TO CLOSE THE CONTROVERSY AND TO PROVIDE FOR ONGOING DIALOGUE. Consideration of an historic district by neighbors will however continue. Full information will be posted, but newly filed Protective Language for the new Woodlawn Subarea, and the Woodlawn Plan are published in:
http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/planned-development-43. OR (more likely to work or go into news site and look around for Behind the News) http://news.uchicago.edu/sites/all/files/PD_statements_1-18-12.pdf and WOODLAWN AVENUE PLAN IN http://news.uchicago.edu/sites/all/files/woodlawn-ave-plan-1-18-2012.pdf.
TO JAN 19 MEETING RECORD in its own page. THE JANUARY CHANGES IN THE REVISED FILING in its own page.
Woodlawn Plan- see links in this paragraph.

Roger Huff, lead community negotiator, wrote ahead of the meeting

As a result of a meeting held last week with a few community members and feedback from the City of Chicago, the University has made a number of positive revisions to its proposed PD43 amendment, including:
+ Creating a new Subarea O that includes its properties fronting the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue,
+ Explicitly recognizing the 'character-defining features' of its 'heritage properties' in the new Subarea, and
+ Adopting a height restriction of 65 feet for the new Subarea.

Similar from Allison Hartman (more than I thought we could get) but rejected by Jack Spicer: height, subject to future negotiation/changes; prefers landmark district.

Attendee Jay Mulberry said in Good Neighbors blog:

I went to the meeting last night and was very, very impressed with the way the University and the community came to accord on this important issue. Truly, it is the first time in my memory that such a reasonable and verifiable agreement was reached, and reached through common commitment to finding a solution.
A lot of credit is deserved by people on all sides but since I can't remember many names let me give my impression that our fellow Good Neighbor and Villager Roger Huff was extremely important in bringing the group together and getting real work done.
Thanks Roger, and all the rest of you University and community leaders!

As of mid though the end of November, various sets of discussions agreed to at the November 9 meeting were indeed underway and incremental progress was made. APPARENTLY NO MORE MEETINGS (last Nov. 29 and December 12--BUT THAT WAS FORMALLY 1ST CONVENING OF 5500-5900 NEIGHBORS AND UNIVERSITY) ARE CURRENTLY SCHEDULED OF THE TRANSITION LANGUAGE TASK FORCE ALTHOUGH THE GROUP LOOKING INTO PROTECTION AND PLAN FOR THE LARGER AREA WAS ABOUT TO START MEETING IN THE SECOND WEEK OF DECEMBER. (Members of the aforementioned TL Task Force seem to expect they will be able to at least review the "Plan" of its holdings in the 5700 block, mentioned below that the University is to submit to the city- timetable not known to this site. However, since the SITE PLANS for the three projects including Co-op Bookstore in McGiffert House ARE DECLARED APPROVED WITH THE AMENDMENT- it's only plans for any other buildings in the 5700 block that won't be approved before the Plan is filed with the city.) (Note again that documents may not be final, accurate, or complete.)
The language spelling out University protection/preservation commitment is softened at the same time it is elaborated in the latest language.
And the University's traffic requirements are also softened compared to what's in the current PD.

THE UNIVERSITY FILED ITS PD AMENDMENT DECEMBER 7. THE ONLY CHANGES ADDED BEYOND THOSE OF NOV. 9 WERE THOSE CIRCULATED BY THE UNIVERSITY AT THE NOVEMBER 29 WORKING GROUP MEETING. (See below for new links to see these.)
At least one member of the working group said that many ideas the University said they would look, including to historic preservation language (pp. 6-8 of the Filed PD Section. No. 4 document in pt 3 Building Character and Scale- Main Quadrangle) "character-defining features" continue only to be defined as "setbacks, FAR, site coverage."
VIEW THE NEW PROTECTIVE AND SELECT OTHER LANGUAGE in pdf (or view below) (Oct. 6 + Nov. 9 + as latter modified with additions Nov. 29/Dec. 7 filing). Note- further major changes were made in January and minor changes in the draft passed by the Plan Commission- see the Compare of the entire in pdf.

There was at least for a while no feedback on additions/changes asked at the November 29 meeting before the filing. But an (apparently not) final meeting was held Dec. 12 that touched upon some of the issues last discussed with the University November 29. The Herald of November 21 quotes neighbor and attendee Allison Hartman to the effect that the University seems at heart to have been trying to see how many are really upset, and that the meetings, while respectful were often dismissive of the neighbors and preservationists' broad goals. "If people had little picky things, they got written down right away and I imagine will be addressed immediately. Only broad things did not get consideration." Comparing what was asked with what was in the final language, the Herald concluded "No discernable changes were made" (after November 28). But the latter did require filing of the plan setting forth condition and any future plans for the buildings [it's not clear to us if this means each whole parcel and it seems not to require later updates], much language from the city's (Historic Resources Survey) standard language for PDs with historic properties. The Herald says that there is a paragraph inserted (Nov. 28 or earlier?) requested by the alderman and residents that buildings must go through an individual review process before any changes are approved by the city (this seems only to apply to buildings on 5700 other than McGiffert, and even then seems not clear.)

Jack Spicer, active in the neighbors' group and preservation organizations, expressed online that he considers the efforts to persuade the University to modify the PD 43 language in "satisfactory" ways, specifically restricting demolitions or development, to have failed. Here's what he said January 17:

Dear Neighbors --

This Thursday evening Alderman Hairston will be holding another community meeting about University of Chicago development on Woodlawn Avenue.

Recent changes in the proposed language for their expanded Planned Development 43 are an improvement. But the proposal still allows increased height for new development on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue -- up to 80'*. This is down from the original proposal of 120' but still above the 47' which is the maximum allowed by the current zoning regulations. This increase in allowed height of new buildings makes demolition an attractive option over preservation. Also, the agreement is renegotiable with the City and therefore not permanent.

Landmarking the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue and the rest of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor would prohibit demolition of the historic buildings and would be permanent -- something the community could depend on for years to come.

Only Alderman Hairston has the power to make a Woodlawn Avenue Landmark District happen, or to block it. Her public objections have been:

•"The neighbors don't want a landmark district." -- To date 35 of the 70 private owner-residents have signed a form supporting a landmark district. The other 35 haven't said "no" they just haven't spoken yet.
•"Woodlawn Avenue residents can't afford to be in a landmark district." -- There can be higher standards for some work done on the facades of landmark district buildings, resulting in higher costs. The residents of the 30 Chicago landmark districts (including the Kenwood and Professors Row Districts in our own neighborhood) feel the opportunity to ensure that changes in their neighborhoods are gradual and respectful is worth the possible added expense. Most of these neighborhoods are far less affluent than ours.
•"The churches can't afford the costs of being in a landmark district." -- Under Chicago law buildings where regular, active religious services take place cannot be included in a landmark district unless they wish to be. A church can enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by a landmark district without bearing any of the possible costs. Two of the 4 churches in the potential district have signed support forms for landmarking.

[*dropped at last minute to 65']

The negotiations/"dialogue" about expanding/ amending the University's Institutional Planned Development 43 (WHAT'S NOW CALLED "TRANSITION LANGUAGE") PROVIDING PRESCRIBED PROTECTIONS AND DIRECTIONS OF INTENT FOR THE UNIVERSITY-OWNED WOODLAWN PROPERTIES AND A "PLAN" FOR THE UNIVERSITY'S WOODLAWN AVE. 5700 PROPERTIES (locked by prescription into the PD language that it is to be submitted but text not part of the PD) consisted of two meetings.
According to Ellen Sahli, UC Dir. of Civic Engagement, to the HPKCC board Dec. 1 2011, focus of the Amendment to PD 43 are the 1- the 16 properties to be added, 2- site approval for three projects (Eckhardt, Childcare, and Sem Coop), 3- shifting about 3% of density allowance in the east (incl. Woodlawn) subzone to the biomed subzone, and 4- transition language speaking to the transition from campus to neighborhood in the Univ-Woodlawn Ave area. The University apparently was not as open to more changes despite remarks of Ms. Sahli.
A number of near neighbors and preservation organizations took part in these discussions with the Alderman, the University and the City. The University held off filing the Amendment while these discussions were in progress.
(Note: the University has concerns and reluctance about a landmark district but has not ruled it out, and considers it (like the easements) separate from the PD amendment because, among other things, it would include other neighbors and properties.) See also Neighbors' attorney's Letter to Ald. Hairston asking changes.

THE UNIVERSITY (EARLY JAN. 2012) SAID THAT THE DECEMBER FILED LANGUAGE WAS NOT FINAL AND DOES NOT "DOCUMENT" ALL THE CHANGES EVEN SO FAR- BUT THE CHANGES OF JAN. 18-19 ARE LIKELY TO BE THE LAST CHANGES UNLESS THE CITY ASKS FOR SOME. The fourth of stakeholders discussions with the University hosted by the Alderman was scheduled for January 11, to be followed by a public meeting at Hyde Park Union Church January 19, including on "university zoning and progress on commitments" (Herald wording). STEVE KLOEHN, of UC information, said re complaints that things agreed upon or at least discussed and not included without feedback, "SOME COMMITMENTS ARE NOT DOCUMENTED" AND ADDITIONS WILL BE MADE TO THE FILED PROPOSAL. SEE LANGUAGE COMPARISON AND WOODLAWN PLAN and COMPARE FEB 16 2012 in own pages. (Synopsis of Compare Feb. 16)

Another meeting (about 3 hours) of the working group of neighbors and stakeholders with the University and Alderman was held January 11. An attendee put out an email to Good Neighbors saying "A number of good things have happened. Please do try to go to the meeting." >>>CHANGES WERE MADE SUBSEQUENT TO NOVEMBER 20 DISCUSSIONS AND IT SEEMS ON JANUARY 11. The most significant appears to be lowering of height limitation from 120 to 80 feet (5 stories), still considered too much by opponents. In addition, it was clear that the University plans a significantly high glass structure (renderings were shown) connecting former CTS and the Nursery School buildings.
A look at renderings in the Woodlawn Plan shows the glass building north of CTS clearly showing and potentially jarring between three historic houses- especially if lit at night. This building will not come up before March in public meetings-- how can the clash be mitigated-- presumably this building will not be stopped.

Allison Hartman commented January 19 in an email to Good Neighbors:

Just got back from a quick meeting with the U of C at Leslie Hairston's
office. Having a Alderman who is on our side has been the best of all possible
worlds. All in all this has been a very pleasant surprise. We were really
listened to by the U of C. We certainly did not get all we asked for but we
got way more than I expected. Please go to tonight's meeting and get the new
paperwork. It is way more explicit and you will be able to see what we have
accomplished.

If you have more specific questions, ask Roger Huff. He did most of the heavy
lifting. We all owe him a vote of thanks. He will be at tonight's meeting.

HERE ARE THE JANUARY CHANGES, from Herald comments on changes in a January 18 2012 article by Sam Cholke

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) has called a meeting this week on the University of Chicago's zoning, and according to documents acquired by the Herald, is likely to propose additional protections on the 5700 block of South woodlawn Avenue. ....At previous meetings, residents around campus were suspicious that the university planned major changes to formerly residential buildings it owns on Woodlawn Avenue and have been meeting with the alderman and university officials on protections for the residential character of the block.

Though the university has already proposed some easements on [some of the] buildings, documents acquired last week show the area is likely to become its own sub-area with special protections.... The new subarea is for 12 structures identified as "Historic Buildings" as defined in "The University of Chicago Woodlawn Avenue Plan 2012-2016," also expected to be released on Thursday. The Woodlawn Avenue plan was mentioned in the last zoning proposal [Dec. 7 filing] but not included. The zoning document says that the Chicago Plan Commission would need to approve any changes to the definition of a character-defining feature, which includes a building's facade, masonry materials and other elements.

The University is expected to propose a height limitation of 80 feet [dropped to 65 feet] for all buildings on the 5700 block, excluding the former Chicago Theological Seminary, 5757 S. University Ave. The previous proposal allowed for the construction of structures up to 120 feet tall, though the university repeatedly said it has no intention of building anything that high.

Other university plans could be unveiled on Thursday, including a traffic management study to be included with the zoning documents. at previous meetings, residents frequently asked about how the university would address bus and car traffic around campus. University officials have promised a separate meeting on the issue.

Media take on Jan. 18 filing and Jan. 19 meeting

Herald, January 25, 2012. By Sam Cholke.
U. of C. wins big on Woodlawn Ave. residents OK zoning changes; university's openness with plans wins over critics

"I hope you know that we heard you" says Alicia Murasaki, executive director of planning and design.

At a community meeting Jan. 19, residents relaxed their criticism of broad zoning changes requested by the University of Chicago, allowing building plans for several large projects to now move forward. In June, the university started holding public meeting on proposed changes to the zoning documents that guide how the institution can use much of its property in Hyde Park. Some residents criticized early presentations as too vague, prompting Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) to hold her approval of the changes until additional meetings were held with the university and its neighbors.

Last week at Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. [Woodlawn Ave.,] the university presented the reports and rules that came out of meetings, to the approval of the roughly 60 community residents in attendance.

"I think it's a go," said Roger Huff, a Hyde Parker who worked closely with the alderman's staff and university administrators to flesh out the vagaries of the original proposal. many residents that live closest to the campus were initially worried that the university planned major changes to the converted houses it owns on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue. Though the university repeatedly stated it has no intention of altering the block, many residents became increasingly concerned when the university backed those claims with only loose preservation efforts. "When you don't know things, you fear the worst," Huff explained at teh public meeting.

At the meeting the university released a report detailing the history and future plans for each of the converted houses it owns on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue. The report describes teh character-defining features of each property, aspects that now enjoy some formal protection in the new zoning document. the report also provides rough estimates of the investment the university plans to make in each building.

"I'm amazed how the university has opened up with its information," said Ronadld Thisted, who lives on South Woodlawn Avenue and was initially critical of the university's proposals. "This process makes it much easier to have these conversations. University administrators also appeared satisfied with the extended community process. "I feel we're in a good place," said Ellen Sahli, director of civic engagement at the university an one of the leads in the zoning changes.

Alderman Hairston applauded the patience adn openness of residents and the university. "This is the first time I can remember having such exhaustive information and plans on university buildings," Hairston said. She said she expected the conversation with residents to continue and hoped it resulted in a more open dialogue on university development in the future.

Any changes to the development conversation between the university and Hyde Park residents should be on display in the coming months as plans for the former Chicago Theological Seminary are presented to the public. The university plans to convert the building to classrooms and offices. questions about preservation of some building details and plans to reroute an alley around the building have already stirred concern in the neighborhood. Meeting are planned for March.

Though the zoning changes may have been approved locally, the city still needs to review the documents before they are sent on to the Chicago Plan Commission for a formal public airing. The university said it is still waiting to receive comments from the city's planning department staff. The city is currently reviewing the documents, according to an official. All documents presented at teh Jan. 19 meeting, including "The University of Chicago Woodlawn Avenue Plan, Sub-Area O, 2012-2017," are available online at the university's news site, news.uchicago.edu, in the Behind the News category under Planned Development 43.

The Maroon of January 24 (by Madhu Srikantha) stressed the new sub area O and the lowering of th height limit to 65 feet therein and the 45-page Woodlawn Avenue Plan. The article cited neighbor's lawyer Adam Kingsley as saying the new language represents and includes promises they had thought they had negotiated and more. The university stressed the now-explicit commitment to landmarked Robie House and Rockefeller Chapel and the stepped-up amount of investment commitment to character and maintenance.

 

Where it goes next: December 7 saw the preliminary filing, necessary to be formally posted as a proposed Ordinance for city departments, commissions, City Council committees on December 14. With the latter done, city staff will review and CAN meet with the Applicant, ask Applicant to make changes. The University says not all changes/additions have been "documented" and changes will be made. The Alderman can also oppose. Once language is finalized, the Amendment next goes before the Chicago Plan Commission (next meeting January 19). Assuming the Plan Commission does not ask or make changes or the alderman oppose and approves that day, next step is the City Council Zoning Committee, which should meet a week before the full City Council. So it could go before Council for final approval as early as February 15.
Asked when the required "Plan" for the Woodlawn Ave. buildings will be submitted, University spokespersons said not before the start of the new year. It has now been submitted. All plans on Woodlawn Ave. other than that for the Sem Coop conversion of the lower part of McGiffert have to be separately submitted. The University will bring before the public on March plans it will file for a large glass building from former CTS through the back yards of 5736, 5740, and 5750 S. Woodlawn.

In December 2011 signs went up on the Meadville main building regarding a zoning change hearing. No information on what that impends.

The effort to establish a landmark district also continues... and Landmarks Illinois placed the whole corridor (stressing non-university owned) on its 7 threatened list.
If you are intending to sign in support, please do so as soon as possible (and mail or scan/email Jack Spicer your form
(Jack can be reached at jackspicer@earthlink.net, 773 324-5476, 5536 S. Kimbark 60637. He informed a group that includes this writer that this appeal is not just intended for "near neighbors"). Eleanor Gorski is the Chicago Landmarks Commissioner and she would like to see as many support forms as possible by November 28 [and hear from as many directly as possible]. Eleanor Gorski, 312 744-3201, egorski@cityofchicago.org.
Landmark Support Form and description
.
See also http://www.woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org.
As of April 11, 34 of 72 eligible had signed, 38 (counting on a map) had not (declined, didn't respond, or had not yet signed). The latter were majority of owners between 55th and 56th, 5600 block was evenly spit. Most properties in the 5700 block are University owned.
ALDERMAN HAIRSTON MADE HER OPPOSITION CLEAR IN A HERALD LETTER APRIL 25, 2012. It is, however a little nuanced, as she said "...I have been clear, vocal and consistent about balancing the needs of all sides -- with particular weight given to resident owners who would bear the costs and restrictions associated with that route to preservation." She said elsewhere that no one is offering to make up or subsidize the costs.

What Preservation Illinois said in its April 2012 listing of Woodlawn Avenue among the Chicago Seven most threatened:
(It seems to target the 5700 block- which could be interpreted as dissatisfaction with the University/community agreement, but the focus according to at least one local preservation involved, was supposed to be the corridor from 55th south including parts of University Avenue and 57th Streets.)
As in th Herald and Maroon:

"...recent purchases by the University of Chicago, coupled with zong change requests by the University to convert from residential to institutional zoning have put the future of those properties [on Woodlawn Avenue] and the historic integrity of the entire neighborhood in doubt."
"Although that process [new city review process from PD43] has been greatly improved due to a new process facilitated by the alderman, threats to the other buildings still remain. Because only the Robie House is a designated city landmark and cannot be demolished, there are currently no guarantees that the other historic homes on the block will not be demolished in the future."

Some neighbors to the north fear they are stuck and the value of their property and ability to sell to new residents threatened.

The University responded with deep disappointment, even though it was praised. This may mean that efforts for a district will be opposed by the University. Spokesman Steve Kloehn was quoted in the Herald April 11: "The Preservation Chicago publicity effort does a disservice the important and effective work of the alderman, community members and university in ensuring the future integrity of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue. The Woodlawn Avenue Plan, and the commitments by the university contained in that plan, provide an unusual level of protection for this block. The community should take pride in the process that led to that plan."

Preservation Chicago responded to the Herald and Maroon, it meant no aspersion on the university but rather "was an attempt to further discussion of the role historic preservation will be playing on the Woodlawn corridor" and to encourage the University to continue its dialogue with the neighborhood over any future construction plans. (Jonathan Fine). PD43 conversation was "a good effort, a productive effort, and a welcome effort. But that's not to say that the dialogue ends today... The discussion of historic preservation, of how both the University and the community are going to manage the historic resources in the coming decade, that's a discussion that needs to continue." "We believe the desire of the community is to craft some kind of a strategy that will help them manage their historic resources over the next several decades."

Jack Spicer on landmarking, January 17, 2012 (see also his letter of Feb. 22, above)

Landmarking the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue and the rest of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor would prohibit demolition of the historic buildings and would be permanent -- something the community could depend on for years to come.

Only Alderman Hairston has the power to make a Woodlawn Avenue Landmark District happen, or to block it. Her public objections have been:

•"The neighbors don't want a landmark district." -- To date 35 of the 70 private owner-residents have signed a form supporting a landmark district. The other 35 haven't said "no" they just haven't spoken yet.
•"Woodlawn Avenue residents can't afford to be in a landmark district." -- There can be higher standards for some work done on the facades of landmark district buildings, resulting in higher costs. The residents of the 30 Chicago landmark districts (including the Kenwood and Professors Row Districts in our own neighborhood) feel the opportunity to ensure that changes in their neighborhoods are gradual and respectful is worth the possible added expense. Most of these neighborhoods are far less affluent than ours.
•"The churches can't afford the costs of being in a landmark district." -- Under Chicago law buildings where regular, active religious services take place cannot be included in a landmark district unless they wish to be. A church can enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by a landmark district without bearing any of the possible costs. Two of the 4 churches in the potential district have signed support forms for landmarking.

The Neighbors Association (or at least a group of residents and attributed by the Herald to Southside Preservation Action Fund) commissioned renderings (theirs are orange-tan colored) of buildings of 120' height which could some day be erected under the PD north of Robie House (McGiffert) or south of Meadville behind 5707 and 5711 (and behind 5740-50)-- provided it did not exceed parcel or overall coverage and FAR. (They say no buildings currently could exceed 45'.) Two of these renderings appeared in the December 21 Hyde Park Herald.
Note that the University has repeatedly said it has no plan or intent to demolish any of the structures but has seemed so far unwilling put that, or limits on the size of any additions or back-of structures into the PD. Four structures on the block (plus 5555) will have (limited) easements if all goes well in the courts, but others not and it indeed seems likely major additions will be built behind some of those.

Note on the maps-- there is a hodgepodge of underlying PINs (property identification numbers). Robie House, which has city landmark status, shares a PIN with the southern half of McGiffert House, where substantial construction and landscaping will be done on the lower levels for the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, cafe, and accessible entry. No rules or cautions governing construction next to a landmark are included in the filing despite such being in the city Historic Survey preservation language for PDs with historic properties-- from which much of the "added protective language" for PD43 was taken.

____________________________________

To the full PD43 in pdf as it was at the end of November. This has a base document in effect where not revised since 1966, plus all amendments and approved adjustments to the present (but often NOT the supporting and defining documents). To the currently-in-effect latest 2005 Amendment city ordinance text (there have been approvals for new buildings etc. since). Note these are very long and may not load in some browsers or computers. They can be found in cityofchicago.org, go to Housing Dept. and to Zoning Dept.--the path is very complicated--see more in our Master Plan/PD 43 page THE MOST RELEVANT PORTIONS IN THE FULL PD43 START c.PAGE 40/45. COMPARE TO FEB 18 AS BY PLAN COMMISSION (and synopsis at top here)

The Filing (draft of Dec. 7 so far) ordinance and accompanying documents can be seen in the above full and at the following 4 links (much smaller files than the full documents). Of the four Sections, 1-3 are only of record interest (1 being of most interest); SECTION 4 is what you want to see- particularly language in pp. 6-8 (part 3 Building Character and Scale- go to Main Quadrangle) plus page 13 related to permit issuance and default designations for Woodlawn Avenue. Following page 16 are the revised density and bulk regulations of the subareas and lots of site maps. SEE CURRENTLY IN THE PD43 PAGE THE RELEVANT LANGUAGE soon to be complete and made a pop up by itself. Here are the PD FILING SECTIONS in PDF:

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
SECTION 4 (note re maps and area descriptions that the Woodlawn corridor is divided between subareas D and E.)

Important changed language (especially for protection/preservation of the Woodlawn "transition" zone, by itself keyboarded (or view below)

The filing is also available in the Chicago City Clerk's website- http://chicago.legistr.com, under the title "Zoning Reclassification App. No. 17383." and....

Finding the latest amendment and related material on PD43 in the University's news site (Thanks to Roger Huff for finding the pathway.) To get to this page from the 'top' of news.uchicago.edu page one has to click on 'behind the news' in the Quick Links section then click on 'Planned Development Amendment 43'.
Here is the link-but this is to the revised January ("Feb 16" but not really): http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/planned-development-amendment-43.
The following links may be easier: (more likely to work or go into news site and look around for Behind the News) http://news.uchicago.edu/sites/all/files/PD_statements_1-18-12.pdf and http://news.uchicago.edu/sites/all/files/woodlawn-ave-plan-1-18-2012.pdf.

Links to the 4 sections of the actual December 7 filing.
It has: PD Statements, Bulk Regulations and Data Table, the Subarea map (pgs 1-18 of the 7+mb Sec. No. 4 pdf file), and other related materials. Latest materials (and probably final except what the city may insist upon) reflect materials circulated by the University at the November 20 working group meeting. Go here to read the whole release and links to subpages.
Also: On the News-Planned Development Amendment 43 page there are links to the 11/9 power point and the 5 articles published announcing /reporting on the 3 community meetings held so far (no article reported on the 11/9 meeting as of the end of November).

To see the PD statement handed out at the 11/9 meeting you still have to go to the link embedded in the text of the article that reported on the 10/6 meeting (4th from bottom). That link takes one to this page:
https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2011/11/11/woodlawn-avenue-pd-statement. (Note, Nov. 29 additions may be placed.)



UPDATE END OF 1ST, 2nd WEEKS OF DECEMBER 2011. (Cf. UPDATE "NEIGHBORS' LAWYER SAYS UNIV. BROKE PROMISES.)
The special task force held two meetings with the University. There was hope for success or at least a document with more protections, but this is an ongoing and necessarily not a public process. Note that many neighbors support also a historic district and hope the University will sign on to such. Attendees at such meetings include ald. Leslie Hairston (the convener), corridor and nearby residents and a lawyer for a resident group, an informal rep from Hyde Park Historical Society, Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago, city Housing and Landmarks people (who brought city language), and of course the University and its law firm in the PD 43 matter, Daley and George.

As of December 7, the University apparently considered the discussions concerning additional transition language concluded and FILED THE AMENDMENT ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 7. Whether with the blessing of Ald. Hairston is not known.
No timetable has yet been provided concerning issuance of a "Plan" for University buildings in the 5700 block.


THE ONLY CHANGES ADDED BEYOND THOSE OF NOV. 9 WERE THOSE CIRCULATED ("Nov. 28") BY THE UNIVERSITY AT THE NOVEMBER 29 WORKING GROUP MEETING. (See below for new links to see these AND TO THE UNIVERSITY SAY THA NOT ALL COMMITMENTS WERE FILED BUT WILL BE.)


According to Ellen Sahli, UC Dir. of Civic Engagement, to the HPKCC board Dec. 1 2011, focus of the Amendment to PD 43 are the 1- the 16 properties to be added, 2- site approval for three projects (Eckhardt, Childcare, and Sem Coop), 3- shifting about 3% of density allowance in the east (incl. Woodlawn) subzone to the biomed subzone, and 4- transition language speaking to the transition from campus to neighborhood in the Univ-Woodlawn Ave area.
A number of near neighbors and preservation organizations were involved in these discussions with the Alderman, the University and the City. The University held off filing the Amendment while these discussions are in progress, according to Sahli.

It's about swapping densities in subzones to gain flexibility while rationalizing its subareas and whole, the University told the community. The University then found it had to recognize that it is also about maintaining the character of the transition from campus to neighborhood. The PD is more important than (and governs) any master plans (said by UC to be passe, but who knows in the future?). Watch for the adjustments to floor-area ratios or coverage formulas, and where. October 6 and after. November 9- toward engagement.

Be sure to keep up with the Woodlawn Ave. page and neighbors' site http://www.woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org. as attention shifts to quest for a historic district and addressing of general character-quality concerns in the wake of the Filing December 7.

Five buildings are being added to the University PD on Woodlawn. The University will own a total of 12 buildings in that corridor from 55th to 59th. (It is separately negotiating and in court about shifting easements from 5 properties in the biomed subarea (B) to the subareas the Woodlawn corridor is in (D and E)- 5555, 5701, 5710, 5720, 5730. The others appear to be open under the governing language only.
5701 S. Woodlawn
5707 S. Woodlawn
5711 S. Woodlawn
5751 S. Woodlawn
5757 S. University

Herald update December 7, 2011. By Sam Cholke. [See other assessment a little before this. The Herald seems in this article to have the relevant facts, conclusions and differing reactions of the parties. NOTE NEAR END THE LANGUAGE PROPOSED AT 2ND MEETING TO BE ADDED TO TRANSITION LANGUAGE.

A group of residents continues to meet with University of Chicago planners and teh alderman to spell out specific protections for buildings on South Woodlawn Avenue--and may be wrapping up next week.

The group of preservationists and residents met with university and city officials last week for a second time to work on hammering out language for the university's official zoning designation, known as a planned development.

"We kind of went sideways," said Betsy Young, who attended both of the meetings at Ald. Leslie Hairston's 5th Ward office. Young said the university continued to skirt proposals for a landmark district to protect properties on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue, but has added city-sanctioned language requiring the university to make an effort to reuse a building before demolishing it. "It think in their minds, they are responding, but not being responsive," Young said.

Earlier this yer, the university proposed amending the zoning document that establishes general development guidelines for all campus and contiguous property owned by the university. Residents have advocated using the process to protect historic buildings on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue that are owned by the university and used as offices. Though the university has made not plans to alter buildings on the block, residents became disconcerted when the university presented only pro forma protections for the properties. Last month, the university officials offered to place easement on several properties and presented re-crafted language that was largely acceptable to most residents at a public meeting. Representatives from the university agreed to meet with residents to hash out a final draft before submitting the zoning amendment to the city.

"I call that progress," said Roger Huff of the added protections written into the zoning documents. Huff, who also attended both meetings, said the university has been responsive, but should again push back its submission to hold one more meeting on its specific objections to a landmark district*
[*and to consider additional language?]

University representatives declined to comment on the process except to say it was moving forward and they hoped to file soon. Participants at the recent meetings said they were told the university hoped to file by December 7. That date appears to have been pushed back as a third meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 12.

Some of the new wording that the meeting attendees claim to have agreed upon includes new boilerplate language drafted by the city for any planned development that includes historic properties. that paragraph reads in part as follows: "In general, original features and materials of the character-defining features should be retained and preserved as much as possible, while any changes should be compatible with the building's historic character." According to meeting participants, the wording was altered to say, "preserved if possible," instead of "preserved as much as possible." More in Neighbors' Attorney's Letter.

[Note: Ellen Sahli of Civic Engagement told the HPKCC board Dec. 1 that final language is being worked on with the group, whose previous meeting was November 29. She said specifically that the University will be required by language to submit a "Plan" for the future of the entire corridor from 55th to 59th. The Plan will not be part of the PD as it includes others' properties-- likewise the easements (to be decided in court) and any landmark district.]

University's release on Dec. 7 filing (http://news.uchicago.edu/behind-the-news/planned-development-amendment-43)

Planned Development Amendment 43
Home » Behind the News. The University of Chicago held several meetings to discuss proposed plans to update a Planned Development, a formal City of Chicago document that explains how the University uses its land and what uses are permitted.

University officials and local elected officials were on hand to talk about the goals and the process of the PD along with discussing the long-term vision for the campus. [ Links to Nov. 9 Powerpoints- these are huge files and may not load:]

Planned Development Amendment Meeting Powerpoint (Nov. 9, 2011; PDF, Part I)
Planned Development Amendment Meeting Powerpoint (Nov. 9, 2011; PDF, Part II)

[This set are links to announcements or descriptions of earlier meetings, amply described in this hydepark.org page, and can be examined as long as up.]

•Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston to hold Planned Development community meeting Nov. 9, 2011
•Community meeting details Planned Development amendment (Oct. 6, 2011)
•Community meeting to discuss proposed amendments to University’s Planned Development (Oct. 6, 2011)
•Community meeting provides framework for campus planning (Jun. 22, 2011)
•Community meeting to discuss University’s Planned Development proposal (Jun. 22, 2011)

On December 7, 2011, The University of Chicago filed an application for an amendment to the City of Chicago zoning ordinance for Planned Development No. 43. Read the application (Sections 1 and 4 are the relevant parts):

Section No. 1 - Application for an amendment to the Chicago zoning ordinance
Section No. 2 - Economic disclosure statement and affidavit
Section No. 3 - Letter from Daley and George, LTD. Law Offices
Section No. 4 - Plan of development statements

Hyde Park Herald's take on December 14 2011

By Sam Cholke. University submits PD plan

The University of Chicago submitted to teh city on Dec. 7 proposed changes to its zoning. Meetings with residents and the alderman on the terms of any zoning changes are scheduled to continue this week.

The Chicago City Clerk's office confirmed Dec. 9 that the university submitted proposed changes to the zoning document that guides how it can use campus property and all contiguous lots fit owns. A representative from the Clerk's Office was able to provide a copy on Monday for review. The official filing is expected bo te Dec. 14.

The draft does include language requested by preservationists and residents that was presented at a Nov. [09] public meeting.

The document the university is changing is called Planned Development No. 43. The changes will allow the university to increase the density of development around the hospital, and also would grant approval to build a new daycare center at 5640 S. Drexel Ave.; rehab the McGiffert House, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., as the new Seminary Cooperative Bookstore; and construct the William Eckhardt Research Center, 5640 S. Ellis Ave.

University and city officials, representatives from Ald. Leslie Hairston's 5th Ward Office, preservationists and concerned residents were expected to continue discussing changes to the zoning document at a Dec. 12 meeting, after press time [and cancelled]. The meetings are intended to finalize language in the zoning document to protect historically significant buildings on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue.

Several changes were apparent since the last major public meeting, including a section that requires the university to go through a separate review process for changes to buildings it owns on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue.

The Clerk's office said the document could still be changed before it is filed and is currently under review by the office to determine if the changes meet minimum benchmarks of accuracy and completeness before continuing through the approval process. The current document does contain some apparent errors, such as confusing the location of the McGiffert House with Laurie Burgess' home on the 5500 block of South Woodlawn Avenue, and will likely be revised before it is officially filed. The submitted ordinance and accompanying documents are available on the clerk's website, chicago.legistr.com, under the title "Zoning Reclassification App. No. 17383."

The university originally anticipated being further along in the amendment process at this point, but was slowed down when it became clear at several public meetings about the zoning that there were a number of land-use concerns in the neighborhood that remained unaddressed.

Though initially raised as concerns that should be addressed by changes to the university's zoning, several issues have taken on independent trajectories. The university has several upcoming meetings scheduled to discuss rerouting onto Woodlawn Avenue an alley that currently empties onto East 58th Street through the Chicago Theological Seminary, 5757 S. University Ave. University officials also promised meetings to address parking and transportation on South Woodlawn Avenue. Meetings are also promised for future plans for the University Ave. seminary building, which was purchased by the university and will be added to its planned development zoning.

It is not clear that issues that were to be resolved by the zoning debate will be put to rest. A group of Hyde Park residents continue to lobby for greater preservation efforts on South Woodlawn Avenue. Neighborhood attendees at previous meeting with the university on zoning said they pushed for puling the entire 5700 block out of the larger zoning designation. According to two attendees at a prior meeting, Betsy Young and Roger Huff, the university agreed to draft a report on the condition of and and future plans for the block, but did not specify what would be included in the plan or when it would be completed.

The university has already agreed to place facade easements on five buildings: the Alumni building, 5555 S. Woodlawn Ave.; the former headquarters of the Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, 5701 s. Woodlawn Ave.; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and LGBTQ Programming Office, 5710 S. woodlawn Ave.; the Concert Office, 5l720 S. Woodlawn Ave.; and 5730 S. Woodlawn Ave. The easements will give Landmarks Illinois some legal say in how any of he facades are changed. To get the easements, Landmarks Illinois has agreed to give up facade protections on buildings near the hospital.

A group of residents on the block continue to push for the formal protections provided by a landmark district and those efforts are likely to continue beyond the finalizing of the zoning changes.

 

New things coming up in the PD boundary or nearby

The December issue of the Medical Center's Forefront describes a new garage to be built in conjunction with the New Hospital Pavilion. There is no request for this either in the 2011 Filing or variances requested and granted for the New Hospital Pavilion (although what's presented in the full PD 43 is only the cover letter, so it's hard to tell. Other garages planned by the University had to go through a Part II review. Whether this is because it replaces the DCAM garage is unknown.

Rumor is that the University is planning to run an addition to old CTS (Becker-Friedman) behind and connecting to 5740 and 5750 S. Woodlawn. This will be in conjunction with the upcoming filing to reroute and close the alley between Woodlawn and University.

We understand that the University has put in a bid to buy Fenn House at 5638 S. Woodlawn, property of First Unitarian and currently housing SHoP. It is rumored that feelers were put out as early as 2010, but this seems to be the first formal bid. So the UC expansion beyond the PD and the 5700 block is underway.

The proposed language (see also in its own page) (COMPARE THIS LANGUAGE TO THE ADDED GREATER DETAIL IN THE JAN 18 FILED REVISION) (In a letter to the Alderman, the attorney for the Woodlawn Neighbors asserted in detail how the Filed PD omitted protective promises, specifically with regards to what changes would be reviewed according to what criteria, governing architectural and historic features specified for each building and that the building specific Plan would govern (as agreed), no community or aldermanic input. It also faulted lack of a separate sub-area with its own reasonable height limit. The alderman's help was sought in getting changes to the filed PD amendment.
Note:
THE UNIVERSITY NOW (EARLY JAN. 2012) SAYS THAT THE FILED LANGUAGE IS NOT FINAL AND DOES NOT "DOCUMENT" ALL THE CHANGES EVEN SO FAR. The fourth of stakeholders discussions with the University hosted by the Alderman was scheduled for January 11, to be followed by a public meeting at Hyde Park Union Church January 19, including on "university zoning and progress on commitments" (Herald wording). STEVE KLOEHN, of UC information, said re complaints that things agreed upon or at least discussed and not included without feedback, "SOME COMMITMENTS ARE NOT DOCUMENTED" AND ADITIONS WILl BE MADE TO THE FILED PROPOSAL.


[In the PD Filing Section 4 (pp. 6-8) part 3 Building Character and Scale]

[A. Introduced at public meeting October 6, 2011]

The Main Quadrangle Zone (defined as Subarea D) is identified by the ensemble of original campus buildings serving a variety of disciplines and functions. The presence of Gothic Revival buildings evoke a character defined by a human scale and careful attention to detail and craft. This part of campus is distinguished as walkable with well-scaled open spaces connected by pedestrian pathways. The Main Quadrangle Zone also includes the transition from the original ensemble of larger scale academic and institutional buildings to the neighborhood scaled institutional and residential buildings exemplified on University and Woodlawn Avenues. Future development should respect the well proportioned mix of smaller scaled institutional buildings, repurposed single family residences, and privately owned single family residences. The serene and walkable character of this soft transition zone should be respected and maintained in future building planning and design.

[B. Added as new paragraph to the above and Introduced at public meeting November 9, 2011]

The Applicant acknowledges that all twelve existing buildings on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn and within this Planned Development are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hyde Park and Kenwood Historic District. Nine of these buildings are also identified as historically significant in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. Applicant understands that City of Chicago submittal processes around redevelopment of these properties are separate from the planned development and that inclusion of these properties into the planned development does not exempt the Applicant from following such processes.

[C. Introduced November 9 as end of above paragraph but deleted November 29, new language substituted as per D. below]

Applicant further acknowledges that in accordance with Section 17-8-0911 of the Chicago Zoning Code it shall give priority to the adaptive reuse of the nine buildings identified in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

[D. New language substituted and added, starting at point where deletion starts in C above, November 29, 2011]

Pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance, Section 17-8-0911 and Section 13-32-230 of the Municipal Code, Applicant acknowledges that it is in the public interest to promote the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic resources. In general original original features and materials of the character-defining features should be retained and preserved if possible, while any changes to these buildings should be compatible with the historic character of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue. Character-defining features are defined as setbacks, FAR, site coverage. Any such work to the character-defining features shall be subject to the review and approval of the Department of Housing and Economic Development as part of Part II Review.

Applicant shall provide to the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division, a memorandum detailing all buildings owned by the Applicant on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue, referred to as the “Plan for University Owned Properties on Woodlawn Avenue” (the “Plan”). The Plan shall provide the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division, with specific information related to the current condition and future plans for Applicant-owned properties on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue identified as historically significant in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. The Plan shall be kept on file with the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division.

[This is followed by normal subsection 4 > boilerplate governance of projections, lighting et al. ]

[P. 13 approves the three new buildings and site plans (Eckhardt, West Childcare, and Co-Op Bookstore) and states that no further hearings are required, then states:]

No site plan approval (other than the aforementioned approval for the Co-Op Bookstore) shall be granted by the commissioner for any building on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue until the “Plan for University-Owned Properties on Woodlawn Avenue” referred to in Statement 11(A) (3) has been filed with the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic preservation Division.
[The default zoning designation for McGiffert Hall, 5751 S. Woodlawn is RM5 rather than the previous planned development status. The next page has the altered site bulk regulations, followed by a set of maps and plans.]

 

Comparison of the City of Chicago's standard preservation language template from the Chicago Historic Resource Survey) for planned development documents to what the University final language (Nov. 28/29 filed Dec. 7)

The CHRS language compares non-specified with the sentence that begins "Applicant acknowledges that all twelve existing buildings..." University's cites that 12 are on the National Register as part of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District, and 9 on the Survey.
University's specifies that redevelopment of such buildings requires a separate submittal process citing two sections of zoning code, also acknowledging that it is preferable to promote preservation and adaptive reuse.
University's does NOT include ff language that it "agrees to retain and preserve the character-defining features of the building."
But it does include that, "In general, original features and materials of the character-defining features should be retained and preserved" but changing "as much as possible" to "if possible."
It substitutes the character of the 5700 block for that of the individual buildings and narrows the definition of character-defining features to "setbacks, FAR, and site coverage" and not the earlier University language about what the character of the block and the transition zone are.

Two standard preservation language statements for PDs were NOT INCLUDED BY THE UNIVERSITY despite the presence of landmarked Robie House in the block:
Language referring to historic landmarks in the PD. (Other amendments have not been checked.)
Language regarding excavations, foundation work adjacent to landmarks-- McGiffert, where much work is to be done on the south side, is next to Robie House.

 

Neighbors' lawyer Adam M. Kingsley says University falls short of promises on Woodlawn Avenue

[This site was told by one of the participants Nov. 29 that no promises were made but the University representatives invited and discussed additional suggestions and proposals that are presented in the letter below, but the filing contained no changes from the Nov. 28 draft whatsoever.]

Open letter to Ald. Hairston in Hyde Park Herald, December 28, 2011.
(This site has conversed with at least two persons directly involved with the talks who (in advance of this letter) gave similar statements, some in great specificity. But we have not heard the University's side.)

Dear Alderman Hairston:

I represent many of the neighbors who live on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue and in the surrounding community. On their behalf, I attended the Nov. 29 meeting held at your office and expressed my thoughts on the meeting in a Nov. 30 e-mail to Kim Webb [Ald. Chief of Staff], Heather Gleason and Eleanor Gorski [Dept. Hsg. and Dev./ Landmarks Commission].

Although several attendees felt that the meeting was productive and it appeared that the University of Chicago was willing to make significant commitments to the preservation of its properties on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn, I am disappointed to report that he proposed amendment, as reflected in the plan of development statements submitted by the university, falls short of the promises made by the university.

In its current form, the neighborhood cannot support the proposed PD amendment as it relates to the 5700 block of Woodlawn because the proposed PD amendment lacks the very historic preservation protections that the university offered up in the meeting at your office.

With respect to any future changes to the university-owned Woodlawn Avenue buildings within PD 43, there are three crucial questions:

At the meeting in your office, the university indicated that "all" changes to the Woodlawn Avenue buildings would be subject to review, that the review would be conducted by the Department of Housing and Economic Development (with input from the landmarks division) and that the standards for approval of changes would be set forth in a building-specific plan for each building within the PD In other words, the building-specific plan would provide the criteria by which the city would review proposed changes.

The university described this protection as "handcuffing" the university and "better than landmarking" because the building-specific plan would include certain building interiors, while landmarking would protect only exteriors.

Further, in response to the objection that "significant features" of the block, i.e. the criteria by which proposed changes would be evaluated, should not be limited to setbacks, floor-area-ratio and site coverage, the university represented that these would not be the only criteria by which changes would be evaluated. According to the university, the plan would identify architectural and historic features of the building. Preservation of these features would then provide the criteria by which proposed changes would be evaluated.

As I indicated in my Nov. 30 e-mail, the university's concept had promise, but depended upon the details contained in the building-specific plan. The protection that the university was promising could not be evaluated without knowing the details in the plan.

Unfortunately, the proposed amendment to PD 43 does not live up the commitments made by the university.

The neighbors understand that, from a practical perspective, you, as alderman, will have a large say in any future development on Woodlawn Avenue and that you have promised to protect the block.

However, it is important that preservation of the block does not depend on any one individual or official. The promised protection must appear in the PD ordinance. As currently proposed, the PD does not address the concerns of the neighbors. It does not even live up to the commitment that the university made to the neighbors in your office. We request your help in making changes to the PD so that Woodlawn Avenue is truly preserved and protected in the years to come.

Adam M. Kingsley, O'Donnell Law Firm Ltd.

___________________________________________________

Context: How it all fits in with town(s) and gown(s)- or with 2010 and 2011 as the best and worst of years for the University- or going from 800 pounds to 1600 won't be easy for anyone

2011.
There is no doubt the University of Chicago has been on a hot streak the last two plus years despite the recession-- the only force that seems able to (and needs to for its mission) keep on moving. In 2011 it's dominance and determination to develop Hyde Park and a suite of surrounding neighborhoods, capped by a new relationship with the city, became decisively clear. (Visit Development Hot Topics to link to some of the trails (and trials) of University development.) Nevertheless, as so often in the past, the University suffered serious pushback-- whether this is a temporary glitch, a last battle before becoming an unstoppable bulldozer, or start of a long term battle remains to be seen, but certainly the University went from a low-good-will in 2010 (and following the Drs Hospital debacle) to worse in 2011.

Some of the trouble stemmed from the University purchasing Chicago Theological Seminary partly to give it a new home south of the Midway and partly to set up and house the now Becker Friedman Institute for its massively endowed and corporate-allied business, economics, and economics-law programs. This entailed finding a home for the Seminary Co-op Bookstore-- why not the in non-historic CTS McGiffert Hall in the historic Woodlawn transition zone--and in the process partially commercialize this building-- but zoning is complex, so why not tie it to getting more needed density for the medical district by giving some of the density of the Woodlawn sub areas-- i.e. amending the campus Planned Development including expansion to all the new properties there (including by 2011 the Meadville complex? Coming into the mix was getting rid of some unwanted historic easements in the west zone-- moving these to certain University owned Woodlawn Ave. buildings the University thought it would not need to change might reassure neighbors (but did not). Squarely at the center of all this swirl was the Memorandum of Understanding alliance with the city to speed the way of redevelopment far and wide (and weakening public and aldermanic ability to slow or stop it)-- the University was entering a new level of bigness and power and dominance (and ability to have major beneficial impact on struggling neighborhoods). However, some have observed that maybe the matters and purposes of the MOU are too big to be defined and settled just by administrators of the University and city. Nevertheless, the winning streak was undeniable-- fueled by massive donations and confirmed by the magnificent successes of the Mansueto Library, Logan Arts about to be finished and plans Eckhardt molecular engineering about to start (but needing the PD changes!), less by the Paulson Institute and the former mayor being "on faculty."

The Herald in a January 4 2012 retrospective, interpreted it this way [with additions from this editor]: The university was low on good-will in the neighborhood after a rough 2010 [and afterglow of Doctors Hospital]. The Chicago Theological Seminary move riled residents when it displaced a much-loved community garden [at 61st-Dorchester]. The removal of stained glass windows from the old seminar irked preservationists in the neighborhood [and proposed changes to alleys and plans to abandon the Nursery School with questions about the future of its buildings alarmed neighbors who had various resentments about the institutional buildings on the block]. Low-level employees remained aggravated from drawn-out contract negotiations, layoffs and outsourcing. The faculty was still smarting from a debate about the legacy fo Milton Friedman at the university. The hospital was helmed by an interim CEO after the previous one left under a cloud of criticism from faculty and staff " [aggravated by reduced medical access to the community and a vocal campaign to bring a trauma center back to UCMC]." Then it became evident at the early public meetings, at least, over the Amendment to the PD that University administrators dealing with the public had given little thought to consequences or desire of neighbors and others for reassurance. " Many of the university administrators familiar to residents from the garden and the seminary debates had left ort moved to new roles within the institution. Few issues were resolved because the new administrators had no established reputation with residents and few in the community believed these new representatives had the authority to follow through on promises. To compound the issue, the local politicians were not eager to rush to resolve the disputes after Mayor Emanuel used the memorandum of understanding with the university to tweak local aldermen. [With the Ald. asking more meetings, opponents were able to think, organize, and assemble allies. What some may call whiplashing over historic district vs partially-successful, unsuccessful, incomplete, or bad-faith negotiations occurred, along with between city, aldermen, and university-- including calls for the alderman to force changes to the filed PD before allowing it to move forward. And more meetings are scheduled on related topics.]

Meanwhile, there was little movement on issues such as trauma center and health delivery, or principles governing the the university's endowment.

______________

Discussion (pre-November 2011)

This page grows out of the discussions over 1) the University of Chicago purchase of the Chicago Theological Seminary (including its removal- moving of historic stained glass and other features and conversion to Gary Becker-Milton Friedman Institute for Economic Research) all of which were highly controversial and purchase of Meadville School properties and intent to vacate early learning-use houses after new Lab School projects) (See CTS page)
2) concerns about the future of the transition zone ("Woodlawn corridor or district") between the UC and the Hyde Park neighborhood, with increasing UC ownership and general institutionalization (and a new-to-the-district commercial use in McGiffert Hall) and the University's intent to expand and possibly make other changes to its land use rules in its Planned Development 43 (see in Master Plan-PD43 page), and
3) a history over many years of considering a landmark district for central Hyde Park (the "CHP" south of 55th), recently narrowed down to the 3 blocks south of 55th Street and including the east side of University Avenue and both sides of Woodlawn Avenue.
It became evident from the start and was reinforced through the summer and fall that the amendments to Woodlawn Avenue are as important to them as those in West Campus and not just a tidying up, even though the projects forwarded by the amendment are much bigger in West Campus. And one of the key drivers is getting Seminary Co-op Bookstore over to McGiffert Hall without a zoning and liquor zoning fight so that the conversion of CTS to the Becker-Friedman Institute can go forward quickly--and the latter very likely also requires changes and connections to the vacating Nursery School properties.

One result of discussion was an ongoing project to document and photo-document the district, funded mostly by Southside Preservation Action Group and one by Meadville School to do the same for its buildings and life before moving, also with some funding through SPAF. The exhibit is expected to be in Southside Hub of Production, 5638 S. Woodlawn. Background is in the pages linked above.

In fall 2011, Meadville School took a floor and collaborative relationship with Spertus Institute downtown on South Michigan. All its Woodlawn Ave. properties are now owned by in option by U of C (5711 for a Paulson Center for envir. in China) except 5700 (Fleck House) which is now Chabad Jewish Center.

The Woodlawn Corridor took up the larger part of questions and comments in three public meetings with the University, nominally on the PD43 amendments, held June 22, October 6, and November 9 2011. There was a long period in spring into fall 2011 in which the University made little contact with neighbors or the alderman's office on these matters (and other promises in regard to PD43 and the MOU), including transportation, traffic and parking issues. In the fall, with the alderman opposing introduction of the PD43 amendment to the city, the University consented to another public meeting (Nov. 9) at which they said they would give more information and additional protective language beyond that of October 6 (generally thought to offer objectives without teeth).

Most observers this website talked to re the Nov. 9 meeting thought there was more information, it was much better, and there were new easements offered, and hoped the University will listen to specific further protections asked by the neighbors. However, many, possibly most, of the neighbors were not convinced that any language would the job and will now seek a district. While this writer understood the University position regarding the remaining historic properties not given easements to be that they were open to that, another close to the matter understands that the University WILL NOT consider easements to these other buildings and perhaps intends changes to them-- indeed, reporting information that there are plans to build a structure connecting the old CTS building to the Nursery School.

One matter not directly asked Nov. 9 and only partially answered was why the University and Landmarks Illinois chose to move easements rather than creating new ones and saying directly why only some? To many it is reasonable to think that in a dynamic city easements should be movable when conditions surrounding them has become totally different-- honorably or not. Others say that the purpose of easements is to keep the property unalterable (under its conditions) in perpetuity. In any case, this swap has the appearance of being that UC insisted, as price for accepting easements on Woodlawn (placating opposition of the needed amendment and on some properties ease to make changes it wants thus a double win), getting extinguishments it "needs" on Drexel (thus a triple win)-- that courts might not like if it were plain extinguishment, then being able to say "only 5" are available, sorry about the other seven. (Jack Spicer, and from the tone of Jonathan Fine of Preservation Illinois at the meeting, Preservation Illinois "will oppose" extinguishment of the Drexel easements, presumably because (one can posit that ) easements are drawn up so they will be "forever" and that's an inviolable principle, and/or that a precedent is being created or reinforced for their being "moveable," or "tradable," and/or that there is no compensation (known at least) by the University for extinguishment of each easement separately.) Was it only coincidence that total five easements available to swap fit exactly the number of properties where the University intends to keep the facades intact?-- creating at least the suspicion that for the others they will not so keep or at least want to keep their options open. If not, why did the University not say they were considering, or in negotiations or would be about more easements, only that they are not currently on the table? To watch is whether the WHOA neighbors will indeed show that they will insist on nothing less than and will solidly (at least the residents and some of the institutions) work to achieve this, and whether they can use the determination to get the alderman to block the amendment to PD43. The other question is whether the University will add serious and specific protective language (and for which properties) at least sufficient to make a difference--to Woodlawn Ave. and in the fight?

It also seems there is a difference in understanding the word "transition"-- does it mean sharp edge or halt to campus and the scale of the Quads, or is this a corridor of blended or interpenetrating uses (and if so what are the "ultimate" boundaries), and in either case are the current metrics-- rooflines, heights, land coverage, even facades- and above all the current uses (institutional, academic, residential) and proportion of uses to be kept as they are or at least there be no additional academic or institutional? At least one person has brought up a kind of consensus in which the west and south campuses are where the University is (within reason) free to grow and repurpose the area, but the Hyde Park core to the east north of 58th (and west of University north of 55th) is off limits, and a fear that the understanding for the later is in jeopardy and subject to creep and definition. This is much of what this all about.

Some advisory committees or e-groups of undetermined strength were set up by the meeting creating at least the possibility, others might say illusion of a process.

Overall, a great many - but by no means all--came away with the impression that the matter is resolved except for tweaking (--and/or seeking a landmark district--) and that is how the Alderman and UC may proceed (judging from Nov. 16 Herald). However that may be, there may be a prolonged stalemate or battle here, as it seems UC will leave (the facades) alone to about half their non landmarked historic Woodlawn properties--the ones with easements (which incidentally does not limit what is done in the back or to walks) and insist on a free hand with the others (or actually have plans for some or all), while neighbors insist they all (less McGiffert lower levels) be guaranteed to be kept the same and will pursue that via a landmarking process and continues to oppose what they call a slippery slope of commercialization starting with McGiffert House. Stay tuned!

Also on resolving other issues such as parking and traffic felt to be problematic despite the study saying in every case that the University need take no further steps.

Tribune, Oct. 27.

U. of C. development deal hits snag. Alderman threatens opposition if University doesn't specify design standards, address parking.

An alderman who represents the University of Chicago are is threatening to hold up parts of a development deal brokered by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, saying school officials have not addressed community concerns.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th, said university leaders have been vague about architectural standards for new buildings in Hyde Park.

"Constituents are filing my email inbox with requests to have the university come up with language that protects the historic character of Woodlawn Avenue" from 55th to 59th streets, she said Wednesday.

The school has been in talks with Hairston and community leaders for months, and talks will continue, university spokesman Steve Kloehn said.

If the City Council shoots down the zoning blueprint, that could affect parts of a separate development plan Emanuel touted as a "historic cooperation agreement" between the U. of C. and the city.

Under the deal, the university set out plans for more than $1.7 billion in development around its campus the next five years. Emanuel in turn promised more city cooperation on permits and construction.

A new group formed in July 2011 to consider the options and to work to at least have means to control and limit change in the district.
Here is basic information about the group.
Name- Save Woodlawn,
Convener: Liz Ruyter.
Websites and emails.
woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org.
email hydeparkwoodlawn@gmail.com. "This is the new email address for those interested in preserving Woodlawn Avenue's historic beauty and vibrant community. If you would like to receive future announcement, please reply and ask to join the mailing list."
Facebook group: Save Woodlawn<https://www.facebook.com/groups/190964347624198>

Call for action and meeting

The 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue is threatened with great change. The
University of Chicago has recently bought five more buildings on the block
and it now owns 11 of the 19. Four more are owned by other institutions,
leaving only 4 private residences.

It is now seeking to expand its institutional Planned Development Zone
(PD43), a change that will enable it to void the current zoning designations
and develop with little community consultation.

There are two main dangers -- the potential loss of irreplaceable historic
architecture that expresses the nature of our community and the
ghettoization of Woodlawn Avenue with local families segregated out and
replaced by faceless institutions. The rest of Woodlawn and University
Avenues north to 55th Street face the same potential radical changes.

Last week the U of C held a public meeting to respond to the concerns of
community members. The repeated message was -- "Great question, we'll get
back to you on that." Join your neighbors at a meeting to discuss our
response.


*MEETING -- Thursday, July 14, 7:00pm.*

*WHERE: 5528 SOUTH WOODLAWN AVE 773.8487248*

All are welcome
For historic information: *http://woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org/*

Representatives of the Woodlawn Residents met with Ald. Hairston July 19 to seek her support and offices in seeking a meeting with UC decision-makers and that the Woodlawn Avenue Preservation Association would oppose residential structure additions to PD43 and removal of any such on Woodlawn from PD 43.

Woodlawn APA seeks an understanding and/or agreement with the university so that the exterior of the residential structures would remain intact and with no teardowns, that preference for de-institutionalized structures is lease to residential homeowners such as professors, that deterrents such as improved lighting would be installed. Agreement could be in the form of an overlay district or a document, but likely not (at least as first choice) a full historic district.

 

November 9 2011: The third meeting (after June 22 and October 6) seems to go in a new direction. However, see following analysis by Jack Spicer of Woodlawn Homeowners.
Links to the November 9 Powerpoints, in the University news website (as long as they choose to keep it up)

By Gary Ossewaarde

Summary of actions prescribed:

Committees and timelines:

1. Public jobs and construction meeting in January (unclear as to whether this is the public meeting on the Mem of Agreement)

2. Preservation advisory committee - initial meeting "soon"

3. Woodlawn residents (55th-58th) discussion group. They are to send language and other suggestions to Ellen Sahli, the general point person on Woodlawn Avenue

4. Public meeting on 5757 Friedman Institute plans in January

5. Reconvene- (4th) public meeting on PD43 after 2 and 3 have met, including proposed revised PD language- early in the new year.

What changes were suggested for inclusion in the PD language: committee and the University will look at:

(note, SEE THE OLD AND NEW LANGUAGE - now up in news.uchicago.edu (scroll to a release that is dated 10.16 and find there)

Specifics on how the University will enhance the transition corridor and its aesthetics, based on a principle that changes to structure be evaluated against a principle of community enhancement paralleling that set forth by Mr. Wiesenthal to “exemplify the character of the University.”

Commitment not to demolish or increase heights, change the scape

Streetscape standards including for signage

Specify the ongoing engagement committees including on preservation and landmarking

Alderman Hairston convened the meeting November 9 6 pm in Judd 126. The room was nearly full. Reading from written remarks, Hairston said she called the meeting in order to foster a stronger relationship between the University and the neighborhood. The University and its Planned Development resides in a residential neighborhood, so the two have to live and work together. The University is a major provider of jobs, including to many in the neighborhood, and its jobs and activities are important to businesses. The University needs to respect the corridor and transition while it grows. She has asked the University to explain the impacts of its development on traffic and Woodlawn Avenue and for a way to design the aesthetics. We have to balance interests in behalf of the whole, not just respond to what the single developer does. The key is to "retain the historical significance" so that future generations will know who and what this community is.

Sonya Malunda (UC Sr. VP Civic Engagement). "We share your aspirations." The presentations will consist of an introduction to the PD request, the projects the changes are intended to further, traffic analysis, and the Woodlawn Avenue corridor.

The PD was created 45 years ago. It has been amended three times in the past twenty years to accommodate DCAM, Comer, and Knapp. Now it needs to be changed quickly to accommodate three new projects- Seminary Co-op Bookstore, WERC (Eckhardt), and CCC (the Child Care West). These together will accommodate 1400 construction job equivalents (many of whom are working on other projects that will phase out).

Alicia Murasaki over-viewed the 16 newly-acquired properties and the need to shift allowable site coverage from subarea E to subarea B (west campus with WERC and CCW). E has allowable 40% land coverage with structures, which will drop to 35% while in B that will increase from 27 to 30.4.

Steve Wiesenthal (Assoc. VP and Univ. Architect) stressed that every project must enhance the whole rather than be considered by itself or part of an inward facing quad that doesn't engage streets. There are four design principles:
1. Promote the exchange of ideas within the university
2. Exercise stewardship and build on the legacy of the U
niversity
3. Be sustainable (including respect the health of users and neighbors including in its materials)
4. Identify/exemplify the character and distinctiveness of the University.

The projects (CTS Friedman-Becker will be dealt with at a meeting in January):
WERC. It's big- 277,000 sq. ft. It's part of the North Sciences Quadrangle. It has the same 5 visible stories as the old structures but a very deep substructure and high roof structures. It treats open space as part of the fabric of the university, in a suite of other open spaces and not as something expendable. For WERC a 5th principle was added- Express the work done in the building architecturally. (The engineer is the designer who did the light crossings on the Midway): the play of light including casting it inward in the daytime and playing it against the exterior at night, and engaging with the street.


Seminary Co-op Bookstore (Tigerman-McCurry, who are interested in the concept and display of books). The idea is to keep the existing but change the first floor and add ADA and neighborhood enhancement and transition to Robie House through the landscaping to the south. It will have a small cafe facing the landscaping. The new windows will enhance book display. Part of the labyrinth-like aspect of the old SCB will be reproduced.

Child Care West. Will serve 124 6 weeks-toddlers and be first priority for staff and students. It will be single story 12, 200 sq. ft. but counting all the features cover nearly all the space. Featured are two play areas (east and west, 9,000 sq. ft. ) classroom-accessed, nine classrooms. stress on open light and fanciful surface colors and patterns, and fencing in which plants will grow.

Traffic and transportation. (Consultant). This will be updated every two years. Conclusions:
The University provides more parking than the city requires.
WERC is on the corner of two two-way streets controlled by a stop sign. Service/delivery will move to 57th St. Presents no traffic problems.
Seminary Coop. 58th is one-way controlled by a stop sign. Loading is the ally. An access ramp will be added. Presents no traffic problems.
Childcare West. There will be no increase in use since users will be on the way to other University destinations. Pickup is provided. No problems.

Woodlawn Avenue. It really provides a sense of transition that will be safeguarded. How?
1. To the language offered for the PD amendment at the October 6 meeting was offered a second page. (See below as from news.uchicago.edu).

2. Five properties will have facade easements from Landmarks Illinois (swapped from 5 being abandoned on Drexel Ave. provided a court allows that). (More on both later- see**; Landmarks Illinois representatives were there and clarified this later.)
3. (see *)

Details on the 12 Woodlawn-University properties proposed to be included by amendment into the PD43:
All 12 are on the National Register as part of the Hyde Park District.
9 are also considered historical in the Chicago Historic Resource Survey.
*All will explicitly continue to be subject to, not exempt from the Chicago Historic designation process, including what's called 17-8-0911 Priority for Adaptive Reuse.

They are: (Following is the explicit designation, including intended use- note that in every case the University intends that the structures they own will continue to be "academic" or "institutional," but that is not, at least at the meeting, defined.)

5555 - retain as Alumni House (CHRS status- yellow)
5701 - Meadville main- redevelop for academic use (orange)
5707 - Hunewill?- redevelop for academic use
5710 - retain as Multicultural Center (orange)
5711 - Ryder- redevelop for academic use
5720 - retain institutional for Chicago Presents et al
5730 or 37- retain institutional for Human Development et al (orange)
5740 - Nursery School- redevelop for academic

5750 - "
5751 - McGiffert- renovate first floor and landscape for Seminary Coop Bookstore
5757 - Robie House- maintain as FL Wright Preservation Trust property
5757 - University- (CTS) renovate for new academic
5757 - University (on 58th)- Garden- continue landscaping
5850 - Rockefeller- retain as is
1212 59th - Ida Noyes- retain as academic
5807 - Booth- retain as academic

The University has invested a total of $200 million in these properties including Booth. Wiesenthal said this shows the University's intent to maintain the zone, others implied it could show another intent.

**More on the agreement with Landmarks Illinois. As a result, side-easements will will be placed on the facades and significant architectural elements of of 5555, 5701, 5710, 5720, 5730. (When asked about the others, it was said that only 5 easements are available as a result of the vacation of those on Drexel/57th and others are not on the table-- here it was not clear to this listener whether they said more could be considered separately or whether no such implication could be inferred. Robie and Rockefeller are already landmark protected. Non-UC owned 5725 already has a LI easement. Booth and McGiffert are too recent. Reasons the others on the list above were not selected went by too fast for this writer, but 5740 and 50 seem to be considerably altered already and may be planned for more, although they explicitly said they would not be demolished.)

Why were the Drexel easements proposed to be vacated: character of that part of the neighborhood changed to academic-institutional and such easements were no longer, by agreement considered appropriate. Audience members said later that the properties were abandoned and deteriorated in what amounted to demolition by neglect, but LI stressed that was irrelevant, the reason is change in surrounding land use and appropriateness of the easements today.
These addresses (also to be added to the PD 43 by amendment) are 818 and 838 E. 57th and 5701 and 5731-56 (?) S. Drexel. The easements, which gave certain tax and renovation rebates) were established for a private owner in 2003. In 2007 they were bought, easements traveling, by another private owner who sold them to the University.

Questions

The University's commitment to sustainable and LEED-certified structures and renovations. Wiesenthal: All changes are now mandated to be sustainable and at least LEED-minimum. They have done two Gold rehabs. The projects requiring the PD amendment (WERC, CCW) wil be LEED. McGiffert does not qualify since changes don't go beyond the first floor, but all materials in the renovation will be LEEDs.

One of several questions about jobs was met with confusion-- later answered two kinds: traffic and parking load from that many construction workers-- said by UC to be not more than an additional 500 at any one time as projects start and stop-- they denied adverse impacts, largely met with skepticism by the audience; the other was about growth adding jobs and whether there would be a Community Benefits Agreement to especially help in depressed areas-- Ald. Hairston and tacitly UC said yes, but that would be part of Memorandum of Agreement discussion and would come in next few months.

Jonathan Fine for Preservation Chicago described several kinds of preservation controls and the varying and limited degrees of protection they give.
National Register- nothing beyond some tax breaks and standards
Orange rating in CHRS- only delays demolition 90 days
Easements- good, lasting specialized tool but limited controls, and can let deteriorate and come back in 10 years and ask for vacation
Landmark District is best
Wiesenthal said their continuing investment shows care about and vested interest in the character, and by contrast there was never any University intent or claim to respect the preexisting easements on Drexel-- that are was clearly designated for science and biomedical. Woodlawn and University are designated transitional.

Jack Spicer said the present meeting was far superior. His question on easement was why not the others? A- there were only five available. The discussion with LI for vacating the Drexel easements had been going on before-- LI and UC saw an opportunity to use them as a way to ameliorate on Woodlawn, plus a judge would have to see there was no net loss of easements-- just moving. The other properties would have to be placed on the table separately.

If the corridor is so important, why not just landmark? Hairston- Districting is a matter on which most of the affected owners have to be in agreement and has to serve the needs of the larger neighborhood-- it is not a good tool to deal with a single developer that some or all of its neighbors want to block. Many of the landowners she talked to were reluctant because of limits on what they can do and there is no money to reimburse owners.

Here came the first of several requests to add specific protections to the language and start a process of discussion with the University. This person said the language and amendment give the University all it wants but is vague on what it will do for the neighborhood. Cited was a poor record of the University on maintaining and making properties attractive-- what are the enhancements you have made and will do? Especially to make the corridor seem less institutional and pleasant for students and their families and kids. Examples were that there was no plan to change the eyesore lot north of McGiffert, the ADA ramp at one of the houses south of Meadville, and treatments on the Nursery School, and condition of the alleys. UC said it does not yet have specific renovation plans for the houses newly bought or to be repurposed, but cited a good job with enhancing 5555 and the house south of the tennis courts on University. They took to heart the concerns about the ADA ramp and McGiffert lot.

Why is the University's interest in preservation weak? Is anyone looking at campus and beyond from that perspective and the perspective of what makes this east edge and the neighborhood as a whole special and attractive? W- we should do that. H- can we put together a joint advisory group to do that? Yes. Sign up sheet was placed in the back.

Is any public money involved in the PD changes. No.

Will there be a Community Benefits Agreement (a Woodlawn neighborhood group)- H. Yes but later and part of Mem. of Agreement. UC has been exceeding its minority and women-owned goals. This came up several times from STOP, including that the UC doesn't serve needs of disadvantaged communities or even basics like a trauma center and mental health. (Frustration later that the childcare will only be for UC-related). What will the University give in exchange for what it gets? UC- this is part of the MOU discussion, H- both wards need to be involved.

A second suggestion to add to the language- to explicitly say not demolish any buildings. Malunda said do not intend to demolish but invest in what's there. They are willing to continue to tweak the language. Repeats on this and other language led to commitment to a neighbors' advisory group to meet with the University and Ald. office to refine the language.

Why is only the facade protected-- U- not visible, and not that many interior changes are needed to make a bedroom usable as an office, and we seek quality institutional, and bring up to code. Do not intend to change the structures. Rejoinder- this makes the buildings ever more irreversibly institutional-- we want to see some of them go back to residential. University sometimes restores- Robie House, Rockefeller.

Have you calculated negative impacts or costs to existing homeowners of increased institutionalization? No answer.

The height allowance for subarea E (135') is considerably higher than general current structure height in the Woodlawn corridor, even after some allowance is shifted to area B-- do you intend to put up higher structures or raise the height of existing? UC- No, we will not increase the height of any structure, will not go up, and will keep the scale and rhythm of the rooflines. Asked for a commitment to that in the language.

Asked was that the University add a fifth principle of design-- "contributes to the vibrancy of the community" and to the language streetscape standards limiting height etc. of signs.

Concern was expressed at how hard it is to access the presentations online.

Question about if residents asked for a landmark district. H- would have to think about it and many oppose. Agreed to set up an area advisory committee to consider. But would not commit on whether this or any of the other committees should be put in the PD language.

What is the greatest assurance? H- that the University shows that it listens. She will keep on them. They can't do much without her approval.

Woodlawn alley exit-- this is for a January meeting on CTS/5757.

Can there be a contact person to give ideas? Ellen Sahli, esahli1@uchicago.edu.

Committees and timelines:

1. Public jobs and construction meeting in January (unclear as to whether this is the public meeting on the Mem of Agreement)

2. Preservation advisory committee - initial meeting soon

3. Woodlawn residents (55th-58th) discussion group. They are to send language and other suggestions to Ellen Sahli

4. Public meeting on 5757 Friedman Institute plans in January

5. Reconvene 4th public meeting on PD43 after 2 and 3 have met, including proposed revised PD language- early in the new year.

The proposed transition-zone protective language (The October 6 and November 9 parts are printed on page 3 of the November 16 Hyde Park Herald) and a couple of relevant language that is different from the current.

[In the PD Filing Section 4 (pp. 6-8) part 3 Building Character and Scale]

[A. Introduced at public meeting October 6, 2011]

The Main Quadrangle Zone (defined as Subarea D) is identified by the ensemble of original campus buildings serving a variety of disciplines and functions. The presence of Gothic Revival buildings evoke a character defined by a human scale and careful attention to detail and craft. This part of campus is distinguished as walkable with well-scaled open spaces connected by pedestrian pathways. The Main Quadrangle Zone also includes the transition from the original ensemble of larger scale academic and institutional buildings to the neighborhood scaled institutional and residential buildings exemplified on University and Woodlawn Avenues. Future development should respect the well proportioned mix of smaller scaled institutional buildings, repurposed single family residences, and privately owned single family residences. The serene and walkable character of this soft transition zone should be respected and maintained in future building planning and design.

[B. Added as new paragraph to the above and Introduced at public meeting November 9, 2011]

The Applicant acknowledges that all twelve existing buildings on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn and within this Planned Development are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hyde Park and Kenwood Historic District. Nine of these buildings are also identified as historically significant in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. Applicant understands that City of Chicago submittal processes around redevelopment of these properties are separate from the planned development and that inclusion of these properties into the planned development does not exempt the Applicant from following such processes.

[C. Introduced November 9 as end of above paragraph but deleted November 29, new language substituted as per D. below]

Applicant further acknowledges that in accordance with Section 17-8-0911 of the Chicago Zoning Code it shall give priority to the adaptive reuse of the nine buildings identified in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

[D. New language substituted and added, starting at point where deletion starts in C above, November 29, 2011]

Pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance, Section 17-8-0911 and Section 13-32-230 of the Municipal Code, Applicant acknowledges that it is in the public interest to promote the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic resources. In general original features and materials of the character-defining features should be retained and preserved if possible, while any changes to these buildings should be compatible with the historic character of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue. Character-defining features are defined as setbacks, FAR, site coverage. Any such work to the character-defining features shall be subject to the review and approval of the Department of Housing and Economic Development as part of Part II Review.

Applicant shall provide to the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division, a memorandum detailing all buildings owned by the Applicant on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue, referred to as the “Plan for University Owned Properties on Woodlawn Avenue” (the “Plan”). The Plan shall provide the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division, with specific information related to the current condition and future plans for Applicant-owned properties on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue identified as historically significant in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. The Plan shall be kept on file with the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic Preservation Division.

[This is followed by normal subsection 4 > boilerplate governance of projections, lighting et al. ]

[P. 13 approves the three new buildings and site plans (Eckhardt, West Childcare, and Co-Op Bookstore) and states that no further hearings are required, except as below--this appears to differ from previous amendments and conforming exceptions in between amendments and from what is reported to have been stated by the University regarding this amendment:]

Specific Site/Landscape Plans and Elevations are being approved by the Chicago Plan Commission through this planned development amendment for the William Eckhardt Research Center at 5640 South Ellis Avenue , the Co-Op Bookstore at 5751 South Woodlawn Avenue and the Early Childhood Center at 5610 South Drexel Avenue. As such no separate site plan approval is required with respect to these three buildings following passage of this amendatory ordinance.

No site plan approval (other than the aforementioned approval for the Co-Op Bookstore) shall be granted by the commissioner for any building on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue until the “Plan for University-Owned Properties on Woodlawn Avenue” referred to in Statement 11(A) (3) has been filed with the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Historic preservation Division.

[The default zoning designation for McGiffert Hall, 5751 S. Woodlawn is RM5 rather than the previous planned development status. The next page has the altered site bulk regulations, followed by a set of maps and plans.]

[In the Traffic, Circulation and Parking section , language regarding a Traffic Management Plan is changed from the present: the TMP is no longer considered an integral part of the planned development and the University “may” rather than “shall” be responsible for mitigations—after meeting with the city, not as up til now the alderman or community.]

 

(More reviews and viewpoints follow)

___________________________________________________

Reactions and developing information including on the Nov. 9 meeting.

After the November 9 meeting, Jack Spicer wrote neighbors on behalf of those organizing for an historic landmark district. Here is part of the reasoning for this, including his analysis of the November 9 meeting, in an open letter.

Thanks to all of you who attended Wednesday night's meeting held by the
University to explain their expanded Planned Development district. For those of
you who missed it, I don't think you missed much. The meeting was more
organized than the previous ones and Steve Wiesenthal was able to speak with
more apparent authority than the previous spokespeople, but no additional
commitments of any substance were made by the University. There is some new
preservation language in the PD document that is better but not specific or
binding. There will be four new preservation facade protection easements on the
5700 block (the main Meadville building plus 5510, 5520, and 5530) and one on
the Alumni building at 56th. These are being moved from buildings near the
hospital and they can be moved again later when it suits the University. And
they declined to put easements on the other buildings they own on the 5700 block
(5707, 5711, 5736, 5740, and 5750) almost pointing a red arrow at them and
saying, "These are the ones we're going to mess with." In fact, we learned
after the meeting that there will be a new building built that connects the old
CTS building and the two nursery school houses. They declined to talk about the
alley being rerouted onto Woodlawn Avenue or the restaurant/alcohol issue at the
relocated bookstore.

So, not much of an advance -- a little less fog but no more substance. I
think this is all we can expect of the Alderman and the University on the PD
issue on the 5700 block.

However, I do think you would all have been proud of your neighbors and
friends. The questions and comments were serious, thoughtful, direct and
forceful -- and relentless. There was sustained concern about impending change
in the quality of life and potential loss of our historic architecture on
Woodlawn Avenue.

I think the only possible leverage we have left for the residents and
neighbors to have any say in how the future unfolds on Woodlawn Avenue is a
landmark district. Each individual resident would give up something, but as a
group we would have a tool to manage and moderate the change. The landmark
process is public, open, multilateral, enforceable, and ongoing -- in contrast
to what we have with the University now. It's the only way I see that we can,
as a group, guarantee keeping intact the character of the street.

A number of neighbors have already signed support forms, including three of
the four homeowners on the 5700 block. If most of the residents support a
district then the alderman, who has the ultimate power, will take it seriously. ...
[The remainder was meant for residents of the corridor]

-- Jack Spicer (773-324-5476)

Spicer gave details of his reasoning for a district in a letter to the Hyde Park Herald published the day of the meeting (Nov. 9).

To the Editor:

The problem: The historic character of the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue is threatened by the University of Chicago's planned expansion of PD 43. The 5700 block of S. Woodlawn Avenue consists of buildings that individually and collectively are of architectural significance and worthy of historic preservation.

The 5700 block, both by itself and in conjunction with neighboring blocks to the north, east and west, meets the criteria for a landmark district as described in the city of Chicago landmarks ordinance. The buildings on the 5700 block are emblematic of both the history of the University of Chicago and of the Hyde Park community, as well as the history of the city as a whole.

Almost 70 percent of the buildings on the 5700 block are rated red or orange in the city's Historic resources Survey, an unusually high percentage for a landmark district. A description of the historic and architectural significance of the block and neighboring blocks, photographs of the buildings (on teh 5700 block) and a description of each building can be found at woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org.

Although the orange rating provides limited protection of the buildings in the form of a 90-day delay in the issuance of demolition permits, the 5700 block is essentially unprotected and at risk.

The University of Chicago's proposed expansion of Planned Development 43, under which the university intends to incorporate five additional buildings on the 5700 block into PD 43, poses a challenge to the integrity of Woodlawn Avenue but presents the opportunity to establish historic preservation protection.

Despite requests from neighbors and community organizations, the university has declined to release the details of its proposed expansion of PD 43 and, more importantly, has declined to publicly commit itself to specific measures that would ensure the integrity of the buildings it owns on the 5700 block.

The university's refusal to disclose its plans for the block or to directly and specifically address historic preservation issues creates the impression that the university intends to ignore the historic nature of the block and intends to demolish or significantly alter the buildings that it owns.

The solution: Changes to Planned Development 43 should not be approved unless they contain historic preservation protection for the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue.

Historic preservation protection typically takes the form of individual landmark designation or the creation of a landmark district under the process set out in the city's historic preservation ordinance. This is the strongest and most secure form of historic preservation.

Protection of historic buildings can also take the form of facade easements, which ar grated by the owners of buildings to a not-for-profit organization. The organization then monitors and approves requested changes to the buildings.

Also, protection against demolition and redevelopment can sometimes be achieved by downzoning a block or neighborhood to a more restrictive zoning classification, thereby removing some of the economic incentive to teardown and redevelop.

Given, however, the university's intention to introduce amendments to PD 43, we believe that historic preservation protection should be incorporated directly into any amendment submitted to the Plan Commission and City Council. The planned development section of the zoning ordinance encourages respect for architecturally and historically significant buildings and allows protective language to be included in a Planned Development radiance. The city has previously approve planned developments that provide preservation protection for buildings within planned developments.

[At this point, the Herald indicated WHOA had proposed protective language. This is not (Nov. 13) available on their site or, as indicated in the Heralds' website. In the light of the group's intent to proceed with landmarking, one assumes they did not find the University additional language sufficient and to the mark, and have withdrawn their own. GO

 

Chicago Maroon weighs in Nov. 11: University compromises over Woodlawn Avenue (Compare with general introductions and reports above.)

By Geovanni Wrobel

In an effort to address community concerns, the University announced a preservation measure of five University-owned buildings in a public meeting on Wednesday organized by Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. The measure involves creating easements--property rights for the buildings' facades-- that allow for their preservation by giving alteration rights to non-profits, who then have control over tall subsequent changes to those facades.

The plan will include five buildings on the 5600 and 5700 blocks of Woodlawn: The Alumni House, Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Office of Human Development, and the University's Concert Office.

University Architect Steve Wiesenthal said at the meeting that the University is aware of community concerns to keep the historic feeling of Hyde Park, which is part of the purpose of the easements." Along Woodlawn Avenue and along University Avenue there is very much a sense of transition from the institutional scale to the residential scale of teh neighborhood. This is something that the University appreciates and is working to preserve" Wiesenthal said.

The University also said that it is working to extinguish five existing facade easements around the hospital, which would allow them to proceed with demolition and further development of those buildings.

Though the five Woodlawn facade easements preserve historic buildings, Hyde Park Historical Society board member jack Spicer plans to fight the five easements that the University wants extinguished. He said he will continue to solicit the support of Woodlawn and University Avenue homeowners through the Woodlawn Homeowners Association [to seek a district?]. "By not putting easements on certain buildings it's as it they drew a red arrow at them and said, "These are the ones we're going to mess with," Spicer said.

[Next section recites the projects to be forwarded by the PD43 amendment.]

The additional paragraph to the amendment acknowledges the historical significance of the University-owned properties on Woodlawn, after Hyde Park residents expressed concerns about the fate of University-owned properties last month.

Hairston, whose approval is influential in the passage of PD 43, said she does not currently support creating a historic district because of unanticipated costs it could impose on homeowners and institutions in the affected areas. However, she said she would reconsider her position if homeowners voiced their support. "It is not about one particular block or developer--it is about the whole neighborhood," Hairston said.

Spicer said he supports a landmark district as a safeguard for the community's buildings. "There are very few things like a landmark district that can manage such changes and guarantee the preservation of the historic character of the neighborhood," he said.

U of C Director of Civic Engagement Elin Sahli promised to form an e-mail discussion group with concerned members of the community and plans to reconvene with the community in early January about the PD amendment and Seminary Co-Op building renovation [and 5757 University]. ...

 

Hyde Park Herald - U. of C. offers tradeoff on Woodlawn Ave. University officials announce easement swap for properties

November 16, 2011. By Sam Cholke

At a Nov. 10 meeting the University of Chicago announced it would put formal protections on five buildings on Woodlawn Avenue in return for Ald. Leslie Hairston's support of its zoning amendment. Last month, Hairston stymied the proposed amendment to the campus' planned development zoning after questions and concerns from the community were not adequately addressed [in] two meetings. Neighbors became skeptical of the university's plans after it said it would not demolish several buildings on Woodlawn Avenue but agreed to only pro forma protections on the structures.

At last week's meeting, Hairston and university representatives announced Landmarks Illinois would be granted easements on five buildings on Woodlawn Avenue, giving the preservation advocate some legal standing in protecting the structures' facades. The easements will be placed on the alumni building, the former headquarters of th Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary and 5710, 5720, and 5730 S. Woodlawn ave.

In exchange for the easement, Landmarks Illinois has agreed to ask a judge to remove five easement from university-owned buildings north of the new hospital pavilion. The university was negotiating with the preservation group for over a year to remove the protections on the buildings, according to lawyers representing the two parties.

Based on the tone of comments, many in the audience seemed please with the protections placed on several of the buildings on Woodlawn Avenue, but several questioned why only five buildings would receive protection when nearly all of the buildings were ratted as historically significant. Why not ease all of the university-owned buildings? asked Jack Spicer of the Hyde Park Historical Society.

"It's certainly something the university could do, but it hasn't been put on the table and I don't know if it intends to to do so," replied Richard Klawiter, an attorney for DLA Piper that negotiated the deal with Landmarks Illinois on behalf of the university. University representatives did not reply directly to the question, except to say that the plans for the block were not yet finalized but expected to continue investing heavily in the existing buildings. The block includes the two university nursery school buildings that will be vacated when the new school and daycare facilities come online.

The zoning document that sparked the conversation to begin with also got several tweaks in two paragraphs that describe the value of the Woodlawn Avenue properties, adding language about the university's intention to follow all guidelines set out in the city's municipal code that favor sensitive reuse of historic structures.

The zoning document, called Planned Development No. 43, is being amended to bring several recently purchased properties into the campus zoning des ignition and to approve several development projects. The extra meeting delayed approval of plans for a new research center and daycare center on campus adn the new home for the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

Hairston was confident after the meeting that the process of amending the zoning could now move forward.

With the resolution of some preservation effort on Woodlawn Avenue, many of the other concerns raised at previous meetings appear to also have been quelled. A university proposal to increase the density of construction around the hospital complex was met with only fleeting comments from the audience. At the first meeting about the planned development, several building owners near the hospital pavilion complained that university construction was burdensome and limited their access to their buildings. Neighborhood concerns about maximum building height also appear to have been satisfied or dispelled.

At previous meetings, residents complained about the lack of traffic analyses being done. a traffic consultant hired by the university did present at the most recent meeting that traffic would be largely unaffected because building uses were being swapped out, not intensified. a discussion about a proposed rerouting of the alley between the 5800 [sic 5700] blocks of Woodlawn and University avenues was also deferred.

Hairston said she hoped university meeting would be more productive in the future. The alderman and residents were critical of the university during the last meetings because the information provided appeared cursory and the representatives were unavailable to immediately respond to audience questions and comments. Unlike previous meetings, the most recent presentation included technical drawings of proposed projects and detailed maps of zoning designations. The ranking university administrator in the office of civic engagement and the university's architect conducted the meeting.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________

Ald. Hairston and the future of Woodlawn Ave.

At the July 5th Ward Meeting, much of the time was devoted to the Woodlawn Ave. question. Sonya Malunda of UC Civic Engagement answered questions, but "decision-makers" were not able to attend; Hairston said she had committed in a meeting with neighbors representatives to convey to the University neighbors concern that they have access to decision makers. Hairston seemed sympathetic to neighbors concerns that a means be found to take account of preserving the character and look of Woodlawn Avenue and that it remain or return as much as possible to a 24-7 residential character, but did not endorse any particular method. Many residents wish to have to UC take residences out of its proposed amendment to its PD 43, return at least some to actually having people in them (thought not likely by Malunda), and have some kind of historic district or other protective agreement or arrangement, and no commercialization. There were also concerns about institutional uses not paying attention to what happens after hours, having insufficient or always-on lighting, inconvenient hours of waste and other services. Both Hairston and Malunda did respond to concerns about the campus buses, traffic, wear and tear on Woodlawn Avenue, and about the alley which would empty onto Woodlawn-- University was suggested instead. A public meeting will be set up on this set of issues.

A letter opposes the opposers. Joseph Samuelson, Herald, July 20, 2011

I write regarding recent coverage of efforts to "save" the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue in the name of preservation. They have called this block the gateway to Hyde Park, etc. This block is really nothing too unusual. While it does have some nice buildings, none are beautiful or exquisite. I would argue that the 5600 block is much nicer, it has a grater variety of homes an is completely [not true] residential.

The 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue has been an institutional street for many years. There is a fraternity, a Hillel House, the Meadville Seminary (that incidentally neglected all thee of their houses), a preschool, of late a Chabad House etc., etc. There are actually only about three families that live on the block and it has been this way for many years.

The fear that the university will somehow make a further push eastward and that "they must be stopped" is silly. To push for landmark status and cripple necessary development of this block is counterproductive and costly. Hyde Park does not need further setbacks in improving the community.

Letter to Ald. Hairston concerning the November 9 public meeting

Dear Alderman Hairston:

Thank you for running a well-prepared, well managed, forward-going meeting with the University Wednesday evening.

I was impressed by the University's thought given to the matters at hand, much more extensive presentations, additional language that involved real concessions for an institution to make (although of course they also are gaining things they feel they need), and willingness to consider the further wording and process suggested from the audience.

I was a little disappointed that the commissioned traffic/parking study in every case concluded there are no problems or steps to be taken, when this is to my observation and that of people in the audience "greatly exaggerated."

I was pleased that Landmarks Illinois and the University were able to use easements to provide solutions. I hope that the courts will be friendly.

I was also proud of the audience, which was willing to work collegially with each other and the University and offer practical suggestions they believe will ensure protections they seek for the character of the transition between the campus and the rest of the neighborhood.

I think the University answered well concerning stewardship and physical care to some of their buildings and willingness to continue with doing this to the others. I hope that the designation of the future of every one of the buildings as "institutional" leaves room for flexibility and creativity in both uses and design.

I was especially pleased that a process for continued conversation and a viable timeline were set up. It is important to reach as much settlement as possible within the next three months, then move on with the changes the University needs for its projects. There are processes and matters that should and can be considered later, or on an ongoing basis, ranging from traffic and parking to consideration of a possible district.

Gary Ossewaarde

Joshua Telser said in a letter to stakeholders that any changes to the Meadville building other than historically sensitive restoration would be a travesty, and McGiffert Hall is no example of how to build in an historic area.

Other happenings and actions

March 2, 2011? Preservation Chicago listed the former Chicago Theological Seminary among the "Seven Most Endangered" structures in Chicago. Visit below their description, used with permission. Visit http://www.preservationchicago.org/userfiles/file/ctsseminary.pdf or http://www.ctsthreatened.org. See also there "Woodlawn Avenue at Risk?" by Sam Cholke, Herald writer.

Here is their letter from their website, portion pertaining to Woodlawn district- whole is in Chicago Theological Seminary page.

Woodlawn Avenue Corridor
With the occupation of the CTS buildings, the University of Chicago campus continues to move steadily eastward into the residential portion of Hyde Park. The 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue is one of the most important historic residential blocks in Chicago. This large group of remarkable buildings serves as the graceful transition between the campus and the community. These buildings tell the story of how Hyde Park came to be what it is -- a neighborhood of great beauty, surprising diversity and intense creativity. Fifteen of the original residential buildings remain, including the landmarked Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright and twelve “Orange-rated” houses. Only four of the houses are privately owned and the rest are institutional, but it still retains the appearance of a residential street. However, eight of the buildings on the block are currently for sale or have recently changed hands, and all will be put to new institutional uses. As the 5700 block of Woodlawn evolves from residential to institutional, there is currently no protection against demolition or disfigurement, except Robie House. Nor is there an agreed upon community planning process to manage the inevitable changes coming to Woodlawn Avenue. The re-purposing of the Chicago Theological Seminary buildings by the University of Chicago is part of a larger current of change that could quickly compromise the historic Woodlawn Avenue corridor.

Recommendations:
Preserve all of the remaining historic elements of the Chicago Theological Seminary. Create a Historic Landmark
District for the 5700 block of Woodlawn.

In December 2011 signs went up on the Meadville main building regarding a zoning change hearing. No information on what that impends.

 

Woodlawn Avenue at Risk? Hyde Park Herald, March 9, 2011. By Sam Cholke

Preservation Chicago identified the Chicago Theological Seminary as one of its seven most threatened building for 2011.

"As the 5700 block of Woodlawn evolves from residential to institutional, there is currently no protection against demolition or disfigurement, except Robie House. Nor is there an agreed upon community planning process to manage the inevitable changes coming to Woodlawn Avenue," Preservation Chicago says in its briefing on the seminary. "The re-purposing of the Chicago Theological Seminary buildings by the University of Chicago is part of as larger current of change that could quickly compromise the historic Woodlawn Avenue corridor."

The University of Chicago purchased the seminary in 209 as the new home for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics. To renovate the building, the university hired An Beha Architects, which proposed last month retaining much of the building's current appearance.

"We're always trying to not be there at the last minute when it's too late to say something," said Jack Spicer, a Hyde Parker adn Preservation Chicago vice president. "I don't know that there will be any demolition, but there will be a lot of changes. The idea is there is no way to know what will happen, but it is clear something will happen." Spicer continues to be critical of the university's plans to remove many of the stained glass windows from the seminary, but said there is also a larger concern now for the character of a residential block now owned almost exclusively by the university.

The 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House and the Chicago and Meadville-Lombard buildings on the block. Once the deal goes thorough, the university will own 11 of the 17 buildings on the block. Though most of the buildings were once residential, only four remain as as private residences.

The university has held several meeting on plans for the Chicago Theological seminary and said it will continue to come back to the public as plans progress. The university has also formed a Historic Resources Survey discussion group to advise on changes to any historic property owned by the university. The group is composed of architects, planners and community members. It is an advisory body and holds no decision-making power, according to Steve Kloehn, a university spokesman. He said the group is not a public body and has no official authority and the university would not disclose the names of anyone in the group to protect their candor. Kloehn said the group wil eventually be about 12 people and is currently about eight to ten individuals. Kloehn said the group has met four times and advised on the seminary, amongst other projects.

Spicer was critical of the group, advocating it include stakeholders from the neighborhood, city planners and a representative of the alderman's office. he said the group should meet publicly to guarantee the university is responding to legitimate concerns. "They need to answer to someone besides themselves," he said.


Woodlawn district nominated in June, 2011 to Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Herald, June 8, 2011. By Sam Cholke. (The meeting of the Commission ascribed to May 31 occurred June 2)

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks put our a cal for ideas last week and got a couple suggestions for landmarks in Hyde Park. At a May 31 public meeting, the commission heard heard suggestions for a landmark district on the 5500 through 5700 blocks of Woodlawn an University avenues and landmarking U.S. President Ronald Reagan's childhood home at 832 E. 57th St.

Jack Spicer asked the commission to consider the Woodlawn Ave. district, a proposal endorsed by the Hyde Park Historical Society, the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Preservation Chicago, and Landmarks Illinois. "There is some danger here," Spicer said about the University of Chicago's recent purchase of several buildings in the proposed district. "It can't help expanding; this is an effort to mediate that expansion."

The majority of the 101 buildings in the proposed district are rated orange by the commission, meaning a brief review showed the structures have some historical value. Two buildings are currently landmarked, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House at 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. and the Keck-Gottschalk-Keck Apartments at 5551 S. University ave.

Redd Griffin of the Ronald Reagan in Chicago Committee proposed a six-flat building that the former president lived in for a year as a young man. "I think this is an anchor of some of the Chicago experience of Reagan," Griffin said. "He wrote about being a four-year-old at this very property." The University of Chicago owns the property and Griffin said he has not broached the idea with the university yet.

Ellen Sahli, the director of civic engagement for the university, sat in on the meeting and said the proposals were interesting but declined to comment on whether the university was open to either suggestion.

the commission or aldermen initiate most landmarkings, but public suggestions are often taken up, according to Terry Tatum, a staff member at the commission. The parishioners of Ebenezer Missionary baptist Church at 4501 S. Vincennes suggested landmark status, which progressed towards final approval by the City Council May 31.

Landmark districts are taken up of more rarely, partially because they aren't often suggested, Tatum said.


Local tours tout landmark proposal. Herald July 13, 2011. By Daschell M. Phillips

Hyde Park resident Sam Guard led the first of his three walking tours of Woodlawn an University avenues from East 55th street to East 58th Street [Sunday]. The tours are in conjunction with a landmark district proposal recently filed by Jack Spicer, a member of the Hyde Park Historical Society. Guard, who said he does not want to be called a historian, said except for three buildings in the proposed landmark district, all of the houses and buildings look just the same as they did when he first saw them back in the 1950s.

"Most of these buildings, which were built in the 1920s, are wonderful time capsules into the past showing us the prosperity of the middle class," Guard said. "The homes are a hallmark of the comfortable lifestyle they were able to live, and I want to keep it that way."

Guard said the three blocks between Woodlawn and University avenues from East 55th Street to East 58th Street is the only concentrated area of architecturally significant houses of its size in the city. During the tour, Guard leads participants from Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, which is already landmarked, that is located on the south end of the proposed district, to a George and William Keck three-flat, the designers of the house of the future at the World's fair [of 1933], located at the north end. The proposed district consists of 82 buildings, including 72 residential buildings, one club building, four churches, two schools and three fraternity houses. Of the district's 72 residential buildings, 55 were built as single-family homes. The remaining residential buildings include three duplexes, two three-flats, seven apartment buildings and one dormitory. Guard not only tells the tourists about the stories of the architects who designed the properties but he also shares a few stories, good and bad, about the people who lived in them.

Many of the buildings in the district are owned by the University of Chicago and have been converted to new uses, such as office space. Guard said the university's decision to move the seminary Co Op Bookstore from 5757 S. University to the McGiffert House, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., causes him concern. "First you move the bookstore, then you add a coffee shop, then you add a sign, and then more changes are made - it's a slippery slope," Guard said. "We need to emphasize the symbols of permanence in this world that is changing so rapidly it makes your head spin. We need to stabilize communities."

The university has not made any plans to add additional businesses in the proposed landmark district. "This isn't anti-development or university we just want to keep the good stuff because this is the backbone of Woodlawn," [corridor?] said Guard, who said renovation of the inside of the buildings doesn't concern him as much as demolition would.

Demolition of any buildings within the district could have an adverse effect on the neighborhood if what replaces it is not sensitive to issues of architectural style, materials, scale and setbacks on the lot, according to the Historic University and Woodlawn Avenue Group, a group of community members who are in favor of the proposed landmark district and have launched a website at woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org.

The next two tours will take place at 1 p.m. on [Sunday], July 17 and July 24.


5700 Block residents Ronald A and Linda S. Thisted weigh in

Herald, October 5, 2011

Dear Alderman Hairston:

As one of the four private homeowners living on the 5700 block of South Woodlawn, we would like to voice our support for the creation of a landmark district for the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue.

With the University of Chicago now owning most of the buildings on the block, and with their determined push to expand planned development No. 43 to include their recent acquisitions on the block, we fear that there will be little check, on their future building decisions, without a landmark district.

It would be tragic for the streetscape of teh 5700 block of Woodlawn to change dramatically. It is a beautiful street, with fine examples of turn-of-the- century homes, designed by renowned Chicago architects. It maintains its residential fee., in spite of the fact that many buildings now have institutional purposes.

We are more than willing to live with the restrictions required by being in a landmark district. We urge you to push the landmarking process forward, even if the university objects to it.


Organization perspectives.

HPKCC Press Release- in Herald Oct. 5 2011.

"The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference takes the future of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor very seriously. We hope the university will present at the October 6 meeting some constructive and substantial plan that will protect this community asset."

Hyde Park Historical Society write letter to Ald. Hairston and Herald: A call to landmark Woodlawn District.

By Ruth Knack, Letter appearing September 26, 2011

Dear Alderman Hairston:

As yu know,the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue is threatened with great change. The University of Chicago recently bought five more buildings, bringing to 12 the number it now owns (out of a total of 19). Three more houses are owned by other institutions leaving only four as private residences.

There are two main dangers in these acquisitions. One is the potential loss of valuable historic architecture that expresses the nature of our community. The second is the institutionalization of Woodlawn Avenues, with families being replaced by institutions. As the As the university campus moves steadily eastward into the residential portion of the neighborhood, the two-block-wide Woodlawn Avenue corridor -- Woodlawn and University avenues form 58th Street north to 55th Street -- faces the same potential destabilization.

The University of Chicago has announced that it intends to expand its planed development district to include its new properties on Woodlawn Avenue. This will give the university much greater control over development and will limit the community's participation in future planning decisions. the 5700 block of Woodlawn is part of one of the most important historic residential districts in Chicago. The Woodlawn Avenue corridor serves as a graceful transition between the campus and the community. Its buildings tell the story of how Hyde Park came to be what it is -- a neighborhood of great beauty, surprising diversity and intense creativity. As an emblem of the neighborhood, the block should be treated with great care, its stewardship shared by the university and the community.

At present there is no protection against demolition or radical disfigurement of any of these buildings, with the exception of the landmarked Robie House. With the expansion of the planned development district, the university will have a much greater degree of unilateral control.

The best way to ensure protection for the entire Woodlawn Avenue Corridor, including the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue, and to ensure the cooperation of all the neighbors and property owners is to create a Chicago landmark district. A landmark district is the equivalent of a strong comprehensive plan to guide the future of the corridor. Because the landmarking process is public, open, multilateral, enforceable and ongoing, it is the most effective tool for managing this important architectural and social heritage.

Alderman Hairston, you have the ultimate power to ensure the creation of a Woodlawn Avenue Landmark District. Without your leadership it cannot happen. We urge you to instruct the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to begin the landmarking process for the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor as soon as possible.

Ruth Knack, American Institute of Certified Planners; President, Hyde Park Historical Society; Jack Spicer Chair, Preservation Committee


Preservation Chicago. By Jonathan Fine, from Hyde Park Herald October 5 2011, sent to Ald. Hairston

Dear Alderman Hairston:

I am writing regarding the intention of the University of Chicago to expand its planned development to incorporate several more historic buildings on the 5700 block of Woodlawn Avenue. We are greatly concerned that, with this expansion, the university will have virtual control of the entire block. Partial or compete demolition of historic buildings and major redevelopment of the entire block could soon follow.

We fully support the desire of the Hyde Park Historical Society, as well as other community stakeholders, that you being the process to create an historic landmark district on woodlawn Avenue as soon as possible.

Preservation Chicago first took an interest in Woodlawn Avenue back in 2003, when the Meadville Lombard Seminary proposed a major redevelopment of its properties. We were concerned then that substantial demolition of the Meadville building was a serious possibility. Since that time, our fear for the future of historic Woodlawn Avenue has only increased.

As you know, we are currently working to preserve Prentice Women's Hospital on Northwestern's Streeterville campus. As a result of this effort, we have become painfully aware of the immense power and influence that major institutions wield. It is our belief that this power has dangerously unbalanced the relationship of these institutions to their communities.

We therefore look to your leadership to return some power to your constituents so that they can better determine the fate of their own neighborhood.


Jonathan Fine for Preservation Chicago said "Landmark Woodlawn to keep it stable" to the December 21 2011 Herald and Commissioner Gorski.

We are writing in support of the creation of a Chicago Landmark district in Hyde Park. Tie district would include the 5700 block of South Woodlawn Avenue, as well as the 5500 and 5600 blocks of Woodlawn and the east side of University Avenue from 55th to 58th streets. The University of Chicago's expansion to almost all of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn has made it obvious that their ultimate goal is to redevelop this particular block, and this kind of aggressive action could destabilize the adjacent historic blocks as well.

While they claim to be committed to preserving the "character" of he 5700 block, there is nothing in the current draft of the amended planned development that guarantees the preservation of any historic buildings on the block. Although the language of the PD is still evolving, it is our belief that the university has absolutely no intention of committing itself to anything that would prevent it from demolishing historic buildings in he future. And, as was made painfully clear at the Nov. 9 community meeting, facade easements do not ensure building preservation.

We accept that the university seeks it own vision for Woodlawn Avenue. However, an institution of enlightened thinking has, in our opinion, a responsibility not to achieve its vision by destroying the vision of others.

The creation of a landmark district will cause the university absolutely no hardship. In fact, we are confident that the university's creative team can find a way to preserve its architectural patrimony while at the same time achieving the goals of its expansion plan.

To that end, the only development tool that will guarantee the preservation of the 5700 block of South Woodlawn is the creation of a landmark district. We therefore urge you to begin that process as soon as possible.

 

HPKCC supports Woodlawn Avenue landmarking November 2011

The following letter was sent to Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th) and published in the Hyde Park Herald November 30, 2011. A similar letter was sent to Eleanor Gorski , Commissioner of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. This letter can be read by itself in pdf and printed.

I write on behalf of the Board of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference to let you know that we have expressed our strong support for the creation of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor Landmark District to the Chicago Landmarks Commissioner, Eleanor Gorski.

Members of the Conference’s Development, Preservation and Zoning Committee are active participants in the community’s conversations and negotiations with the university and you about the future of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor.

We hope that the discussions facilitated by your office to place strong protective language in the planned development amendment will succeed. But we believe a landmark district is needed for ongoing protection and management of change, and that it is desirable in its own right for this historic corridor.
The Conference remains concerned about the possibility of either demolition or unskillful rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of some of the buildings owned by the University of Chicago, as the neighborhood changes and the University continues its expansion to the east of the present main campus.

As you know, many of the houses and apartments were built to house the early faculty of the University, and a pantheon of important Chicago architects are represented. This area has a character all its own, which is treasured not only by residents, but also by those of us who pass through it in the course of our daily lives. To the pedestrian, as to the driver, the area of the Corridor indeed provides the “graceful transition” noted in the text of the community support form, between the campus quadrangles and the residential streets to the east.

The Conference expresses its gratitude to community members who have painstakingly documented the historical and architectural significance of the buildings in the corridor at the website http://woodlawnaveinjeopardy.org/about. We strongly encourage Ms. Gorski to approve the establishment of the Woodlawn Avenue Corridor Landmark District.

With best wishes,
Jane Ciacci, President, Hyde Park-Kenwood community Conference, for the Board of Directors.


A commentaried version of Ald. Hairston's statement of reservations and what she asks of the University regarding the MOU and PD43 and the historic transition between University and neighborhood. Note: she reiterated this at her October ward meeting adding her reservations about a landmark district. Courtesy Jack Spicer.

 

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Delmarie Cobb Carole Parks773-373-3860

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S PLANNED DEVELOPMENT IS AN ISSUE OF HISTORICAL CHARACTER

Alderman Leslie Hairston is putting the University of Chicago on notice she is not supporting its Institutional Planned Development 43, or PD43, until it responds to her requests for a public meeting that reaches out to all 5th Ward residents and stakeholders, a traffic study that includes parking considerations, and full disclosure about projects in residential areas.

The recent Memo of Understanding between the city and University of Chicago has fueled questions and concerns about the potential impact of the university’s development plans on the social, cultural and historic “character” of Hyde Park and neighboring communities.

“It’s really several issues rolled into one,” says Ald. Leslie Hairston. “There’s a lot of confusion and misperception, mixed in actual negative experiences. There are diverse interests sometimes working at cross purposes.”

Hairston says many fear the university seeks to expand beyond its already extensive reach. “In actuality, we’re talking about updating the same basic ‘footprint’ of the 2005 Planned Development document” – over 200 acres of land with properties the university has acquired since submitting the PD.”

The city cites the university’s estimated $3.5 billion construction expenditures through 2015 as a significant engine for economic development and jobs. In the MOU, the city commits to support timely completion of projects by streamlining its permitting and licensing process, as well as coordinating related infrastructure repairs and upgrades.

As for the university, the MOU incorporates many of Hairston’s terms. It commits to expanding employment opportunities for local residents, ensuring access to projects for minority- and women-owned businesses, and facilitating better education, safety and housing stability in surrounding communities.

“All this is complicated by the fact the university has bought several well preserved, architecturally and historically significant residential properties in thriving areas,” notes Hairston. “People are terrified the university will demolish or alter these buildings, maybe replace them with highrises and institutional structures.”

The alderman says other major universities in urban settings have embraced working with their respective communities. New York University, Columbia University, Harvard and MIT view community-input as a positive, not a negative.

Even though the university contends its amendment to the PD addresses some of preservation questions, Hairston acknowledges reservations, noting the university has failed to follow through on public meetings and other promises. “But the MOU does not eliminate City Council approval. The university still has to come through me. I will hold their feet to the fire about all this, especially transparency and communication.”

______________________________

Moving forward.
Small meetings; Paulson's, Axelrod's Politics Institutes, McGiffert/Sem Coop building plans revealed.

As provided in the agreement and Woodlawn Plan, both small and public meetings continue on evolving projects.

The first of expected numerous side-issue working-group meetings took place in late April under Ald. Hairston's auspices. This involved specifically the consultant analysis expected to form the basis of the Traffic Management Plan and other traffic and pedestrian changes anticipated and existing conditions. A large number of suggestions as well as the concerns of nearby residents were placed on the table (just about every ameliorative possibility) to be considered by the University. Staff and legal consultants were reported working on the 2 or 3 specific suggestions made at most recent March 28 public meeting on CTS repurposing and adjacent construction plans, suggestions that the University agreed to explore. The results of traffic counts would being confirmed with special counts during heaviest University load times. As far as known at that time, the University had applied for and received permits only for foundation work for CTS.

At the edge of the larger Woodlawn corridor, the city was proposing several traffic improvements and changes for 55th Street that would be discussed in detail at an April 25 public meeting (report being sought). The University appeared ahead to be largely supportive of these.

The University held the next public meeting on May 2 2012 be about plans for the Paulson Institute in 5711 S. Woodlawn, David Axelrod's Institute of Politics at 5707, and for the Seminary Co-op Book Store and cafe in McGiffert House, 5751 S. Woodlawn.

The meeting by Civic Engagement and Facilities, was attended by maybe 30 and brief. Again, all of these are in the Planned Development 43 as recently revised and in attendant Woodlawn Avenue Plan. New details include that the Institute of Politics (5707 Woodlawn) will get a new roof and access via enclosed stairwell and a wheelchair ramp (along the side and connecting to the rear) that will be joint with the Paulson Institute. (Henry Paulson was Treasury Secretary under G.W. Bush, David Axelrod served in the White House under Obama and heads the 2012 campaign. Both institutes are supposed to be non-partisan. Paulson center will have a staff of 7 and 5 faculty.) Construction permits are being sought and construction is expected to to start about late May and be completed by October. Meanwhile, the buildings were already stripped to studs and floorboards. Facade work will definitely be done including trim, tuck-pointing, and windows replacement.-- Neither building has been among those considered for an historic easement.

Estimates of costs and scope of remodeling are found in the Woodlawn Avenue Plan. The Paulson Institute, named after Bush Administration Treasury Secretary and former head of Goldman Sachs, will research economic relations of China and US (and China's environmental policies?) Cost to remodel the historic 5711 structures (c. 1901, gothic revival) is estimated at $1-2 million, likely to include removal of the handicapped access ramps with new access in the rear (as with main Meadville and 5707) and reconfiguration of parking (no loss-no gain).
Also to be remodeled is another structure (whether 5707 or Meadville Main were unclear in reports). Both buildings will have some exterior renovation. Residents expressed concern about the "prison yard" lights at several other university buildings in the corridor and were promised the lighting would be residential scale.

More advanced plans for the transformation of McGiffert House (5751 S. Woodlawn, 8,900 sq. ft.) first and basement floors for the Seminary-Co-op Bookstore and a cafe and landscaping to mesh better with Robie House to the south and reconfigure access will also be revealed. Cost: $3-5 million. Also revealed are plans for signage and hours of operations. University offices are expected to continue to use the upper floors. As of this writing, the University was pondering/soliciting suggestions but had made no decisions concerning the parking lot north of 5751, though it expected it would be needed by McGiffert and possibly for limited replacement parking from the larger projects related to CTS and pedestrianizing of 58th St. Some changes may be needed for the alley between Woodlawn and Kimbark.

The Seminary Coop will be configured to allow more public meetings and author events and easier navigation and wider aisles while retaining a sense of surprise around every corner. Announced also was the cafe vendor in McGiffert, Plein Air Cafe, by Soo Choi, the former owner and operator of Little Branch Cafe in the South Loop. Plein Air will specialize in signature donuts (including bacon butterscotch, sweet potato with blueberry jam and maple glaze, and maple cinnamon sugar holes. They may also a variety of gourmet vegetable and meat specialties-- all were available to sample at the meeting. The cafe will have a full kitchen and bakery. Hours will likely coincide with those of the bookstore and commence with the bookstores' opening slated for October. .

Hiring was also discussed- the goal is 30% Chicago, 30% minorities, 5% women. Construction parking is supposed to be in the 55th-Ellis garage. The traffic control plan was not yet finalized.


University of Chicago announces the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society, to be housed in the former Meadville School of Theology main building, 57th and Woodlawn.

From: Robert J. Zimmer and Thomas F. Rosenbaum [mailto:president@uchicago.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:58 AM
To: Faculty
Subject: New initiative in humanities and humanistic social sciences

To: University faculty
From: Robert J. Zimmer and Thomas F. Rosenbaum
Subject: New initiative in humanities and humanistic social sciences
Date: June 27, 2012

We are very pleased to announce the establishment of the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society, a major initiative in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and their connections to other disciplines. The Neubauer Collegium will focus on the study of large-scale questions that transcend any single discipline. In doing so, it will support distinctive and collaborative research projects, visiting scholars from around the world, and public outreach. The Collegium will create an intellectual destination in Hyde Park that will enhance the University’s initiatives around the globe.

The establishment of the Neubauer Collegium is based on the recommendation of Martha Roth, Dean of the Humanities Division, and Mark Hansen, Dean of the Social Sciences Division, which in turn is founded on several years of work and discussion by members of their faculties. We are especially grateful to Joe and Jeanette Neubauer, whose $26.5 million gift in support of this initiative once again sets a standard for philanthropy that has lasting impact. David Nirenberg, the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought, will be the Neubauer Collegium’s founding faculty director. The Neubauer Collegium will be located in the former Meadville-Lombard Seminary building at 5701 S. Woodlawn, and will formally begin operations in fall 2012.

The Neubauer Collegium reflects the University’s commitment to humanistic inquiry and discourse, important not only for its own merits but because it comes at a time when some other institutions are retreating from the humanities. Along with investments such as the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, the Graduate Aid Initiative, and the broad-based expansion of University faculty, the Neubauer Collegium continues to support and build the humanities and humanistic social sciences, central to the University’s mission.

5-year-in report and public meeting 18, 2017

About 25, including Ald. Hairston, gathered to hear University of Chicago planning and Civic Engagement staff give an overall adn building by building assessment of each building's defining features, what had been done over the past 5 years, condition assessment, and what they expect to with the structure and grounds, if anything through 2021. The Woodlawn Avenue Plan Sub Area "O" requires an update and public meeting every 5 years.

Since 2012, the University of Chicago has invested $156.7 million dollars in the sub-area. These include
Saieh Hall (former Chicago Theological Seminary bldgs.) 1180 E. 58th St. and including 5740-50 S. Woodlawn, a new 50,000 sf addition in the alley, and the adjacent part of 58th St. pedestrian conversion-- $122.5.
Neubauer Collegium (former Meadville School) 5701 S. Woodlawn--$18.1.
McGiffert House 5751 S. Woodlawn conversion of 2 levels for Seminary Co-op Bookstore/Plein Air Cafe
and 4th for Booth School offices- $6.2.
Institute of Politics (formerly vacant) 5707 S. Woodlawn.
Paulson Institute 5711 S. Woodlawn (formerly vacant). These two total $5.7.
5730 S. Woodlawn for office and meeting space $4.1.
Minor renovations and stabilization to remaining U of C owned structures (which had been renovated previous) and to the alley between Woodlawn and University. New security lighting and devices, ADA provisions and landscaping were done throughout. The most costly of these improvements were to the walk and entryway at 5730. wherever possible, substitutions were with historical materials or replications.

All the above were rated as in good condition, with maintenance only expected except:

McGiffert Hall is to have a major renovation to the 2nd and 3rd floors for Booth School, and its parking lot will be fixed in 2017.
A vacant garage by 5710 S. Woodlawn is in poor condition and too small for uses and problematic to provide heating- is listed as may be demolished. These are noted as changes in the plan specifications.

Residents and the Alderman said they were pleased with the results with minor exceptions (such as a couple front stairs that were not historic or aesthetic. They were pleased that the University had done what it agreed to do and expected that to continue. Next update- 2021.