Meeting reports and minutes of the Hyde Park 53rd Street TIF Advisory Council late 2003-2007

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November 19, 2007 TIF Council meeting

Formal minutes, by Rod Sawyer

Members Present: Steve soble, Antoinette McAllister, Jo Reizner, Tony Wilkins, Howard Males, Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Chuck Thurow, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome

Meeting called to order at 7:03 p.m. with a quorum present.

Remarks by the Chair: Welcomed all in attendance and orally presented tonight's meeting agenda.

Approval of Minutes: Minutes were read by the committee. C. Thurow made a motion to approve the minutes as presented, which was seconded by T. Wilkins. The motion passed unanimously.

Meeting Notables: Vice-chair assumes meeting duties at 8:15 p.m.

Alderman's Report: No report.

Cleanslate Update: John Rush, of the CARA Corporation, gave an update on Cleanslate. A Business Survey summary and results were briefly presented, a brief video of the Cleanslate program was shown, and remarks were made by Yvette Clark, crew chief for Cleanslate's Hyde Park's TIF area. Chair Males made note that despite the pressure on TIF funding and the press it has endured in light of the city's budgeting process, cleanslate is an excellent example of how Hyde Park's TIF funds are used.

Harper and 53rd Street (Theater Building): Susan Campbell, of UC, began discussion with remarks and history for the 53rd street Theater building redevelopment. She introduced David Brint and Rich Sciortino, of Brinshore Development, who made a formal presentation of the project's progress. In their presentation, they proposed renovation of the property due to the expense of demolition (over $1M), restated development objectives and reviewed historic preservation plans. They revealed that they were 60-90 days from revealing their tentative retail tenant mix and design concept. In commenting on construction they stated that the roof will be raised, but the building exterior will be largely maintained. Just fewer than 40k sq. ft. of retail space will be created in the renovated structure. Construction is projected to begin in Spring, 2008, with occupancy expected in Spring, 2009.

University od Chicago 2007 Retail Market study: Susan campbell, of UC, presented the results of a retail survey conducted by the University. 12,000 of t he University's students were surveyed, with a 12% response rate, as well as 300 area residents in a phone survey. Among items discussed were- the core area boundaries (47th Street to the Woodlawn neighborhood, and from Washington Park to the Lakefront). The survey results also reported on an expanded boundary, called a Trade area, defined by 31st to 87th Streets, and from the Dan Ryan Expressway (I 90-94) to the Lakefront, and a subset, defined by Pershing Rd. to 67th street, and from King Drive to the Lakefront. She spoke to the point that these areas are what retailers look at when determining store location,s as well as population and income levels within these boundaries. The area also The areas also represent drive times to locations, expressed in time periods up to 15 minutes. she commented that the results were not as strong as retailers usually like to see when making decisions to locate stores within the trade area.

53rd Street Vision Workshop: Irene Sher[r] discussed the upcoming workshop to be held on 12/8/07 from 8:30 a.m. to Noon. She noted that this is a valuable opportunity for the community to come out and help determine the direction of development to be proposed in the area, and she encouraged as much participation as possible. This invitation was reiterated by the Vice-Chair as an opportunity for broad community input.

Motion to adjourn was made by the Vice Chair, and seconded by T. Wilkins. The meeting ended at 8:30 p.m.


By Gary Ossewaarde:

Minutes were approved.

The Cara Program/Cleanslate presented on their program and showed business survey reports showing that perceptions had completely turned around from "nearly always dirty" to 79% "nearly always clean." The Council was proactively receptive to renewed funding next year. Chairman Males wore a cleanslate tee shirt.

Brinshore and Susan Campbell of the University presented on its design work and retail contacts for the 53rd/Harper Theater project. The building shell will remain, with new floors and new treatment of the first floor retail and theater entrance. Practically this is preservation, although in category and standards adaptive renovation. The corner space will almost certainly be dining. They hope the west part of the 53rd first floor front and theater will be upscale apparel and related shops--many have shown interest. The upper floor of both buildings will be offices (53rd is already committed to a therapy group). Developers expect to submit for permits and closings at the end of the year and for construction to start late winter or early spring. They were asked to put up signs showing this is the site of new development instead of everyone seeing just "closed" signs. Response was favorable, with reservations about the success of high end shops.

Susan Campbell, UC assistant vice president, discussed results of a retail needs and potential study of the larger area of draw and a neighborhood survey. Demographics shown on maps, spread out nature of the business corridors, lack of big spaces and uneven to sparse offerings are among the difficulties to attracting new retail. Parking was said not to be a respondent concern. Shoppers complaints were about the look and feel, lack of selection and variety and of basics as well as entertainment. Facilities were considered outdated and not comporting to modern size requirements and business plans that renew the look every five years. It appears we need to stress advantages business site searches don't look at, such as the students, rebuild our ability to supply basics, and re grow population with spendable income. Objections were made this that leaves out the large number in Hyde Park and around that have some money to spend if the selection were there but cannot support or afford high end retailers, and that there would have to be lots of new people (as Campbell said) when we are landlocked by the Lake and Washington Park and Jackson Park.

This was an entry for Irene Sherr to encourage attendance at the December 8 53rd Vision Workshop. Chairman Males stressed that the question needs lots of voices--neither the TIF nor any one organization should decide these issues. Sherr urged registration because electronic voting devices and lunches have to be ordered.

Adjourned. Top

September 10, 2007 meeting

Members Present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Rod Sawyer, Steve Soble, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins.

Remarks by the Chair: Howard Males welcomed community members and encouraged them to visit the American Express/National Trust for Historic Preservation site at partnersinpreservation.com to vote for which site would receive preservation dollars.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of July 7, 2007 with date correction.

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle introduced James Wilson of the Department of Planning who shared information on the development process for Harper Court. Mr. Wilson explained that the department had asked for and accepted as fair an appraisal of the parking lot and Harper Court parcels. In October or early November a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be issued. This will determine who might be interested in developing the site. Applications will be examined, and 3 to 5 developers will be asked to submit a detailed plan. Mr. Wilson will return to the TIF Council meeting in November to inform the community of progress to date. In response to a question from the audience, Alderman Preckwinkle reminded those present that the bonds issued to originally establish Harper Court have been repaid and that the Harper Court Arts Foundation, who owns the property, will sell the property. The Foundation has stated its intent to use that money to support art projects in the community. The existing zoning for the site is planned development which was created when Harper Court was built originally.

Proposed Arts and Recreation Center at 35th and Cottage Grove: Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director of QCDC, and Gabriella DiFilippo, Illinois Facilities Fund, shared a power point about the background and future plans to build an arts and recreation center at 35th and Cottage. QCDC's Quality of Life Survey indicated the community's desire for and value of arts and recreation. This led to a more detailed survey that identified specific arts and recreation needs, including issues of safety, accessibility, availability to all income, and activities such as swimming, teen programs, adult fitness, and music lessons. An artist's rendering of the 85,000 [sq. ft.] included 50,000 square feet for recreation, 25,000 for music, arts, dance, and theater activities, and 1o,000 for retail space needs related to the facility. Care is being given to ensure that duplication of arts programs and institutions does not occur, e.g., Muntu, Little Black Pearl, Hyde Park Art Center, etc. At present, Community Builders is taking the lead on developing the site. The Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools own the land. It is estimated that $25 to $30 million dollars will be needed; financing is hoped for by this fall.

53rd and 55th Street Mural Project Update: John Pounds, Director of the Chicago Public Art Group, Chuck Thurow, Hyde Park Arts Center, and Faheem Majeed, South Side Community Art Center are "curators" for the panels and murals at these sites. Four artists have been selected--Calvin Jones, Margaret Burroughs, John Himmelfarb, and Terry Evans--whose works lend themselves to art panels for the site. Lighting and a protective coating are also part of the project. In addition, part of the mural on the south side of 55th - Alewives and Victory Fish- will be preserved.

Small Business Improvement Fund Update: Derek Walvoord, SomerCor, updated those present on the grants that have been issued to 53rd Street businesses. Over $150,000 has been given out, with a ceiling of $350,000 available. Derek cited the transformation of the Far East Kitchen into Chant.

Announcements. The Coop Book Sale will be held on October 6, 7, 8; books can be dropped off at the Coop. On September 20th the Hyde Park Jazz Concert will take place. September 30th is the date for the Hyde Park Book Fair from noon to 5:00. [sic: 57th St. Children's Book Fair, 1-6 p.m.]

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m. The next TIF Advisory council meeting will be held on Monday, November 12, 2007 at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske, Secretary

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Reports on the July 9, 2007 meeting

Official minutes by Ginny Vaske

Members Present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Laurel Stradford, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of the May 14, 2007 as submitted.

Alderman's Report: Alderman Preckwinkle gave the community an update on several potential developments in the TIF area.

Parking Committee report: Howard Males and Irene Sherr presented the results of DePaul Professor Kim's parking study. (Parking committee meeting minutes of June 24, 2007 are attached.) His students looked at parking on 53rd St. between Lake Park and Dorchester to determine whether or not a parking problem exists. They interviewed approximately 40 people and reached the following conclusions:

This information will be useful in pursuing a Transportation Enhancement District (TED) for 53rd Street.

Chair Report: Howard Males reported that due to a change in by-laws, no TIF members would be rotating off the Council. Membership will remain the same for another year.

Corridor Housing Initiative: Irene Sherr showed a video from the Corridor Housing Initiative which works with city and community partners to field a team that reaches out into the neighborhoods ahead of project design and development so participants begin to understand the economics of development.

Irene distributed a seven question quiz on density: "How Dense Can You Be?" She reviewed the questions and answers with the Council and audience as a segue into a video about the Corridor Housing initiative. Irene also reported that she has been exploring the application of CHI, or something like that, in Hyde Park with Pat Wilcoxen of the Interfaith Open Housing Committee.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn at 8:10 p.m.

 

Notes on the meeting, by Trish Morse, HPKCC board member

Alderman Preckwinkle reported on several development issues:

  1. Fernando Leal is in Nevada so couldn't attend this meeting in July. He will be presenting a proposal for the site of the McDonald's/Mobil station on 53rd Street at the next meeting. He has a contract to purchase the site and says he has a financially viable plan for this site. There was a question about how it was zoned. The alderman didn't know, but pointed out that is didn't matter since it would be a planned development.
  2. 53rd & Cornell will require a revised proposal since Leal feels that the old plan is no longer financially viable, so he's moving forward with the McDonald's/Mobil station site first. The demolition of the current buildings is being delayed by the need to relocate the ComEd poles/power lines. Once that's done, they'll be granted the permits to demolish. The demolition should take place before September. There was some concern expressed by the audience about how demolishing the building and getting less tax for the property would affect the TIF income. Apparently it wouldn't make a difference.
  3. The Village Foods location development by Antheus reported in the Herald is very preliminary. There has been no community approval, no presentation to the TIF. There are "other things to address with this developer" before there can be any talk about the Village Foods project, so it's long way away.
  4. Brinshore Developers and Baum Brothers, the developers of the U of C property at 53rd and Harper, will present their plans at the September meeting.

The chairman reported on a study done by a DePaul undergraduate class comparing parking on 53rd Street an in Lakeview. Professor Kim had gotten interested because of the TED. They found that 88% of the metered spaces were full in the morning and 93% were full in the afternoon. More Hyde Parkers are dependent on cars and insist on driving than residents of Lakeview. Lakeview discourages reliance on cars through no parking zones, permit parking, parking enforcement, and higher rates. There are also structural differences. The double meter spaces (one meter for two spaces) pace off at 27 paces on 53rd and 21 paces in Lakeview. Pay & Display would solve that. Employees park in front of the store at a much higher create on 53rd. And the viaducts create a cognitive distance from the stores for the parking east of the tracks, even though the spots are no further than similar parking spots to the west.

Irene Sherr responded that the Pay & Display would be from Woodlawn to Cornell. She didn't know if there had been any thought given to handicap parking but said they'd take that into consideration when they go to the level of details.

Irene Sherr then made a presentation on Density. She handed out a quiz from the website of the Lincoln Land Policy Institute (www.lincolninst.edu/index-high.asp) that showed that assumptions of what density looked like weren't accurate and also how density and use of public transit were related. Irene Sherr and Pat Wilcoxen had been looking at a not-for-profit program in Minneapolis called the Corridor Housing Initiative (www.center4neighborhoods.org/corridor_housing.htm), which has developed a series of workshops that train participants to think about economically viable land use that balances density and affordability. It's a bottom-up planning process. The CHI website has a "cookbook" on how to go about the process. She sees this as something that builds on the generic guidelines developed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill nine years ago.

The September agenda will be so packed at there might be two meetings: Leal will discuss his two developments, the U of C will discuss Harper, and Susan Campbell of the U of C will present the marketing study. They might have the U of C at the regular September meeting and Leal at a separate meeting in perhaps October.

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At the May 14, 2007 meeting $150,000 was appropriated for improvements at Canter Middle School, there was a major update on the Lake Park and Viaducts project from the Department of Transportation, Ald. Preckwinkle reported on development, and Fernando Leal will come in July on his plans for the 53rd Kenwood site, problems and delays having arisen for 53rd and Cornell.

TIF gift gives Canter Middle School a makeover

Herald, May 23 2007. By Nykeya Woods

As the school year ends, Canter Middle School, 959 S. blackstone Ave., its beginning its $150,000 makeover, courtesy of funds approved at the May 14 53rd street Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council meeting.

Principal Carolyn Epps said that she wants to create a welcoming environment for junior high school students with new doors, landscaping and and exterior cleaning of the school's two-story building. The allocation is the first for canter. "Ideally we would fix up everything but the exterior is so drab," Epps said. Epps wants to install an electrical sign to replace the old one. "We want to look like a school you want to go to and not [like] a storage facility," E[[s said. "That is kind of what it looks like now from the the street.

During the meeting, TIF Chairman Howard Males read an e-mail about his concerns for funds to the school. "The Canter representatives have been patient. They've been gracious in waiting for redevelopment to fund a larger scale improvement to their school," Males said.

Males, along with other TIF members Virginia Vaske and Mae Wilson, formed a special committee to talk with Epps. In meetings, the group talked [about] what the school needs and how TIF. funds would be used.

At the March 12, 2007 meeting: The Small Business Improvement Fund was explained to be TIF appropriation (only 13 of the TIF districts in Chicago, including 53rd are in the program). While eligibility rules are so strict that few businesses qualify, no criteria or oversight for choosing recipients has yet been drawn up- this is to be done by the TIF N&B Env. Comm. Proposals must have the Alderman's approval. Applications can be picked up at the Chamber or SECC and submitted (although deadline has passed?). (The guidelines for renovation are up in our website in the Small Business Fund page.)
The University of Chicago has contracted for a retail preference survey. An audience member called for a look at current zoning vs use, need and appropriateness.

Herald May 23 report- By Nikeya woods and Yvette Presberry (abbreviated)

Construction began last week to improve the viaducts at 53rd and 55h street an Lake Park Avenue as lane closures caused minor traffic jams. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is spending $3.8 million to reconstruct the drab and leaking viaducts.

"We all know the structures are all leaking and there's a lot of water that sits there, and there's only so much we can do about that," said Janet Attarian, project director for CDOT. Attarian made a presentation at the May 14 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing Meeting and said that the pedestrians and drivers should expect to encounter reduced sidewalk space and single lanes under the viaducts.

The improvements will take place in four phases, with the first phase occurring at the north side of 53rd Street and the south side of 55th Street. Later in the summer, as decorative concrete railings are hoisted into place, 53rd and 55th streets will be temporarily closed and traffic will be rerouted.

Attarian said that when the first phase is completed by the end of summer, CDOT will begin work on the flip side of 53rd and 55th Streets. Future work includes improvement to the viaducts at 7th, 51st, 57th and 60th streets.

Chicago Transit Authority bus stops will be moved across the street. Metra stations and businesses like Istria Cafe on 57th Street will remain during construction.

residents and commuters were excited about the improvements. " If it's advantageous for people who have disabilities and it's more accessible for ladies in the evening and well lit, then I'm all for it," said Hyde Parker John Volpi. ..Jeremy Inbinet said, "Right now when you walk down here it seems dark, And you think, 'Should I cross the street here or should I keep walking."

The agency will install new lighting, a decorative arch walkway, ADA compliant sidewalks, a guardrail and a new ceiling and new gutters. A system to collect rain water from leaking down the walls will be installed to help restore murals and new artwork.

Meetings about the improvements will be held every Thursday at 1:30 pm at [Bank Financial Lake Park/55th].

Minutes of the March 12 Meeting

(spelling errors corrected- GO)

Members Present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Steve Soble, Ginny Vaske, Tony Wilkins

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Chair Howard Males. He thanked the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club for its hospitality and graciousness over the years and introduced the new Executive Director, Peter Cassel. Mr. Cassel highlighted a few HPNC programs, announced the pancake breakfast/raffle on April 1st from 8:00 to 2:00, and introduced the Board President, Debbie Franczek.

Howard congratulated Alderman Preckwinkle on her re-election, asked the council members to introduce themselves, acknowledged those TIF committee members who were in the audience, and encouraged those present to contact him if they wish to serve on a TIF committee.

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the TIF Council minutes of Jan. 7, 2007 as amended, taken by Tony Wilkins. Howard then clarified a statement made by Mr.Leal at the January meeting when giving a brief background of his presentations to the Council. Howard noted that the TIF Advisory Council gave its approval in November 2005, but wanted to hear the results of the traffic and shadow studies as soon as they were completed. Mr. Leal had stated that TIF Council approval came in October of 2006.

Presentations:

University of Chicago Office of Community and Government Affairs: Ms. susan Campbell announced that in response to emails from community members about the overall lack of retail in Hyde Park, the University has hired Location Strategies to conduct a resident survey about shopping habits. The survey should begin the first or second week in April. In response to questions about sampling and reliability, Ms. Campbell assured those present that these concerns would be addressed.

Alderman Preckwinkle's Report: The Alderman had three announcements:

Small Business Improvement Fund: Howard Males and Irene Sherr presented information about the SBIF which gives assistance to small businesses in TIF districts through a grant process. The program reimburses small business owners, dollar for dollar up to $50,000, for expenses incurred on permanent/capital improvements. Applications will be accepted after March 20, 2007. If there is an overwhelming response, a lottery will be held to determine who is funded. The SBIF can only be used in TIF districts, and it is TIF money which funds these projects. Every application must have the Alderman's support.

After many questions from the Council and audience, it was agreed that the TIF Council could approve the SBIF, "in principle" but that the Neighborhood and Small business Environment Committee, chaired by Jane Comiskey, would need to make a recommendation to the full Council regarding a process and dollar amount. The rationale for spending TIF money on small business improvement is to enhance local businesses, thereby generating even more TIF funds in the future so the parking garage and Canter addition can be completed sooner.

Moved, seconded, passed that the Hyde Park TIF Advisory Council approve, in principle, support for the Small Business Improvement Fund program and ask the Neighborhood and Business Environment Committee to recommend to the Alderman and TIF Council funding limits, time guidelines, and other processes determined by the committee.

Adjournment: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.

The next TIF Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 14, 2007 at 7:00 p.m., Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully, submitted. Ginny Vaske

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January 8, 2007 meeting

Alderman Preckwinkle gave her annual report on the state of the TIF. The annual brochure "TIFormation" can be picked up at SECC, 1511 E. 53rd St. It can be read in this site at TIFormation.

The Council approved expenditure of $150,000 to start up the Cara-based CleanSlate street cleaning program. (See details of the program.)

L3 Developers said the start up of the 53rd Cornell development is delayed due to large increases in construction costs over the past two years. They are committed to the project (17 stories), including 15% affordable units (off site, location not yet determined but discussions being held) but it might take longer. Demolition of the current structures could start this spring. Air rights were already finalized in October with the only neighbor who would sell theirs, Jack McGarry of K & G Building Management. Demolition permits being obtained, downtown public hearings will be scheduled for the near future, Ald. Preckwinkle told the meeting.

Hyde Park TIF Advisory Board Meeting Minutes,
January 8 2007, Hyde Park Neighborhood Club
Attendees: Howard Males, Tony Wilkins, Jane Comiskey, Antoinette McAllister, Steve Soble, Chuck Thurow, Jo Reizner, Laurel Stradford, Roderick Sawyer, Andre Brumfield.

Meeting opened at 7:05 by Chairman Males with a request for amendments to the prior meeting minutes. Two changes submitted:
1. Correction to the spelling of Hank Webber’s name.
2. Correction that Andre Brumfield did not accompany Ms. Comiskey on a recent tour reported in the minutes.

Motion to approve made by Antoinette McAllister. Seconded by Jane Comiskey. Passed unanimously.

Alderman Preckwinkle was introduced and reviewed the history of the TIF formation and indicated her hope that the TIF Advisory Board would authorize the release of $150,000 to fund CleanSlate, a job training and neighborhood beautification program targeted at teh53rd street business district. She also summarized the current TIF cash position as approximately $2,000,000 based on $1,700,000 at the end of 2006 as reported at the end of the fiscal year in June 2006.

Chuck Thurow asked that the Alderman review the Advisory Board’s priorities. She obliged explaining that they are the same today as they were in 2001 when the TIF was established:
1. Fund structured parking for Hyde Park
2. Build an addition to the Miriam Canter Middle school
3. Support for Nichols Park and the Spruce Play lot

Chairman Males added that the CleanSlate program is an initiative t hat replaces a previously approve, but never implemented, program entitled Clean Street. He reminded the Board that consideration and approval of this proposal would not undermine or affect the TIF’s priorities.

At this pint, Alderman Preckwinkle introduced Fernando Leal, owner of the L3 development corporation to update t he audience on the progress of his project at 53rd and Cornell.

Mr. Leal noted that he project was approved in October ’06 and t hat air rights were also approved. Bids solicited in November from subcontractors came in surprisingly (35%) higher than he had received two years earlier, a reflection of the demand for subcontractor work throughout the city. Mr. Leal reported that he advised t he Alderman of the situation. He reported that the cost increase would slow, but not stop the project.

Mr. Leal pointed out that he current slowdown in the housing market is expected to improve the response time from subcontractors and that since L3 has no outside investors that they are beholden to, they are free to act in an open, transparent fashion and intend to secure, demolish or manage the building according to the best interest of the committee as communicated to the Alderman. Finally, he pointed out that he will have a better feel for the start date timing of the project, scheduled to complete within 24 months after breaking ground, in the next six months.

The Alderman asked that Mr. Leal return the July meeting for an update.

Considerable time was give to the discussion of air rights and the risk that the permits might expires before construction starts. The Alderman replied that she sees no risk that permits will expire at this time. Asked about the price of the project, Mr. Leal responded that total costs are expected to be $7,000,000. The height of the building is planned to be 17 stories. In response to concerns about traffic disruption and noise associated with the demolition of the building, Mr. Leal responded that L3 will comply with the city statute requiring a meeting with neighbors 10 days in advance of commencement of demolition to address concerns.

At 751 pm, Mr. Leal concluded his remarks.

Chairman Males then asked the Alderman to submit her request that the TIF Advisory Board approve funding for the first year of CleanSlate. She did and advised that the intent of the City is that the TIF fund the first year of the program with successively smaller commitments coming from alternate sources to provide for ongoing support.

Discussion ensued and it was learned that CleanSlate interns are charged with speaking with 100 people per day as ambassadors for the business district as they pick up trash and clean the area. They are required to maintain “contact card[s]” to document their interaction with the community.

There will be 8 interns (employees) working 5 days per week cleaning up Hyde Park wherever the community needs them. This group promotes and participates in recycling, hiring locally where possible and are supervised by Cara, the parent organization through the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.

Tony Wilkins moved and Rod Sawyer seconded a motion to approve funding which, by show of hands, passed unanimously. Chairman Males delivered Virginia Vaske’s vote by proxy.

Chairman Males then asked for a vote to adjourn. Same was made by Jo Reizner, seconded by Rod sawyer and approved unanimously and the meeting concluded at 8:05 pm. Meeting minutes submitted by Tony Wilkins.

Cleanslate program given OK

Hyde Park Herald January 31, 2007. By Nykeya Woods

A Tax Increment Financing (DTIF) Advisory Council approved $150,000 to use for a neighborhood cleaning crew along 53rd street at its Jan. 8 meeting.

Cleanslate, a neighborhood beautification program, will be funded for one year beginning in March through early 2008. The city's department of Planning and the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development will facilitate the fund transfer. The TIF Council is using part of its nearly $1.7 million reserves to pay for the program. "The city has agreed that we could use TIF resources to fund the first year. In subsequent years, the DTIF subsidy would be reduced." said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) at the meeting.

Preckwinkle also introduced the Transportation Enhancement District (TED), formerly the Parking Improvement district (PID), which will help to fund the Cleanslate after the first year.

This is the second time that the neighborhood has invested in a clean up crew. When the TIF District was put together, one of its first initiatives was a different clean program. The program, Clean streets, was funded by neighborhood business, but the program eventually fizzled out. "It proved progressively harder to get the business community to support this on a voluntary basis," Preckwinkle said. "And then we tried to get a clean streets program approval from the city Department of Planning."

Cleanslate employees will clean sidewalks, curbs and parks, empty garbage cans and promote recycling in the 53rd street TIF District. All employees are required to communicate with a minimum of 100 people per day.


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Reports/summaries of the November 13, 2006 meeting including decision on Harper Theater

Minutes of the September meeting were approved. Announcements included The Co-op Annual Meeting on the 19th, Hyde Park Art Center "Fun Day" on the 19th, a seminar on condo issues sponsored by HPKCC on the 20th and a book signing for Rick Kogan in December at What the Traveler Saw.

Bank of America modifications. The bank, soon to open at 1439 E. 53rd Street, will have reduced, front lit (gooseneck) only signage, will be very user friendly and compliant and have see-through windows that will shed some light on the sidewalk at night. The Bank (which supports the National Trust) is very aware that it is using a historic structure. The bank is seeking to work with the landlord to rehab the vacant upper stories as affordable rental housing and intends to be involved in the community (in response

Alderman Preckwinkle's report. She met with the Mayor's Commission on Workforce Development about Cleanslate cleaning plus. It appears that TIF funding will be allowed, but this has to be worked out.
53rd and Cornell: The planned development application was filed and demolition permits obtained. She expects to resolve the affordable housing component in January and for construction to start in spring (demolition).

The 4th Ward Holiday party will be held December 11 at King High. Please bring a canned good and or wrapped gift for kids.
Harold Washington boat basin has a quality pool sealer now. The work will be finished and the Ferrari sculpture installed and dedicated in the spring.
Harper Court is being appraised by the Department of Planning and Development. The RFP as approved will define the project; no zoning change will be needed. The RFP will be vetted in the TIF before it goes to developers.

Neighborhood and Business Environment Committee report. Jane Comiskey. A community walk along 53rd St. was held October 3. The many participating individuals and organizations were thanked by Jane, the TIF and the Alderman. Next step is to do some things one-on-one that do not require money, with businesses and the city. Report copies will be sent to organizations.

Report on the November 13 TIF meeting-- decision on Harper Theatre. By Gary Ossewaarde

The "winner" was announced at the November 13 TIF meeting. Hank Webber, UC Vice President for Community and Government Affairs, and selected Brinshore Developers and Baum Brothers LLC will be recommended to the University Board of Trustees. Design and permits will take about 6 months, after which the theater section will be demolished and the site redeveloped. Webber will return to report on progress in March or May and the final plan will be presented at a summer TIF meeting before going out to bid. Webber also said they will help existing tenants to find new space--Hyde Park Barber Shop as historically and culturally significant is owed a special obligation, Webber said, and is already enthusiastic about new space identified by the University. At request of TIF Chair Howard Males, the developer will work with the TIF Planning and Development Committee before presenting a final plan in the summer. (The committee's meetings are open and chaired by Chuck Thurow.)

The retail "Herald" building along 53rd will be retained and upgraded for a (ground floor 15,000 square feet) mix of local and national higher end fashion and apparel retailers. The line and style of the restored Herald building will be extended along Harper the length of the to-be-demolished theater, the line interrupted and book ended by towers that will recreate many of the features and brickwork and trim of the theater. The retail will be deepened through the former theater, and the north end will likely have one or more upscale restaurants. The second (and possibly a third story) will be office and possibly some creative-use space. In no case will the height exceed that of the old theater.

The 15,000 square feet limit the kinds of retail that are possible (such as not furniture or Gap-sized stores). One Hyde Parker who has a fashion store in Bucktown has already signed on. The developer and University are confident this can work and spur redevelopment, even with no parking provided. (The development's parking requirement is met by the expected tax increment the development will bring to the TIF district, which is expected to use increment to back a garage.)

Rejected bids included a hotel (said by Webber to be dubious at that location and in conflict with plans for such a complex elsewhere), a health spa, artists' lofts, various mixed use and residential, and condos or rental housing, and the Music Box Theater bid despite strong community backing. (Webber said that bid would have required a subsidy from both the University and the TIF for an $8 million rehabilitation: given the University's mission is teaching-research-patient care, that the University wanted to realize a return and had set a priority for 53rd to start by filling in retail types we don't have and spur lagging retail values and venues, loss from the theater bid vs. the return from the Brinshore/Baum bid could not be ignored (even though the University was not receiving as much as it had hoped). And there were grave doubts about the success of a cinema.) Webber said that the selected project is "a big, positive step in the right direction- but other steps will have to be taken."

Each of the University's criteria were superbly met by the bidder, Webber said:

· High quality and experience of the developer (which has done extensive redevelopment in many parts of the city including all around Hyde Park, brokered one in four retail deals in the Loop, and rebirth of Bucktown Milwaukee Ave. retail.)

· Experience with historic preservation and adaptive reuse (which this firm specializes in and has won Driehaus awards) with preference for keeping the 53rd facade

· Proven ability and commitment to fund and complete the job in a short timeframe

· A plan and strategy that will result in a high quality redevelopment, upscale, and in accord with the University and community preferences and expectations for what's to be there. These priorities were: Fashion and apparel, and fine dining (although some want a 24 hour or a bistro)

· Historic preservation and adaptive reuse

· Destination shopping that would stimulate development and generate street traffic including at night

· Green and sustainable design (has LEEDs architect on staff)

· Minority and women business participation commitment and track record

· Ability to provide a return to the University

· Willingness to work with the community.

David Brinshore stressed the commitment to preservation and reuse, green, minority and women participation, and a mix of nationals and local retailers. Anchor will be Ms. Catwalk, owned by Hyde Parker Michon Stuttley, who asked why Hyde Parkers should have to drive to Bucktown to shop for her goods.

Questions:
· Liquor license--have talked with city, it is possible, although the development doesn’t depend on it.
· There would be 3-4 shops on the 53rd side.
· A new utility corridor will be created off Harper.
· The building north of the theater is not involved in the project.
· Space has been identified for the barbershop, which is owed special help beyond that pledged to all the current tenants.
· The University rejected hooking up with Harper Court development to get
something unique and appropriate to the theater/Herald building going quickly.

Several expressed thanks to the University and the developers for their responsible reuse of the building, historic and green considerations, listening to community input on scale, context, pedestrian friendliness and retail needs, and for engaging with the community.
There was an appeal to be very careful given the number of historic structures that have burned down during renovation in recent years.

Pamela Haley, leader of the group to preserve the theater as a Music Box cinema expressed disappointment and said the University did not pursue the bid in good faith or listen to the community. Webber said that there will be more opportunities and places for cinema, including the Music Box to come in, as is true of all the other possible uses proposed for the theater building.

A Conference version

Theater, 53rd classic storefronts morph into bold retail plan highlight busy TIF meeting November 13

In a bold risk, the University of Chicago announced at the November 13 2006 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Advisory Council meeting that it has turned on its head redevelopment of the Theater and former Herald buildings. While many assumed the 53rd side was doomed as developers would seek elbow room for a new development, or else focused on keeping the theater or at least its façade, it is the 53rd St. shops façade, not that of the theater, that will be preserved in adaptive reuse and extended into the heart of the former theater and down the Harper side of the site, with height and decorative element replication of the theater façade. The risk is that the upscale apparel, etc. stores may not be persuaded come or be supported by the community and destination shoppers.

Keeping the 53rd shop building was, however, a solution urged by many preservationists, persons concerned with keeping the scale and pedestrian-friendly character of 53rd Street, and those who want to jump start rehabilitation of 53rd Street and a lagging retail sector by seeking the kinds of stores that are missing from the community—hopefully bringing back fleeing and attracting new customers. All of these desires are in accord with what the Conference found in several community forums, including that on the Future of Hyde Park, in 2005, and which the Conference included in its comments to the university on the draft Request for Proposals for the complex.

The Conference—and about 2,000 Hyde Parkers who signed petitions—also asked the University to look harder at accommodating a theater reuse (movie and/or live). Hank Webber, University Vice President of Community and Government Affairs, told the November 13 audience at the Neighborhood Club that a theater use could not be found. The single theater bidder that remained, the Music Box, wanted about $8 million in subsidies from the University and the TIF, which the University could not afford in light of its core mission, an alternative proposal by highly experienced and sensitive reuse developers that in the University’s view was superior and satisfied broadest goals and more likely to succeed, and because a theater use would require immediate additional parking. (Actually, the accepted proposal’s sole contribution to parking will be its tax increment toward TIF-backed new parking years down the road.) Among bids not selected were a health spa, a conference hotel, artists’ lofts, residential, and mixed use.

Specifics of the proposal, presented by David Brinshore and David Baum of the selected development team, will involve an attempt to bring four or more destination apparel and other boutique shops (one of which was identified)—a mix of locally owned and chains, and on Harper and the rear likely an upscale restaurant on the ground level and office space and maybe conference space on the second and a possible third story. (A liquor license was called attainable.) Green and sustainable features will be incorporated. Webber called the proposal “a big, positive step in the right direction” toward creating a heart for Hyde Park retail—but that additional steps are highly necessary.

Most attending apparently agreed, as shown in mostly favorable comments and detailed questions. Several praised the opportunities for public input into the site’s future as a good example for others to follow—a good process leading to a good result, and the university’s willingness to heed voices of the community in most regards.

Webber will return regularly with updates and by early summer 2007 present plans to the TIF Planning and Development Committee for careful review, then a public TIF meeting before new construction starts, maybe in fall 2007.

In other business, Bank of America showed accommodations to public concerns about its signage and layout (friendlier to persons of all abilities) at its new branch at 1439 E. 53rd St. Jane Comiskey, co-chair of the Environment Committee reported on follow up to a walk through along 53rd Street. Alderman Preckwinkle reported and answered questions. She said the city is completing appraisal of Harper Court and prepare an RFP draft that will be brought before the TIF. It’s a planned development not needing zoning changes, she said.


Herald coverage, November 15 2006

Exit theater, enter fashion: U. of C., Baum Brothers plan to demolish theater, bring retail/office mix to 53rd Street. By Nikeya Woods

The Harper Theater building, 5238 S. Harper ave., will likely be demolished by the fall of 2007, the University of Chicago's Hank Webber told the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing Advisory Council Nov. 13.

Webber is recommending to the U. of C. Board of Trustees that Brinshore Developers and Baum Brothers LLC rehab the 1453-56 [sic] E. 53rd ST. building for retail and office uses and replace the 91-year-old theater with additional retail and office space. Current tenants on the property are being asked to move* elsewhere. [*Webber said "helped."]

Representatives of Brinshore and Baum said they want to transform Hyde Park into a retail destination and increase foot traffic along 53d Street. Their plan is to invite high-end fashion retailers and possibly an upscale restaurant to the site.

"The vision that we presented the last few years is that this area is the heart of Hyde Park retail an entertainment activity," said webber, the university's vice president of Community and Government Affairs. "This is a big, positive step in the right direction."

Developer David Brinshore said four to five retailers will fill a combined 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor. The second floor is set aside for office space. Brinshore proposed adding a third floor to the new building on the theater's site. Baum Brothers LLC, which specializes in retail and historic preservation, works with national clients like Starbucks, Urban Outfitters and Jimmy Johns. They have worked with local boutiques like Ms. Catwalk [in Bucktown], owned by Hyde Parker Michon Stuttley. the firm wants to bring a combination of local businesses and national chains to the project and prides itself on partnering with minority and women-owned businesses.

"I firmly be live that this can work here," said David L. Baum, Baum Brothers LLC founder. "The area is underrepresented by these types of tenants and there is an unmet demand." Types of restaurants have yet to be determined. developers have heard that residents are looking for something that could be open open 24 hour a day or a bistro. "We're looking for restaurants that are a little bit more upscale than what is existing now," said Baum. He said obtaining a liquor license is no out of the question.

The university purchased the theater building and its attachments, 5240 S. Harper Ave. and 1453-77 E. 53rd St., for $2.275 million in 2002. Since, Webber contacted 40 live-action and movie theaters, to no avail. He said the economics, building size and lack of parking were reasons why a theater could not reopen there.

In the spring the university received one last proposal from the Music Box Theatre looking to restore both the theater and adjacent building that several residents had expressed enthusiasm about.

Other proposals included a hotel, health club, retail/condo mixed use, rental apartment and artists' lofts. Webber said he will return to the TIF council in six months with an update of the project.

"This is an example that a good process gets good result," said Jack Spicer, a Hyde Park resident."

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At the September 11 2006 Advisory Council meeting.

July 10 2006 meeting report by Gary Ossewaarde has its own page.


Reports on the May 8 TIF meeting


Minutes of the May 8, 2006 meeting

Members Present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Rod Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske

Members absent: Andre Brumfield, Alex du Buclet, Lou Conforti, Steve Soble

Approval of Minutes: Moved, seconded, passed to approve the minutes of March 13, 2006 as submitted.

Howard Males reminded those present to be respectful of all presenter/speakers. Each speaker would b given ten minutes, followed by ten minutes for questions.

Hank Webber Update on 53rd Harper and Harper Property: Hank summarized the process to date, noting that in February about 80 groups were sent the RFP. The University received 7 proposals (all of which met the basic guidelines) and a letter of inquiry. In a week or two the Board of Trustees will narrow the field to one or two finalists. Hank will return to the TIF in July with the finalist proposal(s).

Harper Court Property:
Alderman Preckwinkle explained that during the past two months the Harper Court Arts Court Arts Council has been working on suggestion from the Attorney General regarding some changes in form and function. As a result, the draft Request for Proposal, scheduled to be presented at this meeting, will be presented a the July TIF Council meeting.

Mary Anton represented the HCAC and reiterated that the Council is working with the Attorney general t improve the Council so it becomes a better organization, not because of compliance issues. The Council, she stated, in full compliance. She presented priorities of a work plan that include:

The Council is still interested in getting comments and is willing to set up small group or individual meeting to discuss the property. info@harpercourt.com.

Questions from the community were entertained for about ten minutes.

George Rumsey, Hyde Park/Kenwood Community Conference , presented ideas contained in several handouts from the Conference about the Harper Court property. In general, they called for an open process for the property's development that considered several ares:

Affordable Housing Presentation: Nancy Rosenbocker, Interfaith Open Communities, Hyde Park Cluster:

Ms. Rosenbocker's major point was the desire of the organization to stem the tide of gentrification in Hyde Park so that economic diversity will continue to be a reality. She noted the opportunities for a 15% set aside within the developments proposed for future Hyde Park projects and the urgency to ensure the availability of low cost rental units in Hyde Park.

Adjourned: Moved, seconded, passed to adjourn the meting at 8:35 p.m.

July meeting: The next TIF Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 20, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully submitted,

Ginny Vaske, Secretary

May 8 2006 meeting (by Gary Ossewaarde)

Hank Webber reported and answered questions on the Harper Theater RFP.

7 proposals plus a letter of inquiry from a theater operator have been received. None indicated control of the building to the north, so it is likely only the Herald and Theater will be involved. Some wanted to preserve the 53rd facade, some the Theater facade, none both and some neither. They are all (except the theater letter) call for mixed development, retail or other active uses on the ground floor--even including a hotel. Muster included passing a few hoops such as no subsidy wanted. The process is one of iteration-"a proposes to do x, can you do that?" kinds of discussion. He noted that the limit is 50 feet (4-5 stories) without zoning change.

Hank said he expected that after 4-8 weeks the applicants will have been winnowed down and he can come to the July meeting with a "lead contender" to show the community. Asked about waiting for Harper Court to settle down or combining rfps, Hank said it is better to be able to show that something is moving forward on 53rd Street and to have a project that can move ahead quickly.

Harper Court- Mary Anton for Harper Court Arts Council, George Rumsey for Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference

Alderman Preckwinkle noted that the Arts Council is required to make changes in its form and function by the Attorney General 's office. The city is handling preparation of the RFP and the city lot is included. Due to these and other factors beyond the Arts Council's control, a draft RFP will not be ready until the July 10 meeting.

Mary Anton reported for Harper Court Arts Council. HCAC has been busy looking at the RFP process and considering changes to make the Council better. They are in full compliance with the AG although changes have been suggested. They learned much from the Donors' Forum. HCAC also will be talking with tenants, particularly those who want to buy, and working on improving management of the Court--and promoting it. It remains their intent to sell Harper Court. They have received very few responses to their request for input into the RFP and future of the court.

Asked by Ms. Des Jardins whether HCAC believes it represents and speaks for the community, Anton replied it represents the Court, but would rather not say it represents the community. She also saw no consensus on the future of Harper Court, 53rd Street, and retail. Asked about relationship with banks, Anton said there is a long-standing loan from a local bank, but the assets would be managed by an institution that offered the best real estate financing services, which the local banks don't.

Anton said the court is willing to meet with small groups of residents or representatives from organizations. There will be a city planning consultant for Harper Court. Later she said a deliberate choice was made to stay away from the HPKCC forums.

Some in the audience said the whole process should be started over.

George Rumsey reported for Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, particularly any consensus or arresting ideas from its public discussions and work groups on Harper Court. He distributed a special edition of the Conference Reporter, with summary and key points, reports on the March 28, April 11, and April 25 meetings, results of questionnaire taken at the April 25 meeting, excerpts from the 2000 Vision for Hyde Park Retail District, and from the Theater RFP. He also distributed"board member contributions" by Gary Ossewaarde and by M.L. Rantala and George Davis. (See HPKCC and Harper Court and Harper Court Ideas and RFP Principles for most of these.)

Rumsey said the discussions organized chiefly by the Conference formed a complementary, not parallel process that gave the community ways to speak to the Arts Council. The meeting showed that the community certainly does care. He described the circumstances and tenure of the three meetings.

The three questions April 25--What should Harper Court do for the neighborhood?, what should an improved Harper Court look like?, and how can the process ensure that both the neighborhood and the mission of the Arts Council will be benefited?--showed a diversity of opinions and great ideas, but also several constants. This was especially evident in the evaluations.

  • The original mission is still needed, helping small businesses and artisans,
  • Current tenants should be helped especially during construction,
  • Development must be appropriate to the neighborhood, appeal to a broad spectrum, be exciting and vibrant, with a gateway feature a plus, and connecting to 53rd
  • Scale must be low and consistent with 53rd Street,
  • Adequate parking must be provided,
  • Public space must be provided, with chess and farmers' market a must.
  • Finally, the process must be open and transparent.

Rumsey said the HPKCC board wanted to see the RFP draft before deciding what it wants to see in the court, but voted 12-1 that the original mission to help small business must in some degree be continued.

TIF Chair Howard Males asked how the TIF could help. Rumsey replied, input, and added that he would like further discussion of ways to work together. Males noted that Chuck Thurow, chair of TIF Planning and Development, was taking RFP suggestions, as well as the Court at info@harpercourt.com. A Harper Court delegation and a HPKCC committee are to meet.

Cal Audrain said an obstacle is getting beyond an old, hunker-down attitude of Harper Court.

Ms. Raceme of HCAC board said Harper Court has been visiting the tenants.

Tom Wake, veterinarian tenant of HC, thanked Mary Anton for coming.

Linda Thisted of Interfaith Open Communities spoke on the April 29 Affordable Housing Forum.

Thisted said economic diversity in our community is going away. It is helpful to consider separately issues facing owners and renters. For owners, if you don't make $40,000 for a family of 4 you can't buy the "affordable" 2 bedroom for the $155,000 that costs--and there haven't been any here that cost that little in quite a while.

She noted properties in the TIF district that are planned or ripe for redevelopment, that could have at least some affordable. She said that her preference is to have affordable owned units onsite so rental property isn't sacrificed to accommodate offsite affordable buyers. She is aware that affordable units pump up both prices and height/density.

As for rental, the 20-year timeframe for project-based Section 8 is fast running out, putting a squeeze on both renters and landlords. Rental median in HP is $900 a month--far over the recommended 30% spent on housing for most.

Rod Sawyer reiterated trade-off effects of trying to include affordable in a tight, high priced market like Hyde Park and noted that nothing is being built for families or SRO folks.

Thisted said a major goal is to buy a building for senior assisted living for seniors in Hyde Park.

 

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March 2006 meeting.
(There is a Herald report, presented in the Harper Court Sale page, with additional details.)
The March meeting was primarily report by and public questions/comments on Harper Court Foundation and Harper Court Arts Council plans to sell Harper Court and use the proceeds to fund arts in the neighborhood, including an RFP principles document to be developed with the city. The parking committee reported 3 pay and display machines will replace meters in the City Lot 44 at Lake Park and the committee is investigating and education and survey program and a parking improvement district. Ald. Preckwinkle announced funding for improvement of Lake Park Ave. 47th to 55th and the viaducts at 53rd and 55th.

From the Official Minutes of the March 13, 2006 meeting

Members present: Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Trushar Patel, Charles Newsome, Rod Sawyer, Ginny Vaske. Members absent: Andre Brumfield, Alex du Buclet, Jane Comiskey, Lou Conforti, Jo Reizner, Steve Soble, Chuck Thurow.

Minutes- approved with corrections.

Hyde Park Art Center: Celebrations for the opening of the new Hyde Park Art Center are scheduled for Sat., Apr. 22 (Opening Gala) and a 36 hour "Creative Move" from 9 a.m. on Sat, Apr. 29 through 9 p.m. Sun. April 30th. (Postcard/flyer on file)

TIF Parking Committee: Irene Sherr gave an update on the TIF Parking Committee which has been working with the City Dept. of Revenue to improve the public lot on Lake Park. The City will pay for and install three pay an display machines in the lot. (A subsequent email has identified April 3rd as the installation date.) The committee will present a detailed proposal of its recommendations for a "Parking Improve[ment] District for 53rd Street" at the May TIF Council meeting.

Alderman Preckwinkle: The Alderman announced funding for the 53rd/55th St. Metra embankment and viaduct to begin this summer. She thanked Harper Court representatives for their willingness to discuss plans and solicit input for the center and asked those present to respectfully ask their questions.

Harper Court: Ken Grant introduced other Board members in attendance and read a statement apologizing for its past non-transparent process, pledging a public process via t he TIF Council meetings, and asking for comments and suggestions from the community for the RFP process for Harper Court.

TIF Council members had no questions, so th e Chair gave the community an opportunity to ask questions until 8:30 p.m.

The community asked numerous questions about the difference between the Harper Court Foundation Board and the Harper Court Arts Council Board, reasons for wanting to sell the Harper Court property, and its willingness for community representation/input in the planning process.

Mr. Grant noted that the Harper Court Arts [Council] is working with the Attorney General's office to ensure that all legalities are in place for the Arts [Council] and with the City's Department of Planning to prepare a Request for Proposal. The goal is to use a process similar to that used by Hank Webber for t he Theater building wherein community preferences were solicited and incorporated into the RFP with frequent progress reports via representatives at the TIF Council meetings. Mr. Grant asked those present to email suggestions/comments to the Harper Court Foundation.

Alderman Preckwinkle suggested that the Foundation [Arts Council] develop a draft of guiding principles for the RFP to be presented at the May TIF meeting for public comments and suggestions.

Adjornment..8:30 p.m.

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January 2006 meeting. The University was not yet clear about what it wants at the Theater site, but presented on a RFP prospectus, now up in the Theater RFP page and on http://www.hydeparksecc.com. (If a problem contact Irene Sherr.) The Leal project was given clearance on its traffic and shadow studies; audience members from faith-based groups offered a compromise on affordable units onsite which was strongly ruled out by Ald. Preckwinkle. The alderman gave the annual report, reflected in a brochure called TIFormation.

Nov. 14 TIF Mtg. No deal on the Theater with a respected historic redeveloper and theater operator. Instead the University will put out requests for proposals and report later. The University will not do the design or development and will work to save the facade at least of the Herald Bldg., which is Orange.

The 53 Cornell project was given an OK voted, but may be refined for further vote in January. For now, it's 17 stories with the affordable units put to a building off site (not deter. or announced), fewer and larger units, entry to incr. pkg. is off Cornell and trash/delivery off 53rd. There was opposition from neighbors, mainly to the north.


Minutes of the September 12 2005 TIF Advisory Council Meeting

Present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Rod Sawyer, Steve Sobel, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske. Absent: Louis Conforti, Alex Du Buclet, Jo Reizner.

Remarks from the Chair: Howard announced that the TIF Council members currently serving two year terms...due to expire have all agreed to continue to serve. He expressed gratitude to Alderman Preckwinkle for an open process that allows the commercial and residential plans to move forward. He noted that we are, in fact, building, in contrast to those on the Gulf Coast who are faced with rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Approval of the minutes: Minutes were approved as amended.

Alderman Preckwinkle's Remarks: The Alderman thanked the TIF volunteers for t heir work and noted that the L3 presentation would be a bit different than the ones discussed at prior community forums.

Planning and Development Committee Report: Chuck Thurow presented a detailed report of his committee's meeting along with their recommendation. The recommendations are:

  1. If possible, add limestone at t he retail level to strengthen the design.
  2. Take care with the fenestration at the parking levels to reinforce the residential character o the building.
  3. Pending necessary traffic studies, position the retail and residential parking entrance and exit off Cornell to strengthen the pedestrian an retail character of 53rd Street.
  4. Increase the number of units to 165 in exchange for 12 units of affordable housing although it would be better to have a higher percentage of affordable units.
  5. Set the residential parking ratio at 1.2/unit with additional parking for retail and neighbor use.

Presentation and discussion of 53rd Street and Cornell development by Fernando Leal of L3 Development and Joe Antunovich, architect: Mr. Leal and Mr. Antunovich unveiled new drawings of the project and changes from the previous design. Among these is the change in parking entrance/exit to Cornell Avenue; an increase in the number of residential floors to 14 with 3 1/2 floors of parking for a total of 17 1/2 floors; 12 units of affordable housing at approximately $210,000. Mr. Leal stated he is still working with the Department of Housing to determine exactly what "affordable housing" would be. In progress are a traffic study and a height/shadow/paring/space study regarding the project's effect on Bloomsbury neighbors.

Council and audience members asked questions and made statements regarding the feasibility and desirability of the project. Numerous Bloomsbury residents expressed continuing concerns about the impact of this development on their quality of life. Mr. Leal will continue meeting with them.

Before the TIF Council voted on accepting this project, Alderman Preckwinkle asked for additional time to consider more fully the increased number of units and the modest number of affordable housing units in the new design. She asked for a special meeting in October after the PD committee had time to look at the parking and shadow studies. She tanked Mr. Leal and Mr. Antunovich for their work and for their sensitivity to community concerns. The TIF Council then voted to hold the requested special meeting in October, assuming the studies have been completed.

Parking Committee Report: Irene Sherr reported on the Parking Committee meeting in the absence of Chair, Jo Reizner. She noted t he committee's aim to improve existing parking in the city lot and neighborhood sites and the cooperation of the City Dept. of Revenue. A proposal will be brought to the council and ten to the Dept. of Revenue. Proposed improvements include a pay an display mechanism, fewer monthly rentals in the city lot, housekeeping and clean-up o the city lot, and a revised price structure for street parking. While a new parking lot is the ultimate goal, available TIF funds are currently under $1,000,000 which is not enough to fund such a project.

Streetscape Committee. Jane Comiskey reported on the 53rd to 55th Street Lake Park corridor, noting that there is no maintenance money for the trees on 53rd. She asked for additional volunteers for the committee which is working to make Hyde Park a more "walking community."

Audience Issues: Zoe Mikva, a Cater LSC member, will represents Canter interests at TIF meetings. Alderman Preckwinkle assured her that a building addition for Canter is one of the top priorities for the Hyde Park public purpose TIF. Additional revenue is the key, and new construction increase available funds.

Howard Males adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on Monday, November 7, 7:00 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Secretary

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Minutes of the September 21 Parking Committee meeting

Jo Reizner reported that I-Go is locating another car in Hyde Park with the expectation that more cars will lead to increased usage. She distributed some material on the I-go program, and indicated that she invited representatives of the group to attend one of our committee meetings.

Jo Reizner summarized the meeting that the committee held with Department of Revenue, and noted that the Department of Revenue has been very responsive and accommodating so far.

After discussion of the costs involved and potential benefits of the pay and display system, the Committee agreed to:

Shift attention to 53rd Street for installation of pay and display.
Educate merchants and general public regarding pay and display system.
Improve aesthetics of the city lot.
Develop a rate structure that reflects advantages of 53rd Street parking over use of the lot.
Reiterate recommendation of the elimination of monthly permit parkers in the city lot.
The Committee has requested specific information from the Department of Revenue regarding the current monthly parkers on several occasions and has not received a response. The committee is also waiting for information from Revenue regarding the current revenue and expenses for the city lot and 53rd Street area.

Irene Sherr reported that she completed a meter inventory for 53rd Street between Cornell and Woodlawn, including the meters on the intervening north/ south streets, and counted approximately 233 metered spaces. She noted that there are locations that currently do not have meters that could. She briefly reviewed the potential revenue that the meters could generate with an increase in rates.

In addition, the Committee will continue to pursue creation of a meter revenue sharing program with the Department of Revenue, similar to the program in San Diego.

Paul Andresen reported on his research and discussions with Dave Fridge of Valet Parking regarding initiation of valet parking for Harper Court. His conclusion was that it would be difficult to make it work financially and the financial burden of the program would be born by the merchants.

Greg Guttman noted that he had talked to Super Valet that runs the self park lot on Southport, and wondered if that model might work. Paul agreed to explore with Dave Fridge.

The next Committee meeting is scheduled for: Thursday, October 20th @ 4 PM at 5100 S. Dorchester Avenue. Jo Reizner will invite Brian Shaw, Director of Transportation and Parking for the University of Chicago.

Minutes prepared by Irene Sherr

_____________

At the July meeting, reported as very lively and with both the Council and community members taking an active voice in community matters, discussed 1) of L3's major development. Proposal for 53rd-Cornell (and other development concerns) 2) Parking Committee Report which was received with positive interest as giving hope.

The Planning and Development Committee met with F. Leal of L3 Development. The project at 53rd and Cornell will likely have its curb cuts moved to Cornell off 53rd and a couple of stories (to maximum 12) added for viability re parking space (ratio balanced to 1.2). Leal was cautioned not to make the small units (to be marketed to parents of UC students) too small. Some concern was expressed that those expected to come in are from the north side, where expectations may be different.

The Streetscape Committee heard reports on the Lake Park/Metra Viaducts project. A phase I (53rd and 55th under viaduct and Lake Park work) proposal was sent in August 2005 to IDOT Transportation Enhancement, which is 80% federally funded. Total cost of the phase I is $4 million. We should hear a response at end of year. The committee's concerns were fully presented before proposal finalized. Metra has committed $2 million; an intergovernmental agreement will be needed. Work is supposed to include Canadian National sections also. This project is supposed to include work on Lake Park, particularly the embankment and planting of the later 51st to 53rd, bus stop enhancement, and crosswalk rationalization and re striping, and redoing the signal lights. Work on the walls, murals, columns, ground surface (including streets) of the viaduct area would be quite comprehensive but probably not include the skylights and certainly no addressing of leak issues. Complaints were expressed about locations and style of the new Metra station signs all along the neighborhood. This had been brought to Metra, which was reported to be not very cooperative.

Members explored a something-for-now palliative, but decided that would be premature before hearing on the Proposal--and the project is moving up the priority list.

Members asked the consultant (Irene Sherr) to work with the planners to preserve the section (outside the TIF) of stone wall north of 59th St., also that the planners work with the Hyde Park Historical Society for the later-phase 55th to 56th work, especially the banks and walls.

There are requests to expand the hanging basket program to all of Harper Court and along Lake Park (?). Sherr suggested submitting this to the TIF Council.

Good news: Jerry Kleiner, developing the new restaurant in the north part of Harper Court tentatively called Harper Grill has provisionally committed to a major re landscaping in the vicinity of his restaurant.

The committee heard a report of the Parking Committees' thoughts on the 53rd Lake Park city lot, including repaving, striping, walks, fixing the fencing, wayfinding signage, et al. Members were receptive. Members were asked to join a walk through September 8 at 1 pm with the Dept. of Revenue. The City is expected to come up with a budget spread over 2-5 years.

Options for saving trees on 53rd were discussed with little encouraging found. The Department of Planning will not allow use of TIF money for such maintenance and operational needs. The company that maintains and waters the hanging baskets (funds raised independently in the community and from the University) says such tasks as tree watering are way beyond them. Members said property owners should be doing this, but it is the mandate of the committee to preserve and improve streetscape.

The consultant is exploring repainting the painted crosswalks on the entire TIF.

See the Parking Committee report in the Parking Page or Parking Recommendations in Transit.

May 9 2005 meeting minutes

Members present: Jane Comiskey, Alex du Buclet, Howard Males, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Steve Sobel, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske. Absent: Andrew Brumfield, Louis Comfort, Antoinette McAllister. Minutes were approved.

TIF Parking Committee: Howard Males, Chair, stated that the impending opening of the Checkerboard Lounge and yet-to-be-named Brooks/Kleiner restaurant is and opportunity for the TIF Council to be proactive about potential parking issues such as space and utilization. Howard reminded members that there is a TIF Parking Committee, previously chaired by Jo Reizner. He asked for volunteers for this committee that would look at parking creatively in an attempt to find solutions other than a new parking lot. Council members Rod Sawyer, Jane Comiskey, Alex du Buclet, and Ginny Vaske (depending on date/time of meetings) volunteered. Jo was approached by several community members to join as well. The committee will meet before the July TIF Council meeting and, hopefully, present a "game plan."

Alderman Preckwinkle Remarks: The Chair introduced Alderman Preckwinkle who thanked Jo Reizner and Council members for volunteering to work on parking solutions.

Neighborhood Safety Update: South East Chicago Commission Chair, Bob Mason, discussed safety concerns in the neighborhood in light of the citywide coverage of recent assaults and arrests of local school students. Overall, there has been a reduction of violent crime in the area in six of the past eight years in Hyde Park. For four of the last five years, Hyde Park ranked 7th safest of 25 police districts (one year HP ranked #5.)

Recently, since January 31, 2005, there were 39 case of teen violence--robbery, violence, and other misdemeanors--by those aged 13 to 19. These teens tended to travel in groups of 3 to 5, confronting someone on the street to commit battery and, sometimes, robbery. There were 33 arrests from January to April. Police patrols have been increased.

Since April 6, 2005 there were two incidents on April 19th and six more since that date. The majority of these incidents were teen on teen ones. Incidents of teens assaulting adults has halted. Of those arrested, ten were Kenwood students. Of these 10, 76% live outside the Hyde Park community. Mr. Mason noted that Kenwood has about 1800 students, and it is important to put the number of arrested students in perspective. He also noted that a Kenwood student received an award from SECC for performing 476 hours of voluntary community service.

The Chair thanked Bob Mason for his media accessibility and the U. of C. for responding to these incidents.

In response to questions and comments from the audience, those present were urged to call 911 and to call University Police (702-8181). If no police respond after the 911 call, Rudy Nimocks suggested to call back and ask for a supervisor. Bob Mason also pointed out that arrests, prosecutions, school assemblies, and Alderman Preckwinkle's office have all helped to reduce this wave of crime in our neighborhood. When asked whether discussion has occurred about having a "closed campus" at Kenwood, Bob Mason responded that Freshmen are already on a closed campus, but there is not enough lunch room space for the entire school to be on closed campus. Notice was given that an "invitation only" breakfast was being held on May 22 at 8:00 a.m. at Kenwood to continue the community discussion.

Adjournment: Chairman Males asked for a motion to adjourn. Said motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Secretary

The March meeting heard a presentation by Hank Webber, saying that the University is in its final push to find a theater for 53rd and Harper. If not, next is a retail and arts center, if not then demolition looms. L.C. Thurman and Jerry Kleiner and Hyde Parker Mark Brooks were also on hand to describe the Checkerboard, heading toward an opening as early as April, and the restaurant, to open in about 5 months.

January 2005 meeting minutes

Members Present: Andre Brumfield, Alex du Buclet, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Rod Sawyer, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske

Members Not Present: Jane Comiskey, Jo Reizner, Steve Sobel, Louis Conforti

Approval of Minutes: Minutes were approved as submitted (Hooray!)

TIF Council Terms for Officers: Howard Males, Chair, collected input from members regarding the term length for officers. Results will be announced at the March meeting.

Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)" presentation by Suzanna Vasquez, Program Director, New Communities Program of LISC: Ms. Vasquez gave a brief history of LISC's ten year commitment to 16 neighborhoods in Chicago, raising capital for grants and loans for development. The concentration for the past five years has been on comprehensive community development. To that end a MacArthur grant provided LISC with funds for personnel and grant money for neighborhoods devising a "Quality of Life Plan." Examples of grants include a U. of C./LISC beautification initiative; principal professional development for Quad Communities schools in July of 2004; and a market study by Metro Edge to help draw retail to the Quad Communities. Other local neighborhoods working on a Quality of Life Plan include Woodlawn, Washington Park, and St. Edmonds. Ms. Vasquez noted that partnerships are being fostered, including one between Quad Cities and the Abraham Lincoln Center to work on employment.

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle's TIF Annual Report: The Alderman thanked Irene Sherr for her work on the TIFormation brochure which was distributed to those present and pointed to page three of the brochure which cited projects reviewed and vetted by the TIF Council. approximately $800,000 has been generated by the TIF. The community is now awaiting the opening of the Checkerboard Lounge and a Jerry Kleiner restaurant in the former Women's Workout space in Harper Court.

When asked about the former 53rd St. McDonald's site, Alderman Preckwinkle noted that the site is owned by the Mobil gas station owner who is looking for a buyer for the entire parcel. She also explained that ours is a "public purpose TIF" with a parking garage as the first priority followed by a building addition for Canter Middle School. Bonds will be sold to make future TIF revenue readily available rather than gradually over the life of the TIF. In response to a question about the properties on 53rd Street between Cornell and the train tracks, Alderman Preckwinkle again reminded those present that while these properties may be an eyesore, it is not illegal to leave them unoccupied and undeveloped.

The Alderman thanked TIF Council members for their "good work" and the community for their involvement.

Metro Edge Study presented by Chinwe Onyeagoro, Project Consultant to Quad Cities Development Corporation: Ms. Onyeagoro presented results of a Metro Edge study for the Cottage Grove Trade Area that found the area above city averages in buying power, growth potential, and retail opportunity. Also noted were the new residents, the number of home purchases, and a decrease in violent crime. Next steps are to present these findings to city staff, neighborhood planning groups, existing businesses, and local stakeholders; to engage Skidmore in developing a master plan; to establish a 43rd & Cottage TIF; to develop a marketing plan for the Quad community; and to begin meetings with brokers, developers and retailers.

Adjournment: After answering questions from TIF Council members and meeting participants, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske

January Meeting extracts:

TIF study urges more business- our money going elsewhere! Growth means new retail opportunity for the Cottage Grove Trade Area. Expanded Herald coverage on above subject

January 19, 2005. By Nykeya Woods.

A recent study by the Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) found that residents in Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Oakland and Kenwood spend up to $693.5 million outside the neighborhood.

The study released to the public at the Jan. 10 53rd Street Tax Increment (TIF) District advisory council meeting at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club cited a lack of retailers in the area as one reason residents are taking their disposable income elsewhere.

The study also concluded that new construction in these same neighborhoods had increased by 74 percent from 2000 to 2003. Which Chinwe Onyeagoro, project consultant to the QCDC sees as an opportunity to spur business growth locally. Included in the study is the expectation of more than 10,00 new residents in these neighborhoods in the next five years.

"There is a very nice, uncomplicated story about why this area, the Cottage grove trade area, is a great opportunity," Onyeagoro said. "There are things happening in this neighborhood that make it a real quality opportunity for retailers."

The Cottage Grove Corridor, which will be an anchor as a business strip for retailers, is defined as the boundaries along 37th to 51st Streets, between Lake Shore Drive and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Also included in the study was another test area that included several 10 minute driving times from the Cottage Grove Corridor, which falls within the 43rd Street/Cottage Grove TIF district--23rd Street to the north; Marquette Road to the south; Halsted Street to the west; and Lake Michigan to the east.

Advisory President Howard Males said it was important that the Hyde Park businesses know what initiatives surrounding communities were planning to implement. "The rationale from our point of view today for having our guests here has to do with the way the city is coming together with a recognition of a Mid-South district," Males said.

Susana Vasquez, program director for the New Communities Program of the Local Initiative Support (LISC) agreed. "They [Quad Communities] thought this entity [53rd Street TIF] is realizing that some of the organizations and grouping of folks in the Hyde Park Neighborhood are things that we would like to see happen in Quad Communities," Vasquez said. LISC, a group established to rejuvenate decaying communities in 16 Chicago neighborhoods, was the other guest speaker at the TIF meeting.

The study also concluded that these neighborhoods spend more than $35 million in than Chicago's average neighbor hoed. Although the average income is $30, 000, these neighborhoods can generate $191 million per square mile for retailers. Of 77 communities, neighborhoods within the Cottage Grove Corridor were ranked 18th collectively. In comparison, Hyde Park was 8th, Kenwood was 10th, Douglas 20th, Grand Boulevard 25th and Oakland 50th.

"One of the early action items that the Quad Communities Development Corporation took on was really trying to quantify what the opportunities [are] for retailers," Onyeagoro said. She said residents may understand the resources that they have at their fingertips being "sandwiched between Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago," but retailers need numbers that can prove that a store will survive. The study predicts that within the next ten years, middle-income families surrounding the Cottage Grove Corridor will spend over $850 million. The area could support over 700,000-square-feet of business that include apparel stores, eateries, hardware stores.

Preckwinkle blames city for 53rd Street TIF delays

Hyde Park Herald, January 19, 2005. By Kiratiana E. Freelon

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) announced at the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) advisory council meeting last week that plans to bundle the funding of a Hyde Park parking lot and Canter Middle School addition might have to be nixed due to the reluctance of the city's Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Denise Casalino to greenlight the parking lot project.

According to Preckwinkle, Alicia Berg, the former commissioner of the planning department, promised that the city would own and operate the parking lot. Since that promise, however, the latest commissioner, Denise Casalino, is reluctant to agree to the project.

"I'm not sure the present one will honor the parking garage," Preckwinkle said. Calls for comment from the city went unreturned.

The current fate of the parking lot will also affect Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. When the TIF began Preckwinkle wanted to combine the bond financing for the two projects. But without the support of the city, that may not be possible. "We're going to have to clearly uncouple them," Preckwinkle said.

The next step is to determine what the city's final position is on the garage, Preckwinkle said. Then she will proceed with planning for the garage with or without the support of the city. When Preckwinkle formed the TIF, its main goal was to accumulate funds for a parking lot and later, a Canter middle school addition.

"In a year it will be clear how to fund the garage and then we can figure out what to do with the school," she said.

Marilyn Krogh, chair of the local school council at Canter, was still optimistic that the school would get an addition. "The Canter expansion is a long-term process. We'd like to see it within five years," Krogh said.

 

September 13, 2004 meeting

Members present: Andre Brumfield, Jane Comiskey, Alex du Buclet (new), Howard Males (Chair), Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Jo Reizner, Rod Sawyer, steve Soble, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske.

The previous meeting's minutes were approved with corrected location for McDonald's.

Chair remarks: Howard Males introduced Mr. Alex du Buclet, newly appointed member of the TIF Council, and asked him to join one of the two committees: Planning and Development or Streetscape.

According to current by-laws, TIF Officer terms are for one year. Howard moved to form a smaller committee to make recommendations as to whether these terms should be extended. Approved.

Officer nominations and votes resulted in the following:

Walk to School: Jane Comiskey spoke about the October 6, 2004 Walk to School Day that encourages parents to walk their children to school. This is an international event that promotes health and community safety issues. A checklist is available to identify "walkability" issues in the community. Flyers will be distributed in the neighborhood.

Update on 53d and Blackstone Property: Father Mike Burke.

Father Burke of the Priests of st he Sacred Heart, headquartered in Wisconsin, gave background information on the location of all "formation" programs (men studying to join the order) to the above location in Chicago. The former Art Werks store is being remodeled to accommodate current needs of a chapel, kitchen, and apartments as well as building renovations including window changes, heating system, roof work, plumbing, heating, etc.

Council members expressed concern about possibly making the reception area larger and more inviting to increase "eyes on the street." Father Burke agreed with this concern and would work with the architects to see what can be done.

Antheus Capital, Eli Ungar: Mr. Hunger, and his company, Antheus Capital, are located at 4729 S. Ellis. They have invested in several rental properties in Hyde Park, including 55th and Cornell. The company's interest in Hyde Park is to invest in these properties, make improvements, and help them increase in value over time. They plan to hold on to the properties for 10 to 15 years. Howard suggested that the company look at prior work in Hyde Park to give them ideas regarding signage, walkability issues, etc. Mr. Hunger assured the audience that their goal was to to let more interesting details become more noticeable.

Third World Cafe, Sarah Locke and Forrest Moore. Sarah LOcke represented this new business venture opening up at 53rd and Kimbark in the former Jacob Brothers Bagels Store. The cafe will specialize in gourmet coffees, bagels, salads, and desserts and feature free wireless aces. Owners are currently hiring staff and hope to open in mid-October. Store hours will be 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

Alderman Preckwinkle: the Alderman reminded attendees of several community activities taking place....Alderman Preckwinkle also shared the need to find a new location for her Fourth Ward office....

Other Information. Jo Reizner gave a quick update on the Checkerboard Lounge....

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From the May and July, 2004 meetings

The July 12 meeting heard a report from the new operator of the McDonald's on Lake Park, which is nearing completion. The operation will have over a hundred employees and take major safety and security precautions. Ald. Preckwinkle's pleasure with the operator's performance at 47th and Cottage grove was conveyed. Hyde Park Bank announced major upgrades and restorations to the exterior including storefronts will begin as the lobby work is completed.

Bank upgrades include north end upper arches upward illumination, new planters and garbage cans, brick sidewalk, reattachment of exterior limestone, new front doors and glass canopy, flags according to the historic look, new digital clock, cleaning of the great frieze.

McDonald's operator Yolanda Travis, a Hyde Parker, reported that there will be a drive-thru window, have understated signage and neo-classic design, and 100 employees. Hours will be til midnight most days, with 24 hour security.

At the May 2004 TIF meeting, the University announced signing leases with Checkerboard Lounge and the Kleiner cluster of American cuisine theme restaurants. These met with favorable reaction. (More in Checkerboard and Advisory Council.) An assessment was received of the use and room for growth of Hyde Park cultural institutions (see Development Policy page) and reports were given from the Development and Streetscape committees (see Lake Park...).

On May 10, 2004, six months to the day after UC Vice President announced to a full hall last November that a letter of intent was signed to move and install the CheckerBoard Lounge from 43rd to Harper Court, Webber appeared with CheckerBoard owner L.C. Thurman to announce inking of a final lease for the former legendary blues club to move into the space formerly occupied by Women's Workout World. The 40 or so at the 53rd TIF Advisory Council meeting heartily applauded. No one attended from the Bronzeville opposition group Friends of the Checkerboard Lounge.

Thurman said, "I'm not an eloquent fellow, but I just wanted to say I look forward to being part of this community." Buildout and occupation schedule were unavailable but reported as "soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Jerry Kleiner, owner and operator of theme restaurants Marche, Vivo, Cioco, Opera, Saiki... has teamed up with (former?) Hyde Parker and present U.S. Cellular outlet owner Mark Brooks to bring a theme restaurant to the former Hyde Park Pet part of the same Harper Court building whose term lease was bought by the University at a steep price from the Hyde Park (Markets) Cooperative Society. The pair promises reasonably-priced mainstream American cuisine. The two venues are are expected to contribute to a growing Hyde Park nightlife district.

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February 24 and April 14 Streetscape Committee: Report on status of Lake Park and viaduct planning. 2004

Note: this presentation was repeated in shorter form at the March 8 TIF Adv. Co. meeting, along with an update on CVS pharmacy.

The Committee met under its new Chairman, Andre Brumfield, to hear a detailed update from Janet Atarian of CDOT. (A copy of the book of drawings and sketches by DLK Architects is at the HPKCC office.) The project is conceived in 6 phases, each with some work in each of wards 4 and 5 and stretching from 47th to 60th. Only the first has some funding. The first emphasis will be on the Metra viaducts. Central is a series of trusses in the sidewalk vaults that will support lighting, railings, artwork, improved surfaces, drainage and more. (Apart from the meeting, cautions were voiced about the feasibility and cost of the support design.) Questions were raised that some of the plan's furnishings (especially light posts and viaduct interiors) would give a "faux history" impression and be no cheaper or nicer than standard modern furnishings, about the future of various viaduct murals and limestone or concrete raised-tracks retaining walls and about "surprise" removal of the wall south of 47th Street. The designers were praised for their careful work. For information on preservation and elimination of murals under the viaducts, see History and Preservation, bulletins. We hope to soon put up drawings of ideas for the streetscape project to date. More.

April 14. The Streetscape Committee reconvened to review city recommendations. Several arguments were made against the frame-beaming proposals for inside the viaducts, and the committee decided it would explore alternatives such as barrel-shaped reflective light mountings on the street sides of the pedways, above the arches. The committee will also explore preservation of parts of the limestone embankment retaining walls. Jon Pounds of the Chicago Public Art Group shared his extensive expertise, as did several committee members. Pounds said he would explore funding for and restoration of the Fish Market and Alewives mural on the south wall at 55th St. This was not in the original restoration recommendations. He said those on 57th are the most critical and reported on costs and the general availability of artists to restore their works.

From the minutes by chair Andre Brumfield.
Issues raised by the chair:

  1. Steel columns that span vertically from ceiling to ground on both sides of the walkway are inappropriate. From an aesthetic standpoint they interfere with the existing columns. Must maintain integrity of the columns.
  2. If this option is deemed to be appropriate, only the steel beams on the ceiling should be used.
  3. New alternative presented by CDOT at previous Streetscape Committee meeting (heavy ornamentation on steel structure) was simply too fussy.
  4. CDOT has not shown how they intend to deal with the skylights.

Other issues raised by Committee

  1. Ceiling Treatment: CDOT must develop a strategy that addresses how the ceiling will be dealt with. Will the ceiling be painted? Will CDOT use some sort of paneling system?
  2. Structural issues related to the wall and ceiling. How will CDOT remedy the current "crumbling" conditions of the walls and ceiling? There is a fair amount of leakage in both the walls and the ceiling. There is also concern that if the steel columns and beams are implemented that they will rust, which could quickly develop into a maintenance issue.
  3. Issues concerning the use of steel beam and column: Potential rusting. Steel beams at ceiling do not seem to go all the way to the ceiling (as seen in the CDOT illustrations). This gap could be a potential nesting place for pigeons. What are the maintenance issues with this kind of system?
  4. Lighting. Committee would like CDOT to explore more exciting and cost-effective ways to light the viaducts and the murals. A way to "up-light" the ceiling was also discussed.
  5. Murals. Joe Pounds, Executive Director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, was in attendance to address concerns regarding the murals. After reviewing CDOT's alternative for placing the murals on panels, Pounds felt this "gallery effect" would have a negative impact on the murals and the overall space. He states that his organization would like the City and CDOT to preserve as many murals as possible; however, he does acknowledge that not all of them can be saved.

There are two murals that Pounds and his organization [consider?] as having high cultural significance but are not on the list for preservation:

Pounds stated that he, when appropriate, would like to work with the Streetscape Committee, the alderman and CDOT to identify local artists to work on the walls once vacant areas are identified.

Committee also discussed the need to address graffiti on the murals and how it is removed. It was agreed that the "whitewash" solution is not the best alternative and that it must be stopped.

Limestone Walls. Jack Spicer presented photos of the existing limestone walls. He expressed his desire to preserve all of the limestone walls and wanted to look into bringing on a technical expert or consultant to examine the existing conditions of the walls to develop a strategy for their preservation.

Other related issues. Dan Bitterman and Leslie Morgan expressed concern about the excessive trash building up along various spots along the rail lines as well as the lot at 53rd Street.

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March 8 2004 TIF Advisory Council meeting summary

Members present: Jane Comiskey, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Joe Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Steve Soble, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske. Absent Brumfield, Nell Whitman.

General Business:
...Howard encouraged those present to sign up for Streetscape and Planning Committees...Interested community should contact Alderman Preckwinkle by April 30th.
In response to a question about support of the Lake Park redevelopment plan, Irene Sherr stated that a letter was sent to CDOT supporting the plan and funding allocations.
Howard announced the opening of the BP Amoco station on Lake Park.

CVS Presentation
Lee Winter and Carl Edwards shared the final plans for the CVS pharmacy. The amended design was in response to community concerns about the original plans. Changes addressed issue of signage, awnings, and windows. Questions were answered about the marquee, parking, windows, hours (8 AM to 10 PM) and liquor sales (no liquor). Alderman Preckwinkle and Howard thanked CVS for its flexibility and openness to community concerns. The permits are applied for, and we remain optimistic that they will be expeditiously issued.

Streetscape Update:
Dan Friedrich, Streetscape Committee member, reported on proposed CDOT plans for Lake Park. Dan commented on numerous aspects of the architectural renderings such as pillars, landscaping, limestone walls, murals, and "standard" features of light poles, benches, tree grates, etc. Viaduct reconstruction, a much-needed part of the plan, will be done in numerous phases. Phase on is viaduct reconstruction and embankment work on 53rd and 55th Streets. Phase two is work on medians, lights, etc. on Lake Park. Committee meeting attendee, Jack Spicer, shared his photographs of viaduct walls.

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January 12 2004 TIF Advisory Council meeting summary

The Alderman's Annual Report and the Meeting Minutes will be put up when available. The following is a broadened approximation of the subject of the Lake Park Corridor planning as reported on by Janet Attarian of the Chicago Department of Transportation.:

Plans for Lake Park Avenue Corridor slowly progress but are far from written in stone, according to Maria Castaneda of CDOT who reported to the January, 2004 TIF Advisory Council. Minor improvements are planned for intersections, crosswalks, bulb outs and curb cuts. Much of this will wait evaluation of impact of the new BP Connect and McDonald's drive-through. The railroad embankment wall has been torn down 50th to 47th and the area awaits grading and landscaping this spring. More such work is planned in phases. Viaduct rehabilitation (the walls and columns, not the bridges) is envisioned also. Metra has committed $2 million, available in 2005 an 2006; request has been submitted (through Ald. Preckwinkle's Office?) for $2.9 from the city (CDOT-Mitigation?)

CVS Pharmacy also reported on modifications to meet concerns of the Alderman, Advisory Council, and public.

November 10 200advisory council meeting

Note: The board of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference did not object re: the Checkerboard Lounge when the president said he concluded that the University's position is reasonable and forward looking. A letter so stating and thanking Mr. Webber for his presentation to the community on this and the Theater was sent by President Rumsey. Representatives of Friends of the Checkerboard will present at the February board meeting. See for more information and viewpoints in the Checkerboard Lounge page.

The University presented on November 10 its guidelines and options for the Theater and Herald buildings and the former Women's Workout World space in Harper Court. Basically, they are close to securing the Checkerboard lounge and are negotiating with and upscale "American" restaurant for the later. For the Herald-Theater, UC is negotiating with a major theater group to create an art film with retail use; if that fails - and it may well according to Hank Webber, U of C vice president, the University will likely seek to demolish the structure and build a mixed retail-residential-possibly with-office and some community space structure and with perhaps underground parking and would consider preserving or replicating the facade but keep the structure to current scale. (Webber noted the theater is on the significant structures Orange list, largely for historical, not architectural reasons and the Herald building--of more concern to many Hyde Parkers and 53rd St. advocates--is not on the list at all.)

Redevelopment cost is in the $9 million range. Mr. Webber was challenged on several issues from parking to building nighttime sidewalk traffic, but seems to have fielded them well, stressing the need for several venues that reinforce each other. He said that parking is the real key, and developing properties so that with Borders we have enough tax increment to cover a debt issue is key to getting the parking garage. Accused of cultural imperialism over the Checkerboard, Webber said Mr. Thurman, a Hyde Parker, came to the University exercising his right of choice to move his business less than a mile south to where his customers are. (He did not add that Hyde Park may be different but is and needs to be part of the South Side.)

On November 10 also, CVS pharmacy unveiled preliminary plans for a store in Kimbark Plaza where Anderson Hardware and Tony's Sports is. 2000 additional sq. feet will be taken from the back. Many concerns from residents were addressed and the company reps seemed eager to listen and participate in the community.

The Council is still working on final bylaws and will consider at the January meeting such issues as whether members should have unlimited terms. At the January meeting, the Council will address its district agenda for the next year.

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[Official] TIF Advisory Council Meeting Minutes November 10, 2003

Call to order: Howard Males, Chair, 7:02 pm.

Members present: Andre Brumfeld, Jane Comiskey, Louis Conforti, Howard Males, Antoinette McAllister, Charles Newsome, Trushar Patel, Joe Reizner, Rod Sawyer, Steve Soble, Chuck Thurow, Ginny Vaske, Nell Whitman. Absent: none.

Approval of Minutes. Moved, seconded, passed, to approve the minutes of September 8th as changed. (Spelling corrections....rewording of discussion regarding by-law changes for terms of officers. Nell whitman will email her suggestions to the President and Secretary.)

CVS Project. Lee Winter, VP of Gershman & Brown, and Carl Edwards, Project Manager, presented plans for a CVS pharmacy in Kimbark Plaza, replacing Tony's Sports and Ace Hardware. In response to community input at a prior meeting, glass will be added on the 53rd Street side. Brick color will match the existent adjacent building to the extent possible. Mr. Winter answered questions from Council members and community members.

53rd Street and Harper Properties: Hank Webber, Vice President of Community Affairs for the University of Chicago, shared a power point presentation about the University's commitment to community development and plans for the 53rd Street and Harper properties. (A copy of the power point was given to all Council members and to community members in attendance who wanted one.)

Hank Webber cited the University's activity in public and private schools, public safety, housing, economic development, and community amenities, especially the retail/commercial development that was the major issue discussed at this meeting.

The University's newest acquisition is the 53rd Street theatre/retail building and a leasehold interest on the former Women's Workout World space in Harper court. Prior discussions with residents and students revealed a desire for music, entertainment, better shopping, and more choices; a high interest in theatre and arts activities; and evening activities to increase foot traffic in the neighborhood. Taking into consideration these discussions along with idea-sharing with developers and business owners plus building maintenance costs, the following activities have occurred:

The building of a $10 million parking garage, an agreed upon priority by the community, is viable using TIF funds generated by Borders AND the redeveloped 53rd Street/Harper sites. Hank also pointed out the difficulties involved with developing the 53rd Street site: expensive to re-use, renovate, space constraints, need for a business mix, etc. The presentation ended with a promise to update the community about ongoing negotiations at future TIF Council meetings and to discuss plans with th Alderman, community and City of Chicago.

Hank took questions from the Council and audience for an hour.

Adjournment/Next Meeting: Moved, seconded, unanimously passed to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Monday, January 12, 2004, 7:00 p.m. at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Respectfully submitted, Ginny Vaske, Approved, Howard Males, Chair

*[Ed. The given CVS hours of operation seem correct, but the Chicago Weekly News reports the store will operate 24 hours.]

CVS plans are on file at the HPKCC Office.

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From the presentation by Hank Webber

Henry Webber, U of C Vice President for Community and Government Affairs, gave a talk putting in broad perspective the University's search for the right use of its 53rd St. properties. This talk was followed by enlightening questions from the council and audience. First the principles:

The University is committed to community development- by competing for best students and faculty: quality of urban life is an important ground of competition, - and by caring both by sharing resources and by working with local organizations and residents to ensure university development enhances quality of life.

Community development interest areas include
Education- UC's core job, charter schools, teacher training, neighborhood school program...
Public Safety, Housing, Economic development including supplier diversity
Community amenities- parks, rec., culture, transportation, retail /commercial development (a weak link)

Key University roles and activities in retail/comm development:

The 53rd/Harper properties

Guiding principles: a project that will

Activities to date:

Where we are today:

What we've learned:

Next: Report progress to TIF, vet plans with alderman, community, city

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Herald coverage of the November 10 2003 meeting

Harper Court: Hyde Park's new entertainment strip

November 12, 2003. By Caitlin Devitt.

Lights, camera and maybe, finally some action. The University of Chicago is proposing a live jazz and blues club, upscale restaurant and fine arts movie theater for its Harper Court properties, transforming the currently vacant spaces around 53rd and Harper Avenue into a bustling night life district.

Moving forward with its long-anticipated Harper Court plans, the university announced a letter of intent from the owner of the Checkerboard Lunge, a famous but defunct Bronzeville music club with a national reputation. Checkerboard owner Hyde Parker L.C. Thurman would move the club into the former Harper Court location of Women's Workout World, 5201 S. Harper Ave.

"We have a commitment of interest to negotiate a lease, but it's not binding...If it doesn't work, we'll look for another music venue," said university vice president of community affairs Hank Webber to loud applause from the well over 100 residents packed into the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. [Kenwood] Ave.

Sharing the now-empty building with the Checkerboard would be an upscale "contemporary American" restaurant, said Webber.

Regarding its plans for the Hyde Park Theater and its adjacent retail building, 5238-40 S. Harper Ave., considered one of the neighborhood's most significant parcels, the university is talking with a "major theater chain" to open a fine arts theater in the space, which has not operated as a theater in more than two years, said Webber. But he sounded a strong note of caution, pointing to the troublesome economics of small-scale movie theaters as well as the whopping $9 million cost of rehabbing the deteriorating building.

"Theaters are notoriously difficult to reuse," said Webber. "I am a little less confident about this."

The dramatic alternative to a theater would likely be demolition of the three-story brick edifice, building in its place a retail space with underground parking and even residential units in the back. "If it can't be used as a theater, we see no other option [to demolition]," he said.

The glue to a successful entertainment and retail district is parking, the "perennial Hyde Park issue." A parking garage has been on the table for years, tentatively planned to be located behind the Hyde Park Bank, 1525 E. 53rd St., and making sure the parking garage gets built is a top university priority, but again the barrier is money, said Webber.

"We're not going to get good retail without solving the parking problem," said Webber. "These things feed off each other."

The Checkerboard, which the city ordered closed at its 43rd Street location last year, would cease to be a strict blues joint if it moves t0 Hyde Park. The club would feature live jazz one night, live blues the next, according to Webber. Thurman could not be reached for comment by press time.

The decision to build an entertainment district, an idea gaining steam under the university's new President Don Michael Randel, falls in line with the university's belief that it needs to offer more entertainment and retail to satisfy its students, faculty and staff.

But not everyone was pleased. "It's [moving the Checkerboard/having live music] not the place to do it," said William Erickson, raising a question sure to be echoed by Harper Court neighbors in coming months. Webber acknowledged the difficulty of bringing live music to a partially residential area, but insisted it could be done. "It's a management issue, " he said. "And there are residences nearby almost all locations in the neighborhood."

And Hyde Parker Della Moran asked the school to "be a good neighbor" by helping one of Bronzeville's most respected blues club remain at its original 43rd Street location. The reason, in part, said Webber "was free-market economics. "It's owned by an individual and he has to make choices," said Webber.

Whether the theater building will be rehabbed into a fine-arts theater likely will be decided over the next three months and, if the Checkerboard deal is closed, the club could be up and running within "seven to eight months."

Also at the Monday night meeting, representatives from pharmacy giant CVS announced plans to move into the Kimbark Plaza sites currently occupied by Tony's Sports and Video Connection. An amiable presentation by Gershman Brown Associates Vice President Lee Winter provided details of a one-story brick building with windows facing 53rd street and the Kimbark parking lot, and predicted completion within approximately a year after demolition.

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Herald coverage of Kimbark Plaza development and expansion

Kimbark Plaza to demolish buildings, make way for CVS

November 19, 2003. By Todd Spivak

Major changes are underway at Kimbark Plaza as a pair of national chains are set to move into Hyde Park's only commercial cooperative shopping center, which runs along the north side of 53rd Street between Kimbark and Woodlawn Avenues.

By as soon as next month Bank One is expected to open a new branch location at the former site of Video Connection, 1204 E. 53rd St., while Tony's Sports, 1308 E. 53rd St., and the now-vacant storefront once home to Anderson Ace Hardware, 1304 E. 53rd St., are being demolished to make way for Walgreens rival CVS/Pharmacy.

Rhode Island-based CVS, short for Central Value System, hopes to begin demolition of the properties within the next nine months, then will take an additional six months to build the planned all-brick, 10,00o-square-foot site, according to Lee Winter, vice president of local CVS developer Gershman Brown & Associates, Inc.

Winter presented the privately financed $3 million project at a recent public meeting held at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, where he attempted to ally resident concerns regarding potential congestion from parking and delivery trucks. As a rule, he said, one truck that supplies 85 percent of the stores's merchandise will idle outside the location once a week for two hours.

One resident asked if the neighborhood could support a CVS, as there is already a Walgreens, 1554 E. 55th St., and an Osco Drug, 1420 E. 53rd St., within a short walk of Kimbark Plaza. "Is there room for another pharmacy," Of course there's room for another pharmacy," answered Winter, adding that CVS plans to build a total 10 Chicago locations by early next year.

But the owner of the small, independent drug store Katsaros Pharmacy, which for 30 years has operated out of the ground floor of the Hyde Park Bank building at 1521 E. 53rd St., complained the local market is already saturated and expressed worry that CVS will hurt his business. "They will use discounts and advertising to steal patients form us," said Joseph Gammariello, who bought Katsaros five years ago when its original owner retired. "I don't see why another pharmacy is really needed.
"

Katsaros' annual revenues of $1-$1.3 million can hardly compare with that of CVS, which boasts 4,100 stores in 34 states and rakes in more than $24 billion a year, which among national retail pharmacy chains is second only to Walgreens, whose annual earnings exceed $33 billion. But Gammariello said he expects his business to survive due to its delivery service, which is not offered by the chain stores. "Anytime there is a new competitor it impacts us, though to what degree I don't know," he said.

CVS will own no shares in Kimbark Plaza, instead signing on as a subtenant to three separate landlords. The 40-year-old commercial cooperative, which may be the only of its kind in the city, has a dozen shareholders, the largest of which is the University of Chicago, according to board president Charles Newsome.

Newsome, who is also owner of Video Connection, says after Bank One moves in ...he will remain the leaseholder for the space that for 17 years housed his rental shop after Bank One moves in. He said he is considering building out an extra 1,500 square feet from the eastern edge of Leona's Restaurant, 1236 E. 53rd St., to house a new, much smaller site for his video store. "We're putting a new face on the plaza," said Newsome.

Top. Earlier Advisory Council meetings. To meeting reports of the July 2006 meeting (Harper Court). Ahead to meetings 2008-10. To TIF News