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Mr Downtown Jan 22, 2014 5:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SamInTheLoop (Post 6417466)
I love how she is still trying to uphold the illusion however that she has any meaningful input whatsoever on this

How do you get that from merely holding an informational meeting for nearby residents and businesses to view the fait accompli?

brian_b Jan 22, 2014 6:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wierdaaron (Post 6416551)
What do people expect the community reaction to be? I'd assume that unlike in Lincoln Park, they're pretty acclimated to the idea of giant corporate developments.

The hotel and Motor Row redevelopment is welcome, but the arena is not. Generally. That's my impression as someone who lives 3 blocks from the arena site.

I will be making an attempt to be at that meeting.

SamInTheLoop Jan 23, 2014 4:31 PM

^^ Is the reason you think alderman hold public meetings on development projects in their wards to generally inform residents/keep them updated on the project specifics, etc?

Hint: (it's not)

It's all for their political protection and advancement....for them to decide on project - or force changes - because of the city's bizarre, entirely unwritten and extralegal aldermanic prerogative tradition.

Again - you're not fooling anybody into believing you're this naive....

Mr Downtown Jan 23, 2014 6:11 PM

In the last three decades, I suppose I've been to 100, maybe 150 meetings on new developments in the central city. At only four of those did I feel there was any chance to alter, much less block, what was on the table.

By the time developers are willing to have a public meeting, they're way too invested to change anything about the project. Once in a blue moon, the howls of protest from voters are so loud that the alderman will take notice and push back at the developer or the mayor's office. And in some outlying wards, aldermen do engineer more early negotiation with residents. But this idea that NIMBYs (or even aldermen) somehow determine what gets built, at least in the central area, is a complete chimera, a mythical creature found only in this forum.

LMich Jan 24, 2014 8:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6419343)
In the last three decades, I suppose I've been to 100, maybe 150 meetings on new developments in the central city. At only four of those did I feel there was any chance to alter, much less block, what was on the table.

By the time developers are willing to have a public meeting, they're way too invested to change anything about the project. Once in a blue moon, the howls of protest from voters are so loud that the alderman will take notice and push back at the developer or the mayor's office. And in some outlying wards, aldermen do engineer more early negotiation with residents. But this idea that NIMBYs (or even aldermen) somehow determine what gets built, at least in the central area, is a complete chimera, a mythical creature found only in this forum.

Quoted for truth, and this is true of how the process works in most cities with few exceptions. I'm also confused by this bizarre tone that somehow local government oversight is some kind of intrusion into the divine right of developers. Local government is the process, at least in theory. In practice, it is rare that a developer doesn't get most of what they want. This idea of poor, embattled developers doesn't hold weight in what I've experienced.

LouisVanDerWright Jan 24, 2014 2:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LMich (Post 6420569)
Quoted for truth, and this is true of how the process works in most cities with few exceptions. I'm also confused by this bizarre tone that somehow local government oversight is some kind of intrusion into the divine right of developers. Local government is the process, at least in theory. In practice, it is rare that a developer doesn't get most of what they want. This idea of poor, embattled developers doesn't hold weight in what I've experienced.

You've obviously never dealt with the machine here in Chicago. I have. Just the other day I went into an alderman's office (with my clouted zoning attorney in tow, there is no way I would have gotten the meeting without him) and asked for a simple zoning change to two city lots that were residential zoning surrounded by a sea of business zoning. Seems like a completely logical request and, you are right, the alderman basically gave Mr. Evil Developer (me) the support a requested. But what is actually said is not what bothers me, it is the implicit requests. For example, the meeting ended with him saying "you are going to use all XXXXXminority (not going to give the race here so as to stay as anon as possible) contractors right?" and of course I had to say "of course, I've got a guy who knows every MBE contractor in the city" and he then essentially implied that my atty would know "the best" contractors to use.

Now that sounds harmless enough, but "the best" really means "the contractors who support me". Of course I am in no way obligated to actually use those contractors, but the implication is that, if I want his support on anything else in the future, I had better use the preferred contractors. There was nothing "illegal" about anything that was said, but the clout was still used to funnel business to certain groups. This is how virtually EVERY alderman in the city of Chicago works. And, perhaps you don't understand the system here, but there is no real "planning body". The decisions are not made based upon "is this a rational place to change zoning?", but rather "do I like this guy and does he support me?". All zoning in Chicago is controlled by the aldermen and it is a fundamental cause of the clout culture here.

The best part is, I wouldn't even have gotten a meeting with this guy if it weren't for my attorney. As if there weren't enough, I am not even worried about this post identifying me because I am sure this exact same scenario has played out for 100 different developers in the past two weeks alone.

sentinel Jan 24, 2014 3:03 PM

^^But you and as you mentioned many other developers like you are benefiting because you're willing to essentially go along with it (perhaps by necessity). As long as people are benefiting from this type of system, it's not gonna change...which also brings up a bigger question (playing Devil's advocate), if so much aldermanic prerogative maintains this laissez-faire attitude for developments in their respective wards, enhancing the livability of their respective wards and it provides certain quotas for minority groups to be able to get work which would otherwise be restrictive to them, thus potentially providing an opportunity for better wages and ultimately a better quality of life, is that a bad thing?

LouisVanDerWright Jan 24, 2014 4:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinel (Post 6420781)
^^But you and as you mentioned many other developers like you are benefiting because you're willing to essentially go along with it (perhaps by necessity). As long as people are benefiting from this type of system, it's not gonna change...which also brings up a bigger question (playing Devil's advocate), if so much aldermanic prerogative maintains this laissez-faire attitude for developments in their respective wards, enhancing the livability of their respective wards and it provides certain quotas for minority groups to be able to get work which would otherwise be restrictive to them, thus potentially providing an opportunity for better wages and ultimately a better quality of life, is that a bad thing?

Personally I don't really mind the system all that much, I just hate certain aldermen who abuse it and allow negative changes using their power or extort developers who have existing, as of right, zoning. My response was to LMich's attack on "this bizarre tone that somehow local government oversight is some kind of intrusion into the divine right of developers" as if our local "planning process" is some sort of noble civic system. Perhaps I was reading too much into what he wrote, but the facts are the abuse of the system goes one way: Alderman->Developer. The developers are not the ones strong arming people into the clout system. Sure they "go along with it", but they really have no other choice as clearly indicated by various incidents such as the recent downzoning of that hotel site by Trump or Joe Moreno's downzoning of the old Gerber site in Logan Square to Manufacturing zoning (at California and Milwaukee, you have to be kidding me!) to screw over John Burns. There are very few, if any, instances of a developer approaching an aldeman and saying "you better give me this zoning change or else I'll do X to you" while there are virtually countless examples of developers being forced to do X,Y, and Z if they want to get a zoning change.

The only defense developers have is to drop a hammer on belligerent aldermen during the next election which, as we know, isn't always 100% effective.

SamInTheLoop Jan 24, 2014 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 6419343)
In the last three decades, I suppose I've been to 100, maybe 150 meetings on new developments in the central city. At only four of those did I feel there was any chance to alter, much less block, what was on the table.

By the time developers are willing to have a public meeting, they're way too invested to change anything about the project. Once in a blue moon, the howls of protest from voters are so loud that the alderman will take notice and push back at the developer or the mayor's office. And in some outlying wards, aldermen do engineer more early negotiation with residents. But this idea that NIMBYs (or even aldermen) somehow determine what gets built, at least in the central area, is a complete chimera, a mythical creature found only in this forum.

For you to state that it is not aldermen that decide exactly what gets built in any part of the city - especially in the central area where such a high percentage of what gets built seems to be through PDs - is patently preposterous (it is not developers exerting their influence, it is in fact aldremen - LVDW gets this exactly right). You must realize this....Are you screwing with us again? Going to give me a complex or something.....

SamInTheLoop Jan 24, 2014 5:44 PM

^^^ To answer your question - yes, the system is such a bad thing. How can it possibly be defended? When not illegal by letter of law, it's certainly either illegal by spirit, and certainly is not how transparent, just, equitable , fair, ethical, decent, honorable, etc, etc, etc, etc governments work. A common reaction of people from Chicago to a statement like this would be a roll of the eyes and a 'c'mon, get serious, this is Chicago. What are you smoking?', or similar. That's actually a significant problem as well. This way in which Chicago 'works' is actually a bug, not a feature.

LVDW's account of his experience should sicken anybody. I know it makes me want to puke. That's the 'normal' reaction people everywhere - whether a resident of Chicago or not - should have.

Hopefully the new US attorney goes after these forms of city corruption (various pay to play illegal enterprises) like the truly damaging plague that it is.

And, the argument that this actually 'helps' minority subcontractors or whatever is a complete red herring. On the whole, these under the table private sector quotas do not help anybody. Does it really improve work, improve skills, improve true market competitiveness - of course not! Is it improving poorer minority neighborhoods in Chicago? Really - take a look around, the 'edge' neighborhoods that improve are due to gentrification, not increasing incomes and quality of life through quotas for existing residents....

ardecila Jan 25, 2014 3:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright (Post 6420668)
I am not even worried about this post identifying me because I am sure this exact same scenario has played out for 100 different developers in the past two weeks alone.

I can confirm...

I think Mr D is somewhat right in that NIMBYs don't actually wield much power though. The nature of a given project is hammered out between the developer and the alderman through this exact power dynamic. Community opposition is a convenient cover story the alderman can point to when the developer refuses to play ball, which is one reason the alderman usually has the upper hand in these negotiations. An alderman might downzone a bunch of property to placate the community's worries about intensification, but more likely he does it so he can extract his pound of flesh from developers later on.

BVictor1 Jan 27, 2014 5:17 AM

There was an article in yesterday's (01/25) Tribune regarding this project. I don't have a digital-Plus subscription, so I really can't post a link. but it seems as if there's some re-working going on because of difficulties obtaining parcels needed for the entire project.

- 1,200 room Marriott Hotel, instead of being on the southside of Cermak Rd, will be on Prairie Avenue; just north of the west building. This may piss off PDNA... Oh Well!!!

- 500 room botique hotel will be decoupled from the arena and if built will go where the Marquis was originally planned. This is the land currently in limbo and owned by McHugh.

- They're reallocating how and where they use TIF funds. More is being used towards the Marriott so that the project can kick-off sooner.

SamInTheLoop Jan 27, 2014 3:09 PM

^^ I agree, but then again the real key is to understand as LVDW has pointed out that abuse of the system is pretty much a one way affair - it's aldermen's power over developers.

We can think of it this way:

Aldermen are not remotely dependent on any one developer's (or group of developers') campaign contributions (or whatever other 'wink-wink' or other monetary arrangements come to be). But just about every developer is dependent on the alderman for just about everything they want to do (particularly given absurd widespread downzonings, PDs with ridiculously low triggers for greater central area, etc etc)

Again, the problem really comes down to the same two words, time and time again: Aldermanic Prerogative. Custom-designed to preserve and enhance Chicago's time honored tradition of endemic and institutionalized aldermanic corruption on a massive scale and sleazy and illegal pay to play governance....

SamInTheLoop Jan 27, 2014 3:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BVictor1 (Post 6424400)
There was an article in yesterday's (01/25) Tribune regarding this project. I don't have a digital-Plus subscription, so I really can't post a link. but it seems as if there's some re-working going on because of difficulties obtaining parcels needed for the entire project.

- 1,200 room Marriott Hotel, instead of being on the southside of Cermak Rd, will be on Prairie Avenue; just north of the west building. This may piss off PDNA... Oh Well!!!

- 500 room botique hotel will be decoupled from the arena and if built will go where the Marquis was originally planned. This is the land currently in limbo and owned by McHugh.

- They're reallocating how and where they use TIF funds. More is being used towards the Marriott so that the project can kick-off sooner.


Just saw this too. Now we know why the smaller hotel was not mentioned in Dowell's community meeting notice (at least on the surface would seem to be much more up in the air now - 'if it is ultimately built' etc....)

I actually might tend to like this plan better with increasing enragement over at PDNA. Chicago has some really degenerate NIMBY groups when it comes to new development issues - this one has always been on my radar as one of the very worst of the sorry bunch.....

Also, remains to be seen how much of the 'redesign' is just posturing, or if this is the real thing and they go full speed ahead with the new version....

brian_b Jan 27, 2014 3:35 PM

Interesting developments...

I wonder where on Prairie they plan to put the hotel. If they still want that entire block between Indiana and Prairie to go to the arena, this would suggest that the Marriott would go along the east side of Prairie. But the current design footprint is quite large, and that block has the landmarked American Book Company building.

It looks like it may fit if the hotel is turned 90 degrees, but I would guess that the hotel design we currently see is sent to the circular file and the architects start again. And with the increased land acquisition costs, perhaps the new design isn't going to be so appealing.

Mr Downtown Jan 27, 2014 3:58 PM

Chicago Tribune graphic:

http://i.imgur.com/ewblCS7.png

brian_b Jan 27, 2014 4:27 PM

Thanks for that graphic! I found a Tribune article via Google News that had all these details but no graphics. The same search also gave this article, which probably represents a fair amount of the community views:

http://www.chicagonow.com/bon-bini/2...os-south-loop/

She is way off base of course. I don't know why people continue to drum the TIF-for-schools thing. NTA Elementary is a wonderful facility; new & modern and its amenities would make a north side parent stare. Yet it is barely half full, and the only reason it even has that many students is because it accepts kids from outside the neighborhood through the lottery system.

The last thing the South Loop needs is more money spent on school facilities.

LouisVanDerWright Jan 27, 2014 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b (Post 6424814)
The last thing the South Loop needs is more money spent on school facilities.

But don't tell the South Loopers that if you value not being tarred and feathered, because they will do that to you if you dare to question their constant demands for more schools.

Sometimes it is hilarious how accurately SimCity 2000 emulates real life. The South Loop is stuck in one of those situations where this guy is always telling you to build more schools:

http://i.somethingawful.com/u/bobservo/simcity/q.jpg
somethingawful.com


Another great, real life, SimCityism was how Long Grove apparently ignored this guy:

http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.c...&h=9999&crop=0
wordpress.com

For way too long and now their roads are reverting to rubble fields:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...939,full.story

BVictor1 Jan 27, 2014 5:35 PM

In terms of the boutique hotel, they should maybe make that more of a mixed use project. Do a number of hotel rooms as well as residential units. That will help populate the area on a more permanent basis and not just when there's a convention in town.

r18tdi Jan 27, 2014 6:05 PM

I've been a huge fan of Pat Dowell ever since she proposed a Chicago bike tax to offset the rising cost of HBO/Cinemax for fixed-income seniors.

http://transitized.com/2013/10/23/al...ation-fee-why/


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