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Wed, May 30, 2012
6 pm

Added May 23 2012

The vacant lot on the 1711 block of Winnebago is going to be turned into--of course--"dwelling units." 54 of them, with on-site parking for 72 cars. 3 buildings, 5-stories high.

They want to re-zone the lot for the project. A meeting will be held at the Bucktown library on May 30 at 6pm.

The developer, architect, and attorney will be there.

We knew this lot, loved by the neighborhood, couldn't stay vacant forever, but 54 dwellings and the cars and traffic they will bring to Winnebago and St Paul will forever change this unique pocket of Bucktown. Please go to the meeting and make your voice heard.

I'm going, but not quietly.

  • 5 stories high is ridiculous

  • Why anyone would be against building on that abandoned eyesore is beyond me. This lot is littered with rocks, glass, and god knows what else. I have lived on st paul for 6 years and this is great!

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    Those of us who want it to all be a park please contact the current Alderman, Joe Moreno.

    The LAST thing Bucktown needs is more vacant condos.

  • One benefit of a building on this lot is that it might help block a lot of the El noise that currently echoes down St. Paul.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    There is absolutely no need for that much density. Look what they've done to traffic over there already. Manny Flores jammed it with so many condos, they had to put in extra signals and still can't handle all the traffic. There is virtually NO green space and this could still be utilized as a park.

  • Bex Runner, dog owner, food lover in the 60618

    That's gonna be interesting to see how they construct it around the EL... But I mean, if someone's obviously got the money to turn it into something, what can we do? I would prefer some townhomes and a garden/green space. I agree, that big a building seems very impractical.

  • For those of you who want it desperately to be a park, where is the money going to come from to buy it and convert it? I suggest you raise the money, buy it and donate it to the city. In the meantime, I'll support residential development for the space, which will help support the businesses on Milwaukee.

  • Brian F Long time resident of chicago

    who is going to pay for the land if it stays a park, I remember seeing it for sale for $2M+. Im with you steve that we dont need more condos and I have no idea who thinks they can sell all those condos but its better than its current state which has been a homeless encampment for 10 years.

  • This is not sim city we cant just click the park button. If we could it would have been done. Hard to convince the city to build a park across the street from the park but if u can sell the city on the idea awesome!

  • thedom Chicagoan

    Which broke municipality would pay the owners for the property?

    The county/city's finances are so jammed up with bloated union benefits and the rest of it that they are hell-bent on squeezing every bit of land for tax revenue.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    If you think Chicago is broke- you are very mistaken.

  • Bex Runner, dog owner, food lover in the 60618

    Hey doesn't the Bloomingdale Trail run by that parcel? Does anyone know if the people behind revitalizing the trail had plans for an access/entry park at that area?

  • Alisa DNAinfoCHI Wicker Park/Bucktown/WestTown reporter

    is that the parcel of land right behind the library that was going to be the bucktown community garden a few years back? i recall "soil testing" was the big hold-up, though if that's the spot it also used to be a dry cleaners many years ago. i have no prob with development as long as there is a need for it. have the bucktown station lofts filled up yet? the baer lofts? the vacant glisovich stretch on damen near webster?

  • What's the land currently zoned for?

  • Bex - the access point is on the other side of Milwaukee just west of Leavitt

    Alisa - this is the huge open area of land under the L just west of Leavitt and north of Wabansia

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    Alisa gets it, too many empty condos already exist.

  • Alisa DNAinfoCHI Wicker Park/Bucktown/WestTown reporter

    Thanks, Matthew, I know what you're talking about now. Interesting.

  • thedom Chicagoan

    C'mon Steve, who made you the judge of the right number of vacant condos in Bucktown? If so, I'd like to be the judge of vacant lots and I think there are too many.

  • Melissa

    GOOD LUCK! I fought, as well as some neighbors, the Ranch Triangle development on Sheffield (across from CVS) at city hall and numerous meetings with the Alderman. The Alderman at the time? Matlack! This YouTube video says it all! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    dom, c'mon. Take a look around you.

    Empty condo-storefronts, entire-empty buildings!
    These are a blight on the community and dragging us down.
    Half of them have been broken into and stripped of all copper pipes!

    Also, this lot in question is the largest undeveloped piece of land in all of Bucktown, definitely poisoned and will the developer go thru a phase 1 AND a phase 2 epa cleanup?

    Don't hold your breath. Profits before people is my guess.


    I wish someone would build anything like this in Humboldt Park.

  • Bex Runner, dog owner, food lover in the 60618

    Instead Humboldt gets a 5-stories high CHA development that my BF is already complaining about and it's not even halfway built. Western Ave, ever the great divider.

  • Put your money where your mouth is. Form a community group. Find out how much the current owner would sell for. Buy the land. Donate it to the city for a park.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    Seeing how the developer obviously doesn't need the money-
    maybe donating the land to the city is an option.

  • I don't have an issue with a developer building there, I think it should fit the neighborhood though. And by 'fit the neighborhood,' I mean 3 stories high.

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    I thought this land was drawn into another ward ? Steve any insight on why Moreno is involved with this still?

  • The issues here are complex, so I will what I can to explain.
    All numbers are approximate.
    Ten years ago the property between W’bago and the tracks was zoned R4. That would allow 3 1/2 story residential buildings, 50000 sq ft total and 42 total dwelling units.
    The Milwaukee half was zoned B4-2. That would allow 4 story buildings, commercial on the first floor. 80000 sq ft and 40 Dwelling units (DU) total.
    Both parcels were owned by developer #1. He rolled them into a Planned development (PD) (#975). In order to maximize the residential (W’bago) side he agreed to wave a large portion of the floor area and all the DUs on the Milwaukee side in exchange for an 80% increase in floor area and an extra 3 DUs on the W’bago side.
    This agreement was voted on by the city council and has the force of law.
    Eventually Developer #1 sold the W’bago side to another investor. This is common, all investors must abide by the original agreement.
    That investor, Developer #2 fell into foreclosure.
    Developer #3 bought it in a short sale and is now ready to present it to the community.
    The PD is set to expire at the end of June and, by ordinance, the parcels are supposed to automatically revert to RT4 and B3-2

    The Milw’ side still belongs to Developer #1 who created the PD. When it expires, any concessions he made on that portion of the development are no longer binding and there is not much we can do.

    Developer #3 owns the W’bago side and he feels that despite the loss of those concessions, he should retain the enhancements granted, and in fact is asking for more. (to be fair, if held to his word, this increase is not much)

    To be continued

  • The plan, as of last meeting , was for three buildings, 5 stories (upper four floors rental units and ground floor parking accessed from the rear). They are to be all clay masonry buildings (as opposed to cinderblock)
    He has offered to substantially conform to the original agreement with respect to building height, floor area and parking ratio.
    The increase he wants is get 54 DUs.
    He also talked of possible B’dale trail access from the W’bago side.

    The advantages for the community are;
    Something might be built.
    You lock in a very high parking ratio (1.44 per DU)
    Train noise will be diverted by the tall building,
    Possible trail access.

    The disadvantages to the community are;
    Something might get built,
    A big jump in local density (to be fair, most of it is inevitable),
    Increased traffic (particularly on W’bago and Leavitt)
    Loss of open space (they may be vacant lots but they keep 12000 gal of water out of the streets for each ½ in of rain), and
    They are gonna be big.

    Last I heard, a community meeting was planned for May 30 6:00 PM at the WPBT Library.
    What ever your opinion, go there and be heard,

  • Rental units? Terrible idea

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    Thank you Dick for the very useful information regarding the history of this property. I believe when I was demanding that the fence be ripped down Flores and I were talking to developer #2.

    I agree that this land being developed is inevitable, and with the advantages and disadvantages of development that were listed. I personally would probably be a major benefactor of the sound buffering.

    I'm not sure where this idea for a park came from - I called Wagespuck's office today and they had no idea about it. But as much as the idea of a multi use park is intriguing the space is not really very good for a park AND I would have hoped that if the city really were serious about the park idea they would have bought the land via short sale.

    Also, I learned from talking to both Alderman's offices that though this land was redrawn under ward 32 that has yet to be enacted. The enactment date is not even set and is not thought to happen until next year.

    Anyway...i'll see you all at the meeting.

  • Sounds like a great development as long as the building design is satisfying. That area could use some more residences and density so we don't loose places like we lost cafe matou. More people would also encourage businesses to fill some of the vacant stores around there.
    Moreno understands the need for density to sustain a city. Case in point is the approved building at Ashland and division. He is a great city alderman.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    Moreno is not involved as he is not the current Alderman for this location. Scott Waguespack is the Alderman.

  • The transfer of power for the new ward map has not yet happened.
    This section is still under Proco's jurisdiction. However, Waguespack will probably be running it when it is time to catch the flak.

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    Steve - where are you getting this from? Are you saying that tonight's meeting was a total sham? I called both offices last week and Waguespack and Moreno's both confirmed that it was entirely Moreno's decision. Moreno is listed on the legal notices, etc, etc. Please do tell if there is more to this than meets the eye.

    And, even if that is true, where is Waguespack with his park idea?!

    I raised the point tonight directly to Moreno in front of the crowd that I thought it was irresponsible of him to make such a long lasting decision knowing that the land itself and the residents that this most directly affects (wabansia and st. paul west of winnebago) are all getting removed from his ward in the very near future. He clearly disagreed with that assessment.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    The proper thing for Ald Moreno to have done is to step aside and let the new Alderman of this area deal with the zoning.
    We're past that now.

    The park won't materialize now that the new owner is hot to build on land that would most definitely serve the community as a park instead of more condos.

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    I'm glad you have come to terms and will stop spreading false hope about the park idea.

    I do agree that Moreno should step aside and is exactly what I told him point blank at the dog and pony show of a meeting we had tonight. It is beyond obvious that all of us near the park that are also getting moved into the 32nd ward will have zero recourse with the Alderman (even if only by voting him out of office) if we disagree with his actions.

    Honestly I feel that the best course of action would be to let the thing sit - as currently zoned. If that means that the owner of the land has to wait until economic improve such that nice enough rentals/condos can be built to make it economically viable for them, so be it.

    Instead we get more/crappier rentals, more traffic, and more government subsidized housing.

    So it goes...

  • Alisa DNAinfoCHI Wicker Park/Bucktown/WestTown reporter

    looks like it was a lively meeting. the people have spoken, but will the alderman and developer listen?

  • The following statement really needs to be reexamined, "It is beyond obvious that all of us near the park that are also getting moved into the 32nd ward will have zero recourse with the Alderman (even if only by voting him out of office) if we disagree with his actions."

    Moreno vs. Waguespack isn't even worth debating. If you're in Ward 1, moving to Ward 32, count your blessings.

  • Steve J -A Chicago original since 1968-

    I believe Tron just shut the door on this thread.
    Nothing more need be said!

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    The point is Moreno will not be held accountable for this decision by the constituents it most directly affects. Whatever people think of either alderman is of zero consequence to that point.

  • hateeecs 3 year bucktown resident

    Is there any update on this? Has Moreno made his decision?

  • Just wanted to let everyone here know that there is a new meeting scheduled to discuss what is now being called a 50 unit development.

    Monday, September 17 at 6 p.m. at the Wicker Park/Bucktown Library, 1701 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

    Hope everyone can come to represent the 'hood.

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This was posted to 1701 N Milwaukee Ave.

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