Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More info on Rezko Lot at Clark and Roosevelt

Down in the weeds at the infamous Rezko lot (via Chicago Journal)
Last week a couple readers tipped us off on a letter they received from Alderman Solis notifying residents about a hearing for a potential zoning change to the huge vacant lot at Clark and Roosevelt.

This week, Chicagorealestatedaily.com did some digging and didn't find out any definitive answers.  However, they did provide a little more info:
Ald. Daniel Solis, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Zoning Landmarks and Building Standards, has proposed throwing out a blueprint for the site passed by the council in 2004 that allowed for 4,600 homes and 670,000 square feet of retail space. He wants to zone the property for light industry instead, according to a notice for an upcoming hearing on the proposal.
As drastic as that sounds, it may not signal a major shift in the city’s plans for the Riverside Park site, which stretches south from Roosevelt Road on the east bank of the Chicago River. The City Council approved a planned development for the property, a special negotiated zoning status for large projects that expires after six years if nothing gets built under the plan.
They then added that there is uncertainty for anything moving forward:
It’s unclear whether a new plan for the site would include as many homes as the old one. Given the strength of the condominium market at the time, 4,600 seemed like a big but not unrealistic number. Today, it seems like a project that would take decades to complete. But Roosevelt Road’s continuing emergence as a shopping strip makes the property an even more attractive potential site for big-box retailers. 
The zoning committee was scheduled to take up the zoning amendment Feb. 26, but the proposal has been deferred, possibly until the committee’s next meeting March 26, said Nicole Wellhausen, a legislative aide to Ald. Solis (25th).
Stay tuned for more details.

(Hat tip: Curbed Chicago)


Anonymous said...

So what is Solis up to? I'm a little skeptical about this zoning designation for this property. Seems like there's plenty of vacant land in the city that's already zoned for light industry. Does anyone really think light industry makes sense at this site (across from Ping Tom Park, blocks from the Loop, on Roosevelt Road retail strip)?

Dennis McClendon said...

The zoning is being changed back to DS (Downtown Service), but it's extremely unlikely that anything remotely industrial will actually ever be built there. All property in the city must be zoned something, and this merely sets expectations (for residential density) lower than they would be under other designations. When a developer does come in, sometime in the future, to negotiate the density for a project, they won't be starting with the assumption that they're "entitled" to build 4000 residential units.

Anonymous said...

No, this is purely political move by Solis to waste taxpayer time and money so he can make a name for himself in the new area and start printing some of that machine money. Follow the money people; by inserting himself into a dormant development, now the current owners will have to come to him for everything going forward (be it Zoning changes, tax issues, future sale), etc., and they will have to pay $-tribute-$ to the Alderman cheese. So start watching the campaign contributions from the owners, the zoning attorney of record, the bank, the Title company, etc.

Another twist to this potential scam could be a money maker, or money saver depending on who's perspective (or end of the gun barrel) you are taking. By forcing a rezone to a diffent class, he could be either increasing property tax costs, or decreasing the cost basis. A property with DX5+ compared to something of light commercial or lower density could affort the owners the opportunity to lower their tax bill, or if it were to increase the annual cost, make an owner sell out to some machine buddy. Let the shakedown of the foreign owner begin.

By now, you should have learned from Rham, Obama, Jesse Jr., Madigan, Daley, Solis, etc. that these guys don't propose something for the benefit of the taxpayers; these guys have nuanced angles and scams on scams that run layers deep and make their friends and family wealthy. It just sp happens that land ownership, transactions, and property tax abatement are today's sophisticated equivalent of yesterdays antiquated prostitution, gambling, and racketering operations; and it's alot harder to get caught in what appears to be a legal land transaction or servicing.

Think of the operation of these mobsters like all of the activities that take place in the life cycle of a owning a car. Sure, let the big dog make some money on the new car, but the real money comes with the car repairman, the muffler company, the guy who washes your car, the guy who fixes broken windshields, the guy who sells you tires, the gas company, the guy who finances your car, your insurance, your sticker, or the guy who sells you wipers, on and on, except that these jokers have their own buddies that control most of those car service activities in some direct or indirect way. The Chicago Way.

Anonymous said...

Roosevelt is already loaded with retail, of which there are plenty of vacancies. The only thing that will allow retail to thrive is if there are more housing units built which will allow people to move in and become shoppers of these retail properties. Without people, the south loop will stay stagnate.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing really is curious... City ordinance requires this site go through the planned development process regardless of what the zoning designation is (even if the site doesn't ultimately carry a "PD" label). So why even bother with the re-zone? Also, that article speculates that this site would be attractive for big box retail development, a use that is explicitly prohibited by the light industrial zoning.

Regardless, it's been said that this is just a maintenance procedure size the original PD is expiring. I haven't combed through the PD document but I searched through the zoning ordinance and I can't find anything that says PD's expire due to inactivity. So if anyone could explain this, i'd really apprciate it.

Anonymous said...

I would just add that the light industrial zoning designation does allow for this site to be turned into a park. So perhaps, we're incorrect by being pessimistic. I believe I read that Solis was the supported Ping Tom Park, perhaps he wants this to become a northern extension to the park?

I'd be down with that.

Anonymous said...

Nah, I think Anon @ 5:16 has it about right.

Anonymous said...

Solis was down with Ping Tom because South Loopers are paying for it with our TIFF funds, that's why. Don't you just love these Politicians that are do magnanimous with other people's money? Solis is the same.

Dennis McClendon said...

Beginning in the 1990s, all Planned Development Ordinances include sunset provisions. In the case of Riverside Park, it's statement 17 of the ordinance, passed March 31, 2004 (Council Journal p. 21803)
"17. If no development has commenced within six (6) years following adoption of this Planned Development, then this Planned Development shall expire and the zoning of the Property shall automatically revert to that of the C3-4 Commercial-Manufacturing District."

Why bother with the rezone? Because it costs nothing but resets expectations. The developer can't simply flip the property—complete with an extremely high number of entitled units and square footage—to a new purchaser. A new developer will now have to negotiate with DHED over important things such as density, street network, park dedications, and width of riverwalk.

Anonymous said...

Again Dennis, you are assuming this is being done as a proactive city zoning process and cost nothing which is not true. Nothing needed to be done being that this is a stalled development. This is purely political machine bs to get the current owners out of hiding and into the open to now deal with the Alderman...Anon 5:16 has is right.

It is borderline harassment and stalking, something Solis is quite familiar with.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are both a bit right on this... however, if you think this starts with Solis you're wrong.

Solis is just a very small cog in a much bigger machine. The pupet master's are pulling the strings on this and there's way too much desire and momentum for this tract to lay dormant much longer.

Unless there is another US-Global financial melt-down this land is gonna be developed.