Monday, February 22, 2010


From: Don Gordon, 1228 West Lunt
To: Alderman Joe Moore & The Residents of Rogers Park

Though I will not be able to attend tonight’s meeting, I would like to offer my comments and questions on the proposed development at 1557-61 Howard Street:

1. Who are the principals in Noble Development and what projects have they done and completed so that we can get a sense of the quality of their work. They have a web site but it’s only one page and says very little about them. Noble Law Group, of which Scott Sinar is a partner, is a real estate law firm and it appears that this is where the name comes from.

2. It concerns me that Rich Aronson is involved in this project. He has other properties in Rogers Park which have not done well and his store front on Morse seems to be closed and his web site for Camelot real estate is no longer active. He has yet another venture called Stage Development located at the same address as Noble Development and Noble Law Group. I would like to know more about the financial stability of Mr. Aronson and all of his various entities and the status of all his other developments in Rogers Park.

3. The site is within the Howard TIF. Does this mean that the building will have subsidized housing units? My concern here is that the area already has far too much concentration of subsidized housing and that any projects in this TIF area should not add to that number.

4. As for the project itself, it doesn’t appear to fit into the historical character of the street (field house aside) and the architecture of the buildings east of the tracks. From the PDF’s provided, the quality appears to be sacrificed for additional profit and the expansive use glass walls is in deference to the brick and stone design of other older buildings on the street. There should be some architectural guidelines set for the street east of the tracks so that developers know what the community would like to see.

5. Will there be any setback? It appears that the project will go to the lot line of the sidewalk and given the 7-story height, which I assume is within code, it will only add to a canyon affect on the street. The development west of the tracks on the Evanston side was pushed to the lot line and the sidewalk, though attractively streetscaped, is hardly pedestrian friendly, being as narrow as it is. This is not a good example that should be followed on new development east of the tracks if a pedestrian friendly commercial street is to be developed over the coming years.


Bill Morton said...

Great questions!

I would also ask if the land has been properly inspected for contamination from the former laundry facility (the Lerner hole) a few feet from the property.

Many recent teardowns are found afterwards to be contaminated and un-usable. I believe that this was the case for Loyola University after the demolition and shrubbery on Sheridan Road.

Also, how much in campaign contributions has Rich Aronson or Camelot Realty paid to Alderman Joe Moore before this meeting?

How great is the conflict of interest here?

mcl said...

Just to clarify/correct; The Howard TIF boundary is the alley to the west of the Wisdom Bridge property line. That means this location is outside the TIF District.

Charlie Didrickson said...

please NO

The structure looks inviting and contemporary. Please do not advocate for a bunch of revisionist archijunk that is somehow supposed to look "Historical" Just how does making new buildings look old benefit anyone or Architecture?

mcl said...


You mean like the "Historical" look of Bryn Mawr, east of Broadway? Yeah, that would awful if the property and architecture on Howard Street, east of the el, were to be redeveloped with that kind of plan and look.

You've got to be kidding!

Charlie Didrickson said...

Why would I be kidding? Everyone uses that development on Bryn Mawr as a defense. While it is a pretty nice set of homes, I don't see why that should be the baseline to build from?

Why stop there? Let's just pack up the ol' buggy and pull the horses out to the plains and set up some tents!

You guys are like broken records. You are all opposing Joe not this development.

I don't get it...

mcl said...

No, you don't get it do you, Charlie? I'm not talking about, "that development on Bryn Mawr as a defense. While it is a pretty nice set of homes, I don't see why that should be the baseline to build from?"

What I'm talking about is the complete redevelopment of the 3 block Bryn Mawr commercial/retail strip East of Broadway. As you know this commercial stretch has been designated a 'Historic District', thriving with successful restaurants, retail shops, etc. This is the result of a cohesive, long range development plan, thanks to Alderman Smith's leadership and a community planning group with vision. And this was accomplished in less than 6 years!

Very much unlike what we in Rogers Park are and have been dealing with under the 18 year 'leadership' of Joe Moore.

fit4life said...

Hey Charlie,
Respecting the architectural history of the street doesn't mean building 19th century structures, though cobblestone crosswalks, period lighting and historical markers would certainly evoke a grander period of the street. It simply means building in consideration of the historical structures already on the street. This is not downtown Chicago, where glass predominates. The Broadmoor across the street and the old Howard Theatre building are dominant buildings east of the tracks and represent a rich history of the street. At the very least the new structures for this street could respect the brick and stone tradition and avoid the garish look of all glass that Rich is proposing. As for going after the alderman, you need to move on. This is about the future of Rogers Park and making decisions that this community will have to live with long after the alderman and the rest of us are gone.

Don Gordon

Charlie Didrickson said...

Fair enough Don,

The thing is, I think structures CAN respect the past and historical "rich history" of an area and still be made from glass and steel.

How about a big glass and steel covered wagon or tee pee? Sorry just kidding...kind of.

Architecture is a tough one for sure.

Toni said...

Let's discuss the proposed economic development on Howard. No one shops in a Boys and Girls Club or most NFP's. How is this obviously slanted concept of allegedly providing fine theatre, fine dining and a BGC in the same space? A tad over-reaching, definitely busy, and not sensible. May as well wear a mink coat over the PJ's and fuzzy slippers to work.