I have heard from many of you about the sudden renaissance of economic development in the 46th Ward. What we're seeing right now is unprecedented, but by no means, was it an accident. During my first term as alderman, I put in place all the needed ingredients to create more vibrant corridors for retail. This has encourage more people to shop in their neighborhoods and has provided more employment opportunities for residents. Exciting new businesses such as Ka'lish, a vegan restaurant that will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday, focused on hiring staff who all lived within a few blocks of their store on Wilson Avenue.
NEW BUSINESSES IN 2016 INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING
- First Ascent at 4718 N. Broadway, officially opened in early 2016, and is a rock climber's paradise.
- Heritage Coffee on Lawrence provides great coffee in the beautiful lobby of the Lawrence House.
- Kal' ish, a vegan restaurant, at Wilson/Malden, opened up and will be expanding another restaurant next door in 2017.
- Pokiology, a seafood restaurant, at Wilson/Magnolia, is a quick favorite among many residents.
- The Jerk Stop, a Jamaican restaurant at Wilson/Clifton, gives another great option for food on restaurant alley/coffee bean row.
- Emerald City Coffee, a coffee and pastry restaurant with a cool vibe, located at 1224 W. Wilson
- My Chocolate Soul, a bakery that provides a very unusual and eclectic types of chocolate and pastries: 4442 N. Broadway
- Earth's Kitchen, a restaurant providing a blend of Japanese and American food, located at 3715 N. Halsted
- Selam Market & Restaurant, providing authentic Ethiopian food, at 4543 N. Broadway.
- Uptown Arcade, a bar and arcade that attracts crowds after the concerts in the area, at 4830 N. Broadway.
- Wabi Sabi, Chicago's only rotary sushi restaurant at 4521 N. Sheridan
- Finest Food & Subz at 4759 N. Sheridan, also offers coffee and lots of snack options.
- Ensemble Media, a creative services and multimedia production company that creates unique videos, animations, print collateral and interactive solutions at 4704 N. Kenmore.
- Futatsuki Ramen, a Japenese restaurant known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes at 4621 N. Broadway.
COMPLETED DEVELOPMENTS IN 2016
- Lawrence House at Lawrence/Kenmore: 344 rental apartments with a beautifully restored lobby. Includes a Heritage Coffee Bar and a bar will open inside the lobby within the next few months.
- 4752-60 N. Racine at corner of Broadway/Lawrence: A Lake Point Properties development with 18 soft loft apartments
- 4027 N. Broadway near Irving Park: A 20-unit building with 1st floor retail.
- The Bachelor, a FLATS project at 1136 W. Wilson. Has 40 rental apartments and hosts frequent art shows on the first floor.
- The Firehouse, a FLATS project at 1217 W. Gunnison: 4 apartment units at a formerly abandoned firehouse.
PROJECTS WITH WORK IN PROGRESS IN 2016
- Clarendon/Montrose Development: a $125M proposal that includes rental apartments and Treasure Island. Approximately 1/3 of the $15.88M TIF will go toward rehabbing the Clarendon Park Community Center, 1/3 will go toward the Low Income Housing Trust Fund that provides rental assistance to people with very low incomes, and the remaining 1/3 toward demolition of the dilapidated Maryville site. A total of 563 rental apartments to be built in 2 stages.
- 3833 N. Broadway: an 8-story, mixed-use development with 134 rental apartments and retail.
- Stewart School Lofts at 4525 Kenmore: a 64 residential development with Morningside Group. The building became a Chicago Landmark in 2016. Plans will later include a mid-rise to be built directly north of the building with retail.
- 4635-41 N. Broadway: Lake Pointe Properties completing 14 residential units and 5 retail spaces.
- 931-33 W. Belle Plaine development with 20 units
- Pensacola Place at Hazel/Montrose: 184 rental apartments will be added to their current mix of 264 units. Town homes will be built around the perimeter of their deck located above Jewel.
- Ross Dress For Less at 918 W. Montrose (across from Jewel). Opening is expected in the spring.
PROJECTS PROPOSED IN 2016 THAT HAVE NOT YET STARTED
- 3901 N. Broadway: a Vermilion Development featuring a 10-story with 100 rental apartments and retail
- 4601 N. Broadway designed by MX3 Architects: 197 apartment units at the corner of Broadway/Wilson with retail on the first floor.
- 4420-30 N. Sheridan development: 33 units in a mixed-use development
- 3928 N. Sheridan: a Loukas Development with 54 apartment units with retail
- 1023 W. Irving Park: 5-story condo building with one unit on each floor.
- 927 W. Irving Park: 5-story with 28 rental units
OTHER DEVELOPMENT NEWS
- Wilson L Station: A $203M project has an expected completion date at the end of this year. In April, the demolition of the remaining old L track will be completed and the escalator is expected to be operational by June. All 4 new tracks will be up and running in September. A request for proposal is going out for the Gerber Building, and I am working with CTA to get that whole space rented out as one large retail space rather than have it broken up into smaller stores. A number of businesses have expressed interest for that spot.
- Uptown Square Historic District: Located within the Entertainment District, this enhances the area's prestige and property values while bringing stability and predictability for future private investment, with the ultimate goal to get the Uptown Theatre rehabbed.
- When the Clarendon/Montrose TIF passed City Council, it allowed for $4.5M to be contributed to the Clarendon Park Community Center. Per the Parks Dept, this was the only way we could get the necessary funds to jumpstart this rehab of this center that had become delapidated.
- $14K was contributed from Menu funds to the Park District to do necessary plumbing work to allow for a dog washing business (Moxie Wash) to open up near the Montrose Dog Beach this year.
SUCCESSFULLY PROTECTED AFFORDABLE HOUSING
All this new development happened while we protected non-profit affordable housing in the 46th Ward. When Presbyterian Homes announced plans to sell their building at 3801 N. Pine Grove, I worked with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Rep Sara Feigenholtz, the City’s Dept. of Planning & Development, and ONE Northside to prevent the seniors in this building from having to move. I found an attorney who took on the case pro bono and then worked with CHA to negotiate a sale in 2016 so that no one would have to move from their home. There is now no longer any threat that they would have to move.
SAVING A HOMELESS SHELTER
Due to an inability to raise additional funds to supplement the government dollars that Northside Housing & Support Services (NHSS) was already receiving, the shelter announced in September that they were closing in December. The Dept. of Family & Support Services (DFSS) tried getting other providers in to assist, but no other agency was willing to take it over. A generous donor stepped up with 3 years of promised support to keep them open. I will meet with the shelter's board of directors and DFSS to see how I can help them prevent this type of funding crisis again.
A NEW WAY TO ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS
When I was elected alderman in 2011, I became very vocal with the way the City addressed homeless encampments. A host of different agencies were providing interventions with limited results of getting people off the streets and into permanent housing. Some of the people living on the streets had been there for many years and appeared stuck in the cycle of homelessness. Early in 2016, I teamed up with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to push the City to adopt a “housing-first” strategy that places people immediately into housing with wrap-around services. In May, a pilot project was started in Uptown because it was the largest encampment in the City. Of the initial assessment of 75 individuals living at the encampments, 54 were housed, and the remaining 11 left the area on their own. To assist with funding this new way of addressing homelessness, I also led the charge to add a 4% surcharge on Airbnbs, with these additional funds going toward our efforts to get people off the streets and directly into housing. The U.S. Interagency on Homelessness had declared this approach as the best way to address chronic homelessness. This approach also is very cost effective because the cost of a person's health care dramatically drops when he or she is in safe housing.
FRIENDS OF THE 46TH WARD SCHOOLS
This non-profit organization started out as a task force to help me create the 46th Ward Master Plan, and now it has blossomed into something that has provided ongoing and much needed support to our area CPS schools. Thanks to a matching grant the Friends of the 46th Ward Schools received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, over $3,000 was raised.... all money that will be distributed to our local CPS schools.
Enhancing public safety in the 46th Ward has always been one of my top priorities.
- Working with both the Commanders of the 19th and 20th Police Districts, along with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, I established a Retail Corridor Public Safety Committee, and we now have many retail establishments working together with us to reduce criminal activity in the area.
- In my discussions with Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, I asked for and received more foot patrol officers walking in our neighborhoods. They have strong relationships with the local businesses and community so that we can partner better together to address crime.
- I successfully fought for the hiring of more police officers in our last City Budget, something I knew many of you wanted. This year we were able to get an additional 52 sworn officers assigned, that is in addition to the police that are being recruited now.
- I worked with my colleagues and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to expand the Becoming a Man program and the One Summer Chicago program that provides employment opportunities for youth from 14 to 24 years of age.
- I spearheaded an ordinance to protect members of the transgender community using the bathroom of their gender preference without having to produce an I.D. I was joined by other members of the LGBT Caucus to get this passed.
- With the Short Term Rental Ordinance, I succeeded in getting a 4% surcharge for Airbnbs to fund homeless services.
- I pushed to strengthen the City's Inspector General's Office to allow for investigations of aldermen, rather than a separate one for us and another one for all other City employees.
PROTECTING THE WARD'S DIVERSITY
The thing that people most appreciate about the 46th Ward is its diversity, with over 91 different languages spoken. Besides being the smallest geographical ward in the City, it is also the most economically diverse ward as well. The challenge is to make sure we maintain our diversity as we continue to improve the economic vitality of the ward.
Best wishes for a wonderful and prosperous 2017,