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Spring 2019 Newsletter


  • As I See It: Commissioners: Reconsider the Just Housing Ordinance


    My “Aha Moment” arrived when I read the title of the Sun Times editorial, dated April 28, criticizing the County Board’s passage of the Just Housing Ordinance.

    “Don’t punish landlords to make more housing available for ex-offenders.”


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  • Rent Control Fails in Springfield

    Wednesday, March 27th was a big day in Springfield for those of us who have been following the rent control saga over the past number of months. No fewer than three rent control bills were vying with each other for consideration by the commercial law subcommittee of the Judiciary – Civil committee in the Illinois General Assembly.


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  • Maria Hadden, Newly Elected Alderwoman of the 49th Ward


    I had never met Maria Hadden before she graciously agreed to let me interview her for our Newsletter. I went to her office on Morse Avenue for a 4 o’clock appointment on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in mid-March. I figured I’d be lucky to get 45 minutes or an hour of her time. After all, she’s got a lot on her plate. Maria won the general election for 49th Ward Alderman on February 26 with over 63% of the popular vote. The unambiguous result allowed her to skip over the run-offs in April. But she is not resting on her laurels. She has a long to-do list as she prepares for her new role. I figured some strange guy from a property-owner organization would not rank very high on her priority list.


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  • Proposed Tax Relief for Affordable Rentals

    There has been no lack of legislative initiatives in Springfield lately to preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing in Illinois. Unfortunately, several of these legislative initiatives focus on Rent Control as a cure-all to the region’s affordable housing woes. The Rogers Park Builders Group firmly opposes any effort to adopt rent control in the state. RPBG believes that, far from solving our affordable housing problems, rent control will only make them worse with considerable collateral damage to our livelihoods and the wider economies of the city, region and state.


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    As widely reported, the efforts in Springfield to lift the State ban on rent control were recently defeated. While it was determined that rent control is not a practical solution, the affordable housing problem nevertheless remains. So, rather than focusing on what doesn’t work, we must now ask ourselves if there are other solutions that can work to correct this problem. In fact, there is one very cost effective and readily available alternative that is gaining grass roots support and that affordable housing advocates, apartment building owners and city officials can all support.


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  • Onward, Rogers Park’s Newest Fine Dining Option


    Rogers Park’s newest addition to the fine dining strip on the 6500 block of Sheridan Road truly is a fine dining experience. Not to be confused with Project Onward in Bridgeport (Google it, support it any way you can), our Onward is a pleasant addition to the Rogers Park dinner-scape. In several visits – once to the bar for appetizer’s and drinks and later again for dinners – we were well fed and well treated. In fact the ambiance and style of the place are worth describing even before getting to the food. For the first time in my years in our wonderfully proletarian neighborhood, I actually walked into a restaurant men’s room that had real cotton towels (not heated, unfortunately) instead of paper. I assume a similar perk for the ladies’ facilities. Even better, after each course, our waiter removed all of our used flatware and replaced it with clean utensils for the next course. On both of our visits to the dining room, service was unflaggingly friendly with both our waiter and the maître d’ attending to our table.


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  • Ups and Downs

    It’s been a wild start to the year and much of the news, especially over the past month, has been all about politics. Now, I know I’m supposed to steer clear of politics, but I can’t help myself. Both the local and national media have been obsessed with all things political. And who can blame them? With the release of the Mueller report and a riveting local election, there has been little appetite to talk about anything else.


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  • Around Rogers Park: Political Tsunami Washes Over Chicago / Rogers Park


    Chicago municipal elections are always a two-act affair. The general elections come first. This year, they were held on Tuesday, February 26th. Any candidate with more than 50% of the general vote is declared the victor; if there is no outright victor, then the top two candidates with less than 50% of the vote must face each other in a final vote in the runoffs. This year, the runoffs were held Tuesday, April 2nd.


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  • Around Rogers Park: Michael Cardinale, Founder of Chicago Chess Foundation, has Died


    Michael Cardinale first got involved with the Rogers Park Builders Group in the very early days of the organization’s existence when he worked for the Apartment People. He and former RPBG President Michael Wallk became close firends. It was Michael Wallk who first suggested that Michael Cardinale share his love for Chess with the kids at Gale Academy. What began as a casual interaction between Mr. Cardinale and Gale eventually grew into the Chicago Chess Foundation, an organization that touched the lives of 8,000 CPS students and spread the discipline and love of Chess throughout the CPS system.

    Mr. Cardinale remained actively involved in the Chicago Chess Foundation throughout his life and worked tirelessly with kids across the city, spreading his love of Chess and the many benefits it imparts to those students willing to take the time and effort to learn to play the game.

    Michael died of glioblastoma on March 16 at the age of 54. He is survived by his wife, Autumn Mather. He will be greatly missed by those long-time RPBG members who knew him, and by the many students at CPS to whom he so selflessly devoted his time and talents.


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  • Around Rogers Park: Building Projects Progressing in Rogers Park


    Three residential developments continue to take shape across the Rogers Park community: Concord on Sheridan, 1323 W. Morse, and Elevation Lofts.

    The Concord on Sheridan property should be completed by the fall or winter of 2019. The building has topped out at eight stories, and contains 111 units. Of this total, 60% will be affordable and reserved for CHA tenants, and the remaining 40% will be market rate. The ground floor will contain retail space, including a 23,000 square foot flexible format Target store and 7,000 square feet for other retail tenants.

    Tawani is the developer of 1323 W. Morse and is it already on the market for pre-leasing. The first move-ins are anticipated this summer. The building is eight stories tall with five apartment floors on top of a three-level parking garage. There will be a total of 45, one and two-bedroom apartments, ranging from 620 square feet to 1,100 square feet. The location adjacent to the CTA Red Line station at Morse Avenue makes it especially appealing to downtown commuters and local residents alike.

    Jay Johnson is developing the Elevation Lofts, located at 1531 W. Howard Street. Jay and his company, Cornerstone Investment Group, is developing this site in partnership with Watermark Properties.

    Elevation Lofts will have 38 units of Class A rental apartments. The building will have 2,900 square feet of retail commercial space, automobile and bike parking, and storage on the first floor. The second through fifth floors will contain dwelling units in addition to a community room and fitness area. The building will offer a roof-top deck with spectacular views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. The building has already topped out and the first residents should be able to move in during the summer of 2019. This is the first, new construction, market-rate apartment building to be built on Howard Street in many years.


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  • Around Rogers Park: Fritz Kaegi at RPBG April meeting


    Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi addressed over 100 members and guests of the Rogers Park Builders Group at its April 23rd meeting. In his presentation, Kaegi outlined his goals of bringing transparency, predictability and fairness to the property assessment process in Cook County and he described how he had brought in national experts to review current practices and to recommend best practices in assessments used in other parts of the country.


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