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16th Annual Trends Workshop

The year kicked off with as it always does with the latest edition of the Trends Workshop. This was the 16th Annual iteration of this popular event, and it was well attended despite uncooperative winter weather and snow.


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Linda Liberatore


The Rogers Park Builders Group lost one of its finest and most beloved members with the sudden and unexpected passing of Linda Liberatore in January. Linda was a newer member of the group, only joining RPBG in 2012, and only becoming a Director in 2017. But you would not have known it for the deep friendships she forged, and the active and important role she happily took on.


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Nicholas Hollenkamp, New RPBG Director


Rogers Park Builders Group brought in four new Directors at the end of 2018 representing a cross-section of the real estate industry and bringing with them new energy and ideas about what the organization is and can be.


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Sheryl Rosenberg - RPBG’s Administrator Featured in Sheridan Road Magazine


Rogers Park Builders Group’s Administrator par excellence, Sheryl Rosenberg, is creating quite a buzz outside of her part-time job handling the RPBG’s behind the scenes work.


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Verella’s Round-Up: Leasing Tips for the New Year


verella osborne

Statutory and technology changes have created some new opportunities and some new risks for property owners. Here are a few ideas about how to improve your lease documents in the ever-changing world of property management.


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Around Rogers Park: Record Cold Shuts Down Chicago and Rogers Park


“Thorndale Beach” Photo by Ronit Bezabel.

Double-digit, below zero temperatures were the order of the day all day Wednesday, January 30. Thursday, January 31st was only marginally better. These severe conditions prompted much of the city to simply shut down and hibernate, awaiting more temperate conditions before normal activities could resume.

In Rogers Park, as elsewhere, the cold made it difficult to get around, and saw many basic services either operating at greatly reduced levels, or not at all. The public schools and US Postal Service were just two examples of institutions that called it quits for the two-day period. Metra cancelled many trains, and the CTA struggled to maintain reduced service as the intemperate weather caused headaches for these transit agencies and their equipment.

The Lake Michigan shore looked more like Barrow, Alaska than Chicago. The surface of the Lake looked like it was on permanent slow-boil with steam continuously rising off the surface in the extreme cold. Meanwhile, snow and ice piled up on the shore. (Apologies to Barrow where is was actually warmer than Chicago.) Despite the inhospitable conditions, the Lakeshore was eerily beautiful and uniquely Rogers Park, although best viewed from the window of a Lakeshore apartment building.

Luckily for us, the extreme conditions did not last long. The city was back above freezing by Saturday. Rogers Parkers, and Chicagoans generally, are a hardy bunch. The neighborhood and the city seemed to be back to normal by the weekend.



Around Rogers Park: Onward Opens in Hampton Inn on Sheridan Road


Onward restaurant is now open on the ground floor of the Hampton Inn at 6580 North Sheridan Road. The restaurant is the latest entry on the rather short list of “fine dining” establishments in Rogers Park. Time will tell if it is more successful that other restaurants that aspired to bring fine dining to the neighborhood, but mostly failed in that effort.

Still, there is reason to believe Onward will be different. First of all, it is in one of the best locations in the neighborhood, just a block north of the Loyola Red Line Station, and nestled inside the successful Hampton Inn across the street from the Loyola University Campus. In fact, it is Loyola that owns and leases the retail space on the ground floor level of the hotel, and was part of the development team that got the property built in the first place.

In addition to the excellent location and Loyola affiliation, Onward benefits from a deep-pocketed investor (Michael Olszewski) whose previous experience includes Grace, the now-close, two-star Michelin restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop. Mr. Olszewski has tapped into the deep restaurant talent that has turned Chicago into a foodie paradise. He seems to have struck just the right balance between elegant dining and laid-back Rogers Park style. People that have been to the restaurant so far rave about it, and there is no question it fills a niche that no other restaurant north of Devon (and south of Evanston) fills. This is yet another feather in the cap of the Sheridan retail corridor between Devon and Pratt. Onward seems likely to become a Rogers Park favorite for both special occasions and just a fun night out on the town.


Around Rogers Park: Breaking News – New Microbrewery on Howard Being Considered


Howard Theater building


A new microbrewery is being proposed for 1617 W. Howard Street in the Howard Theater building owned by RPBG Director Jay Johnson. The brewery would be known as the Howard Street Brewing Company and would require a special use permit and a tavern license to operate.

The owner of the proposed brewery, Ryan “Chuck” Patella, has an established relationship with The Factory Theater which is currently located adjacent to the proposed brewery location. Mr. Patella believes a new brewery would be a complementary and synergistic use in a building that is emerging as the focal point of the Howard Street commercial district. Sol Café is located on the other side of the brewery space, and already serves as a gathering point for neighborhood locals in the Howard Street vicinity.

Although approval of the new brewery is not guaranteed, there is little doubt that this business would increase the appeal of Howard Street and bring more traffic and commerce to the area. If approved, Howard Street would take another significant step forward in reestablishing itself as a major entertainment district for the Rogers Park community. RPBG strongly supports the approval of the microbrewery on Howard and congratulates Director Jay Johnson for his tireless efforts to revitalize Howard Street and make his property a focal point for this commercial activity.


Around Rogers Park: Nick Kosiak’s State Farm Agency Building Destroyed by Fire


Saturday morning’s fire on the 7000 block of N. Clark
photo from Alderman Moore’s website

In the early morning hours of December 22, just a few days before the Christmas holiday, a fire broke out in the 7000 block of North Clark Street, destroying several businesses, including the State Farm Office at 7051 that housed RPBG Member Nick Kosiak’s insurance agency. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. Shortly after the fire, Nick was upbeat in spite of the devastation caused by the fire. Nick was confident that he would be back on his feet in the near future.

Well, it looks like that confidence was well founded. In a recent email update, Nick reports that he has secured a new lease for a permanent office location on Greenleaf, just around the corner from his previous location. If all goes as planned, Nick should be in his new office with full operational capabilities by February 4, a remarkable recovery from the unanticipated and unwanted events of late December.

If you haven’t seen Nick at recent RPBG meetings, you will understand why he has had other things on his mind. But Nick reports that he renewed his membership and expects to be at future meetings. We congratulate Nick on his quick recovery from a difficult situation, and wish him well as he gets back on his feet. We feel safe in our assumption that he was properly insured!


Around Rogers Park: CPS Schools in Rogers Park Continue to Improve


According to the 49th Ward Email of October 29, the most recent ratings for CPS schools in Rogers Park show continued improvement. CPS uses a rating system from 3 (lowest) to 1+ (highest), with intermediate scores of 2, 2+ and 1. The eight public schools in Rogers Park were all rated in the top three grades in 2018. Highest ratings were given to the Chicago Math and Science Academy and to New Field, both rated 1+. Three schools received a rating of 1: Acero / De La Cruz, Jordan and Kilmer. And three schools were rated a 2+: Field, Gale Academy and Sullivan High School.

As recently as one year ago (2017), three of the eight schools were rated a 2, the second lowest score on the five-point scale. Clearly, education is improving in Rogers Park, a good omen for the entire neighborhood.

RPBG is proud of the contribution we have made to the local public schools and is committed to continuing this effort for at least the next several years. RPBG has had an affiliation with Sullivan High School throughout the decade, and has expanded that relationship to other public schools in recent years. We applaud the progress these schools have made, and recognize the hard work and commitment of the teachers and staff that have made this happen. This is unquestionably a good-news story and an encouraging sign for the future of the neighborhood.



Doug Imber

I’m reminded lately of the final scene in Animal House after the Deltas caused a riot and Kevin Bacon’s character keeps feebly shouting “Remain Calm!!… All is Well!!” Then he’s flattened by a stampede of parade goers.


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