River North associations cautious about Wolf Point plan
(Above) Wolf Point, circled in red, where Hines Interests L.P. wants to build three mixed-use towers.
23-May-12 A plan to build three mixed-use towers southwest of Merchandise Mart was acknowledged at last nights River North Residents Association meeting but no one is commenting yet.
France Langan, the new chairman of the River North Business Association and also director of sales and marketing at the Holiday Inn at Chicago Mart Plaza the view of which would be blocked by the towers told a small crowd at Skoozi in River North that he would not tell you how we feel at the Holiday Inn about the project necessarily.
|(Right) Langan speaks at Tuesdays RNRA meeting.
He did point out that many photographs in National Geographic are of places no longer in existence. I invite everyone up to the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, said Langan. Take a look at the view that we have outside the windows. Who knows how long it will be there?
River North Residents Association and the Fulton River District Association are hosting a community meeting on May 29 at which representatives of Hines Interests L.P. will answer questions about the proposal. The complex will include 900-foot and 750-foot residential/commercial towers and a 525-foot residential building on land owned by the Kennedy family.
With support for the Wolf Point project from River North residents far from certain, former 42nd ward alderman Burton Natarus cautioned anyone planning to stop the project.
Its all right for the community to go in and for the alderman to go in and stop the project, said Natarus, alderman from 1971 to 2007, but then you got to stop and consider who it is, and whether they have money and whether they will go to court. Ive been in the courthouse several times and when youre in the courthouse youre in a different ballgame altogether.
||(Left) Natarus at his last city council meeting on May 9, 2007.
The Kennedy family, he assured the crowd, has money and probably the finest zoning lawyers in the city of Chicago.
Natarus says he has tried to convey the message to current alderman Brendan Reilly, who is organizing the May 29 meeting, but our communication isnt good.
Andrew Schaefer, chairman of the River North Resident Associations development committee, agreed with Natarus. None of us is interested in winning a pyrrhic victory where we successfully shoot down one thing only to have something even worse rammed down our throats.
Schaefer called it inevitable that something would eventually be built at Wolf Point. Its a parking lot in some of the most valuable real estate in the city of Chicago. And its not going to stay that way forever, just as any other parking lot in downtown Chicago doesnt stay a parking lot forever.
The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Wolf Point Ballroom at the Holiday Inn, 350 West Mart Center.
Toni Preckwinkle was scheduled to be the special guest speaker at Tuesdays meeting but according to RNRA president Mike Riordan, the Cook County Board president cancelled over the weekend.
Related story: Reilly to host Wolf Point presentation
By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | Published 23-May-12 3:01 AM