Fall 2023 Edition

Rogers Park Builder

ADUs: City-Wide Expansion of Pilot Program Proposed

Newly elected Alderman Bennett Lawson (44th Ward) ran on a Value Statement that included three basic goals:

  • Extend the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) pilot program across the entire city
  • Cut red tape for small businesses
  • Reduce speed limits citywide to make Chicago safer and friendlier for pedestrians and bikers

After winning the election, the Alderman wasted no time acting on these goals. His very first action at his inaugural City Council meeting on May 24, 2023 was the introduction of an ADU Ordinance that would greatly expand the geographic reach of the pilot program currently in effect.

A quick review of the proposed Ordinance reveals a surprisingly simple proposal.


Newest Twist on Rent Control

Falling neatly into the category of “can’t take no for an answer,” the Progressive / Democratic Socialist wing of the Democratic Party in Illinois is, once again, looking for ways to get around the state’s ban on rent control. Having tried to do this directly every year since 2017 – and having failed each time – this group of radical lawmakers has now come up with a novel new way of achieving their objective.

Newly-elected Representative Hoan Huynh (pronounced Hahn Win), who won his 13th District seat in 2022 and first took office in January 2023, has proposed HB 4104 – referred to as the “Let the People Lift the Ban” Act.

This bill takes a novel approach to the vexing problem of how to get rid of the state’s ban on rent control. If passed, it would allow municipalities in Illinois to unilaterally declare that the state-wide rent control ban does not apply to them, so long as a majority of the citizens of that municipality vote to do so.


11th Annual NBOA Summer Soirée Enjoyed by All

Once again, the NBOA Summer Soirée lived up to its reputation as one of the real estate industry’s most anticipated events. The weather was picture-perfect, attendance was high, the food and comradery were top-notch and the fundraising was truly impressive.

The event took place on Thursday, August 3rd. Like the previous year, this year’s Soirée event was held on the grounds of the Loyola University Chicago campus on the large lawn area between the Halas Recreation Center and the Cudahy Science Building.


RPBG Supports the Glenwood Ave Arts Fest

The 22nd annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) took place on the weekend of August 18-20. As in past years, the event was a huge success.

The festival is the largest public event in East Rogers Park, occupying five city blocks and the Family Dollar parking lot and attracting 10,000 - 15,000 people. The festival showcases the best of Rogers Park but is open to people from across the region and beyond.

The festival is produced by the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, a 501(3)c organization, whose mission is to make Glenwood Avenue and Rogers Park a destination for the arts and to create lasting benefits for the business and property owners in the general area. It is one of the only neighborhood festivals organized and produced with local volunteers, in contrast to the promoter-sponsored events that dominate Chicago’s summer festival roster. GAAF is truly one of the most unique and popular art festivals anywhere in the city.


Seven-Year Sweep

We do a lot of hand-wringing here in the Windy City about the many problems we face and how intractable they can often appear to be. But occasionally we get a reminder that all is not doom and gloom on the southwest coast of Lake Michigan.

We do a lot of hand-wringing here in the Windy City about the many problems we face and how intractable they can often appear to be. But occasionally we get a reminder that all is not doom and gloom on the southwest coast of Lake Michigan.

One of those regular reminders has been Condé Nast Traveler‘s Readers’ Choice Awards which just named Chicago the Best Big City in the United States for the seventh year in a row! Not bad for a place certain right-leaning politicians love to hate and that regularly gets portrayed as a living hell-hole where you can’t walk out your front door without being accosted or shot!


Michael Glasser, There When We Need Him

One of my first questions when I write a Member profile is always, “how did you get involved in the Rogers Park Builders Group organization?” Almost invariably, the answer is some variant on, “Mike Glasser got me interested and brought me in.”

So, when I started interviewing Mike about his way to our organization, I was genuinely interested in how he found us and got involved. Of course, in Mike’s case, “getting involved” hardly does justice to what Mike has done for the organization, and for small and medium-sized apartment owners across the neighborhood, city and region.


Rents and Taxes

Two recent articles in Crain’s Chicago Business give us reason to be both optimistic and pessimistic about the business of owning rental property in Chicago.

The first article, by Danny Ecker, “Downtown Apartment Rents in ‘Calm Before the Storm’” (August 25, 2023), makes a case for why rents are poised to increase quickly in 2025. Citing data from Ron DeVries at Integra Realty Resources-Chicago, apartment rents in downtown Chicago are projected to see a big jump in 2025 due to the equally sharp drop-off in apartment unit deliveries that is tied to the rapid rise in lending rates. The article links the rise in rates to the difficulties many developers of multifamily properties are having in obtaining financing for their apartment projects. A tighter lending market means fewer projects will get loans, resulting in less construction and fewer deliveries a few years hence.


As I See It - Bidding Adieu to the “Steve Cain Era” as Editor/Writer of this Newsletter

Our Rogers Park Builders Group website contains a special section – one that I urge you to visit.

At this link, you can find a special archive of RPBG’s prior newsletters, from Fall 1999 all the way to the present.

The RPBG sent out its first quarterly newsletter in 1996, under the direction of then President Michael Wallk. The editor and chief writer, Terry Sacks, a Rogers Park resident, was an accomplished writer. He and his wife Mary Jane shared in the duties of handling administrative tasks for the RPBG and Terry’s passion was our newsletter, which he named “The Builder.”

Through its 27 year history, the RPBG sent out The Builder to its sprawling database of followers (consistently over 1500 persons). The process of writing the newsletter, laying it out and printing it was only part of the challenge. Mary Jane used to have newsletters scattered throughout her and Terry’s apartment, as they would fold, tape, stamp and prepare the newsletter for mailing.

I urge you to enter our archives and read a few of its articles. For instance, our Fall, 1999 newsletter offers a headline that shows that issues have not changed over the years: “RPBG Supports Plan to Convert Units in Howard North Area for Affordable Condos.”


Ups and Downs - Fall 2023

Ever since I first took on Newsletter-writing duties for Rogers Park Builders Club, I’ve kept a spreadsheet with information from each edition, tracking both articles and word-count across the years. I guess I did this just to stay organized. It also made it easier for me to look things up once a Newsletter was published and I had moved on to the next one.

Little did I know when I first got started that this spreadsheet would grow to almost 750 lines of data. It’s almost like a time-capsule. Thanks to this spreadsheet, I know that my first Newsletter went out in the Summer of 2010, a little more than 13 years ago. Including the current Fall 2023 Newsletter, I have put out 54 editions totaling almost 400,000 words.

You can credit (or blame) Marty Max, our amazing former RPBG President, for roping me in. Anyone who knows Marty knows he’s a force of nature and not someone who takes “no” for an answer easily. Besides, I liked to write and had already contributed articles to the Newsletter. I figured I was up to the challenge. After all, how hard could it be?!?


Around Rogers Park

Migrant Arrivals an Ongoing Challenge for Chicago

New 400 Theater Shuts its Doors

Almost Believable…

(773) 491-1235 | www.rpbg.org
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Rogers Park Builders Group encourages and supports responsible residential and commercial property investment, development, and ownership in the Rogers Park community.