Summer 2019 Edition
Rogers Park Builder
The redevelopment of the Heartland Café would qualify as a big story in Rogers Park under any circumstances. But the fact that this will be the first, large scale construction project in the neighborhood under the leadership of newly elected Alderwoman Maria Hadden makes the story even bigger.

The Heartland site was acquired by AGE Glenwood LLC, an affiliate of the Goldman family in January of this year for $1.3 million. The Goldmans obtained a demolition permit in April. The old building has since been torn down and the site now awaits final plans and permits for a scaled-down redevelopment.
The new bill will still allow tax relief for new construction or substantial renovation of existing buildings of six units or larger. Like HB 2168, this bill, if adopted, will be mandatory in Cook County, and may be implemented in any of the other counties in the state with a majority vote of their respective County Boards. Like HB 2168, the new bill will require that a certain percentage of the units created (or renovated) offer rents affordable to households earning no more than 60% of area median income (AMI).
The Builder has been following the progress of the legislative effort to find a replacement for the Class 9 tax relief program that has fallen out of favor in recent years. Two previous articles outline how this new proposed legislation would work, and the bill introduced by Representative Sara Feigenholtz (HB 2168) to adopt this legislation into law.

While HB 2168 has not been passed, Senate Bill 2259 would address the same issue in a slightly different way. SB 2259 was introduced by Senate President John Cullerton (6th District) on May 23, 2019 and parallels the House Bill in many respects. However, SB 2259 relies on a different calculation to determine tax benefits for developers who choose to avail themselves of this program.
In the event that this bill is adopted into law, Illinois would immediate transform from a state in which no local unit of government is permitted to enact rent control, to a state in which no unit of local government is not subject to enforcement of a rent control measure that is at least as restrictive as what is proposed in this bill.

While passage of this bill is far from certain, it should serve as a wake-up call to property owners who will surely be surprised to learn how radical this rent control legislation is, and the lengths to which proponents of rent control, both in Chicago and in Illinois, are prepared to go.
Following in Oregon’s footsteps, New York State just passed tougher rent control legislation that not only increases rent control requirements in New York City, but allows other municipalities across the state to adopt rent control measures.

In New York State, as in Illinois, the 2018 elections resulted in a shift to the left at the state level. While the New York Assembly had long been run by Democrats, the New York Senate had been under the control of Republicans. This changed in the last election, putting Democrats in charge of both houses. It is the Democratic control of the state legislature than has made the most recent rent control law possible.
Tenant advocates in New York have been pushing for Universal Rent Control in recent years. While the new state law does not achieve all of the goals of Universal Rent Control, it does move the state closer to this goal. Among the changes in the new legislation are:
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Alderman Maria Hadden (49th) were among the dignitaries who attended Sullivan High School’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Monday, June 17th, commemorating the opening of the new Ellen Glasser Global Center.

The center occupies what had been the school library – a tired and worn space with a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture. The new Global Center will serve a vital purpose – as a focal point of the school’s burgeoning and diverse refugee and immigrant student body. Sullivan students represent over 40 countries and speak 50 languages. The Global Center is designed to support English Learning students and give them a ‘safe space’ for studying, socializing and working in small groups.
A year ago, Sullivan’s Principal Chad Adams asked the school's new nonprofit group, Friends of Sullivan, to lead the charge. FOS took on the challenge, raising funds and transforming the library into the Global Center – a dignified, fully-restored room with new carpeting and modern, adaptable furniture that would maximize comfort and learning experiences for students. (Friends of Sullivan is a group formed by engaged community members to support Sullivan and name possible funding for much needed opportunities and equity for its students.)
As I See It
Mike Glasser, RPBG President
Last weekend, two exciting new venues opened their doors in Rogers Park.

On Sheridan Road, entrepreneur Liz Ahearn opened a destination business called “Picnic Wine and Provisions” where patrons can connect over wine, food and more. Picnic also will also “sell wonderful wines, a variety of platters and small plates, coffee and conversation, indoors and outdoors.” With highly successful Rogers Park Provisions celebrating its fourth year on Glenwood, and Taste Food and Wine offering the same on Jarvis Square (near the El line), Rogers Park can now proudly proclaim that we are the most “provisionist” community in the Midwest!

Also this past weekend, Whiskey Hill Pizza and Brewery celebrated its grand opening. The restaurant has a comfortable inviting ambience with a great looking bar, large televisions, tasty brew and wonderful food that has given the Salerno family the deserved reputation as great Chicago Italian restauranteurs. With Sol Café, Factory Theater and another successful business soon to open, RPBG Director and developer Jay Johnson is completing a vision of providing exceptional destination venues in the Howard Theater building.
Steve Cain
Mike Glasser has been a real Debbie-downer lately. Our illustrious President has been sending out email after gloomy email, mostly having to do with the increasingly hostile political and regulatory environment in which developers and property owners must operate.

Sadly, these emails keep coming because things really do seem to be getting demonstrably worse. One email in particular really got my attention. This was an email with a link to an article that appeared recently in Jacobin magazine which describes itself as a “leading voice of the American left.” The article is entitled, “Developers Want to Destroy Chicago. We Won’t Let Them.” The author is Cristina Groeger.

I read the article with a sense of both horror and alarm. As expected, it paints a dystopian picture of rapacious developers destroying the lives of hapless Chicagoans who have been victimized by out-of-control capitalism. Upon finishing the article, I automatically assumed that the author was yet another idealistic, but ill-informed “progressive” spouting off the party line arguments that reverberate inside the echo-chamber of her like-minded peers. So I Googled Cristina Groeger to see what I could find out about her.
Verella’s Round-Up
Verella Osborne, President, Legal Document Management, Inc.
Having just returned from a 24-day vacation this week, my brain is still in holiday mode. The following is a grab-bag of unrelated issues that have all arisen within the last few months:

1. Increased Eviction Filing Fees: The Circuit Court of Cook County increased court filing fees for evictions by at least 50%, effective July 1, 2019. The Circuit Court has eliminated of much of its payroll and many of its personnel since mandated e-filing began.

Also, for the first time in filing history, the court has affixed different fees depending on the type of eviction complaint filed. I started prosecuting my own evictions in 1975 and have processed evictions for attorneys since 1982. Until July 1st, there was no advantage to a landlord to file a “single action” eviction instead of a “joint action” complaint.
Builders Group News
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.
Around Rogers Park
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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.