Winter 2023 Edition
Rogers Park Builder
Did anyone catch the Crain’s article, “Developers Adapt to Affordable Housing” by Alby Gallun that got published on November 21, 2022? Well, Mike Glasser, RPBG President, did. And it got him to thinking.
“Steve,” he said to me (I’m paraphrasing), “Crain’s wrote a really interesting article about how downtown developers are able to build new apartment buildings in the West Loop with the new tax incentives passed by the State Legislature, even though the ARO requires a 20% affordable set-aside in most of these buildings. Can you do a little research and see how this might impact development in Rogers Park?”
The latest assault on housing providers in Chicago comes from Alderwoman Rossana Rodgriguez-Sanchez, representing the 33rd Ward on the city’s northwest side (Albany Park/Avondale).

The Alderwoman introduced the Healthy Homes ordinance at a December meeting of the City Council. This ordinance would mandate apartment building inspections every five years to “prevent landlord neglect” and is based on similar ordinances already in place in Los Angeles and Boston.
Alderwoman Sanchez is one of five City Council representatives who caucus with the Democratic Socialists and has the support of 13 of her colleagues at this time.

According to an article in Block Club Chicago, the Metropolitan Tenants Organization, a tenant advocacy group, is leading the charge for this new legislation. The MTO has close ties with the Democratic Socialist and Progressive block of the Chicago City Council.
Belia Rodriguez never planned on running for the Chicago City Council. Even when encouraged by friends and associates, she pushed back, worried that she would have difficulty balancing the needs of the community and her thriving small business.
But she was also increasingly uncomfortable with the neighborhood’s direction in the wake of the “triple whammy” brought about by the pandemic, civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd, and the sharp political left turn under the leadership of the new Alderperson who talks a lot about consensus but who always seems to side with a core group of far-left ideologues.
I had fun with this last summer, so I thought I’d try it again. I’m always reading stuff that I think is interesting, but that I don’t necessarily get to bounce off anyone else. Well, here’s my golden opportunity!
I’d like to start with a random quote that I read in The Economist magazine (Lexington, “Listen Up,” Dec. 24, 2022 – Jan. 6, 2023) that just hit me like a ton of bricks for its simplicity and its truth. In my opinion, The Economist is one of the best written and most thoughtful publications I know. Yeah, it’s kinda long and I never manage to read it cover to cover. But no matter. There’s enough I get out of it to make it worth the price. Like, for example, this:

“America has no problem with speech. It has a problem with listening.”

Hard to argue the point. Feel free to disagree. Now, for more fun stuff to ponder!
There are a handful of people who more or less define the Rogers Park Builders Group, people who have been active in the organization and in the Rogers Park community for many years. Without question, one of those people is Mary Bao.

But if you have only known Mary since she moved back to Rogers Park in the mid-90s or through her involvement with RPBG, I guarantee you, there is a lot you probably don’t know about her. And what a story she has to tell! I can safely say that Mary has led one of the most interesting and amazing lives of anyone in the organization. For that matter, there are few people I know who have led more varied and interesting lives than Mary.

Mary’s roots in the Rogers Park neighborhood are deep. Mary first arrived in Rogers Park as a Kindergarten student at Rogers School. When Mary was nine years old, fellow RPBG Director, Carla Price, started dating her future husband Allan who, it just so happens, was a close friend of Mary’s brother. Yes, it can be a very small world indeed!
I’ve been alternately intrigued and alarmed about recent plans to convert the LaSalle Street corridor in the Central Loop into a mixed-use commercial and residential district. The city says it would like to see a handful of functionally obsolete, half-empty office buildings converted into as many as 2,000 new apartment units and wants to solicit bids from developers to make this happen. But is this a realistic proposal, or is it just a publicity stunt in advance of a competitive election?

As much as I like the idea of bringing more residential into the Loop – both to provide economic resiliency to an area over-dependent on office uses and to liven up what is basically a ghost town on weekday nights and on weekends – I have some pretty serious questions about costs.

Yes, it would be great to see the Loop turn into more of a 24-hour destination, following the example of River North and the Fulton Market District. Key to this transformation is bringing people to the area during non-working hours. It’s not a stretch to say that a good place to start would be to create more opportunities for people to actually move to the area and live there full-time.
By: Mike Glasser, RPBG President

A special event took place at Roger C. Sullivan High School on Martin Luther King holiday this year, as Friends of Sullivan sponsored Sullivan High School’s 3rd MLK Day Middle School Hoops Tournament.

Nine middle schools and over 100 students participated in the day long tournament - one which every participating team played at least two games. Between games, students enjoyed lunch and a learning & motivational program where educators and two Sullivan High School basketball players spoke with the kids about Dr. King’s legacy, “what it takes” to be a successful high school athlete, and what it takes to succeed in life.
Of course, the kids’ primary focus was on playing competitive basketball, and both of Sullivan’s gyms, including the newly renovated “Jan Schakowsky Gym,” offered a wonderful location for the student athletes to showcase their skills and talent.

First games launched at 8:30AM - and nearly ten hours later, a scrappy and talented team from Skokie, a basketball academy called Triumph, emerged as the victor, prevailing after some hard fought contests against Armstrong and Horace Mann.
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.