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Planned Fulton Market district to get $42M from city

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 Fulton Market Lineup

Fulton Market Lineup

Update on the still-in-proposal-stage plan for making a Fulton Market Historical District…

The city plans to allocate more than $42 million to improve parts of the West Loop included in its proposed Fulton Market Innovation District, a plan being pushed by the mayor as a way to encourage yet corral the neighborhood’s explosive growth.

The investments will kick off with the construction of a $500,000 gateway arching over Fulton Market at Halsted Street to welcome visitors to a proposed historic market district honoring the meatpacking companies and food wholesalers that have been operating there for a century.

The bulk of the $42.6 million allocation of public money, about $16 million of which is still pending approval from the city’s Department of Transportation, would go to infrastructure improvements like street paving and sidewalk repairs along Kinzie, Fulton Market, Randolph and Lake streets. Most of the money will come from the existing tax increment financing district, set up in 1998, though an estimated $10 million proposed for rebuilding Lake Street would be a mix of local, state and federal funds.

 …

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who spearheaded the innovation district plan, said the driving force for it was the surge in real estate deals that followed the 2012 opening of the $38 million Morgan Street CTA station.

“When we make these investments, they spur a series of private-sector economic development and opportunities for the city and growth,” Emanuel said. “And here, which is unique, you’ve got to do it in a way that strikes a balance between the history, and the preservation of that, while you embrace the change that is occurring simultaneously. And I think we’ve come up with that equitable balance.”

Designating the area an “innovation district,” a growing trend in cities, highlights the mix of traditional manufacturing, tech companies, social scene and transit access that has become important to attracting a young, creative workforce. Some of the employers coming to the area, including Google, SRAM, Uber, Brooklyn Bowl and Soho House, are expected to add 2,385 jobs, according to figures provided by the mayor’s office.

“It is and represents a new direction of the city’s economy,” said Andrew Mooney, commissioner of the city’s Department of Planning and Development. While the city has other emerging “innovation centers,” the restaurant-rich Fulton Market area is unique because of its historic and current connection to food, and the fact that it is not linked to a university.

(click here to continue reading Chicago Tribune – Top Business – Planned Fulton Market district to get $42M from city.)

Nothing Ever Stays The Same
Nothing Ever Stays The Same

Also, first time we’ve heard of this plan:

The city also announced a new public bike station it has planned for the lower level of an 83,000-square-foot former meatpacking building under redevelopment at 210 N. Green St., where New York-based WeWork plans to open a collaborative workspace next year.

The 3,100-square-foot bike station, which aims to accommodate bike commuters with locker rooms and showers as well as bike storage, will be privately operated by WeWork as a business and use no public funds, though the mayor brokered the arrangement, city officials said.

 Sounds good, more biking amenities is good news for the City, imo, especially when one of the options of becoming a WeWork member is “Free Beer”1

Fulton Market Food & Liquors - mural
Fulton Market Food & Liquors – mural

and still some current property owners are whining about not being able to sell their historic buildings to developers who will then raze the building, and replace the 19th century brick structure with a drab condo building with architecture inspired by Home Depot. Viva capitalism!

The land use plan, which will be adopted as policy by the planning department this summer, does not overtly change zoning but imposes guidelines for how parts of the proposed district — bordered by Halsted, Ogden, Randolph and Hubbard Streets — should be developed.

The most controversial part of the plan calls for portions of Fulton Market and Randolph Street to be given historic landmark status to preserve the character of storefronts that are the last remnants of the city’s food-manufacturing past. The neighborhood’s three major community groups — the Randolph/Fulton Market Association, the West Central Association and the West Loop Community Organization — have all formally opposed the landmark proposal, saying they’re concerned about the restrictions that would prevent demolition of some buildings and dictate the design of all.

Footnotes:
  1. I’m not kidding, look []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 23rd, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Fulton Market historic district

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I Think I Saw It On Fulton Street
I Think I Saw It On Fulton Street

We’ve mentioned this proposed historical district plan before, and we’re still enthused by it. However, not everyone is.

While it maintains the existing zoning, the plan provides guidelines for how the neighborhood should be developed so that officials deciding the fates of the many projects being proposed can follow a strategic vision, said Steven Valenziano, assistant zoning administrator with the Department of Planning.

The part of the plan that imposes historic landmark status on buildings within a section of the district — along Fulton Street between Racine Avenue and Green Street, along Randolph Street between Carpenter and Halsted streets, and the swath of Sangamon Street from Fulton to Randolph — is being met with staunch resistance from some Fulton Market business and property owners.

They worry the preservation restrictions will handcuff them to obsolete buildings, making it hard to do business if they need to make building improvements, or reduce the resale value if they decide to leave.

Holding My Life in My Hand
Holding My Life in My Hand

“It turns my business into an exhibit in this theme park,” said Melissa Otte, part of the family that owns the butter, cheese and egg distributor Meloney Cunningham & DeVic at 1114 W. Fulton St., which is one of the buildings that would be landmarked. “It’s really upsetting to hear that you’re history when you still work there.”

(click here to continue reading Fulton Market historic district could kill what it honors, critics say – chicagotribune.com.)

Eggs Cheese and Butter
Eggs Cheese and Butter

Seems like Melissa Otte’s long term plan was to raze her building, and sell it to developers to build generic condos on. So sorry.

Some more photos of Fulton Market are just a click away

 

Written by Seth Anderson

May 23rd, 2014 at 1:12 pm