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An Interview with Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi


Fritz Kaegi is a man on a mission, and his “to-do” list is long. He will need time and resources to get everything done, and both are in short supply. But, if my one-hour interview with Mr. Kaegi is any indication, Mr. Kaegi is not put off by the challenge. If anything, he strikes me as being very much up to the task.

 

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Report from Eastlake Terrace: Rising Lake Levels Threaten Lakefront – Part 1


 

Source: Chicago Tribune

This is not the first time the Eastlake Terrace beaches, parks and buildings have been impacted by high lake levels. In 1986, lake levels were at a 100 year high with serious damage to both private and public properties. As of July of this year, the average Lake Michigan-Huron water levels were within a few inches of that 100 year high. This is just after a 100 year low in 2013. Apparently, global climate change and its related extreme weather patterns is impacting our lives in a very direct fashion.

 

 

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As I See It: What’s Behind the Just Housing Ordinance?

 

On January 1, 2020, two new protected classes will be added to the 15 that already exist under Cook County Human Rights laws:

  • Ex-offenders with criminal convictions that occurred more than three years in the past (excluding registered sex offenders or child sex offenders subject to residency restrictions) may not be denied housing
  • Ex-offenders with criminal convictions within the past three years may still not be denied housing until the housing provider conducts an “individualized assessment”

 

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Rogers Park Market Update

 

The continuous barrage of political and economic news can seem overwhelming at times. This information shapes the aggressiveness or conservativeness of our buying and selling attitudes. Despite the affect this news assault has on our moods, how much does it really influence the Rogers Park market? Does trade policy with China impact gross rent multiples on Touhy Avenue? Do impeachment proceedings in Washington alter price-per-units on Eastlake Terrace? And how much do the fears of rent control, housing plus and property tax reassessments change the capitalization rates on Estes Avenue?

 

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DOH Announces New ARO Task Force


Source: KIG Analytics

The constant torrent of local and national news is distracting. It is also probably the reason you may not have heard about the newly formed Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) Task Force. This announcement was made on October 14th by the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) under the auspices of newly elected Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The Task Force will be charged with revamping the current ARO which was first adopted in 2003 and was most recently changed in 2015.

 

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California Adopts Statewide Rent Control Restrictions

 

Source: Patreon; AirBNB v Rent Control

California recently joined Oregon as the second state in the nation to adopt statewide rent control legislation. The California measure passed on September 11 and was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8. The law limits annual rent increases to five percent and offers additional protections to tenants facing evictions. Oregon passed its rent control legislation – the first such statewide law in the nation – in February of this year.

 

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Ibrahim Shihadeh Interview



Everyone has a story to tell. But, let’s be honest, some stories are more interesting than others.

I recently had the great pleasure of sitting down with Ibrahim Shihadeh, a prominent property owner who has long been active in Rogers Park, and who is now a Director at RPBG. Ibrahim was born in 1948 in a small village in Palestine, not far from Jerusalem. The story of his journey to America is extraordinary. Even more extraordinary is what he did with the opportunities he found in his adopted country. For someone with a fascination (some would say fixation) on immigration, I can think of no better example of the benefits of immigration than by simply telling Ibrahim’s story. While it is true that he is a man of extraordinary drive and ability, it is also true that Ibrahim’s accomplishments in this country would have been much harder to replicate in his native land given the difficult circumstances of that part of the world, both then and now. In many ways, Ibrahim is the personification of the American Dream and is an inspiration to us all.

 

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Ups and Downs - Fall 2019


We are staring down the end of one year and the beginning of another – and not just any year. Twenty-twenty promises to be like no other, with an election looming that will be as momentous as any in recent memory.

 

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Around Rogers Park: New Construction Apartments Filling Up

 

Thirteen-23 West Morse is a Tawani Enterprises that replaces a former strip center at the southeast corner of Morse and Wayne. A spokeswoman for the company reports that the building is complete and currently 96% leased. Achieved rents are in line with projections.

 

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Around Rogers Park: Loyola’s New “Francis Hall” Nearing Completion

 

While not technically in Rogers Park, Francis Hall is close enough to merit an honorable mention. The structure of the new, eight-story residence hall is up and, according to RPBG’s Jennifer Clark, will be completed and ready for occupancy by August 2020. The building is located on the 6300 block of North Winthrop, just south of Sheridan Road. Francis Hall is just the latest example of the dramatic changes that the Loyola Campus has experienced since the dawning of the new century.

Expansion of Loyola south of Devon Avenue took a major step forward in 2013 when the 6300 block of Kenmore was closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall. There is talk of closing the 6300 block of North Winthrop as Loyola’s footprint south of Devon continues to expand. The University continues to look for development opportunities south of Devon Avenue and west of Sheridan Road as the land-locked University seeks to expand beyond the confines of the original campus. Francis Hall is just the latest development to occur south of Sheridan Road. It will certainly not be the last.

 

Around Rogers Park: Alderwoman Hadden Supports B3-5 Zoning at Rogers and Sheridan

 

The question of what to do with a mostly vacant building at the northwest corner of Rogers Avenue and Sheridan Road is on the agenda of Alderwoman Maria Hadden. This site has long been owned by a property owner who has proven unable or unwilling to bring this site up to its full potential. This is especially unfortunate, given its prominent location along Sheridan Road and its high visibility on this important north-south thoroughfare through the community.

For many years, this site housed Biddy Mulligans, a popular live music venue and pub. Biddy Mulligans operated at this location at least since the 1970s. Since closing in the early 2000s, the building has been dominated by vacant storefronts on both Sheridan Road and Rogers Avenue. Currently, the only tenant in occupancy is the Beach View Wine and Spirits liquor store that occupies the corner location.

The Alderwoman has reached out to the community to provide guidance about what to do with this site, and how to encourage a more appropriate use for the entire community. At a recent community meeting held at Willie Whyte Park, the Alderwoman heard from many local residents, most of whom expressed support for allowing the zoning to revert to its most recent B3-5 designation. This zoning would allow for a sale to a new owner who would be able to develop a larger, mixed-use property. Many community members felt that a more restrictive zoning designation would only make it harder to sell the property and redevelop the site, meaning more years of no activity and vacant storefronts.

Tom Heineman, Director and Treasurer of RPBG, spearheaded the effort to communicate with the new Alderwoman and deliver the recommendations of the RPBG Executive Committee which strongly supported approval of B3-5 zoning for the site. RPBG also believes that a redevelopment of the site is preferable to the likelihood of many more years of vacant storefronts and missed opportunity for this important parcel.

We applaud the Alderwoman for her decision to approve B3-5 zoning for this site. We thank Tom and the Executive Committee for their advocacy and attention to this matter.

 

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