Ashland & Division (Pizza Hut) Property

by Scott Rappe

In the wake of the article regarding the Pizza Hut property in last month's newsletter I have contacted all of the surrounding community organizations and both Chambers of Commerce encouraging development of more than a typical free-standing franchise on the site. All of the feedback I have received has been positive and it is on the agenda of several organizations as a matter to be considered.
I presented EVA's position to the Planning, Development & Zoning Committee of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce. They were very receptive to the idea. They subsequently wrote a letter to Alderman Flores expressing support for EVA's position. The committee will seek a formal endorsement of the idea from the Chamber's Board ofDirectors at its next meeting.

I received an email from the West Town Chamber of Chicago Chamber of Commerce stating that the Board of Directors "agrees that independent businesses should be encouraged as opposed to large corporate chains" and will inform its general membership of the issue in their next newsletter. Additionally I have been copied on several letters to the Alderman from residents and business owners who want to see appropriate transit-oriented development on the Polish Triangle.

I have made efforts to get the word out to several high-quality developers that there is growing community support that might allow a dense mixed-use building if appropriately designed. The hope is that the potential for increased profits might be sufficient motivation for a developer to navigate its way into the corporate real-estate bureaucracy of Walgreens or Pizza Hut (at this time it is unknown whether title to the property has been transferred).

I met with Alderman Flores, who assured me that he shares our concerns and has conveyed them to the property's owner & developer, Integra Development. He is waiting for them to bring a formal development proposal for the site to him and has committed to involve EVA in the process. The Alderman was pleased to learn of the growing community awareness and support for the idea.


Zoning Change Request at Chicago & Winchester

I have received a preliminary inquiry regarding a zoning-change request for the lots at the northwest corner of Chicago & Winchester. Strangely, the lots, which run north south and face Chicago Avenue are zoned both B3-2 (south half) and RT-4 (north half).

Jack Guthman, the attorney representing Ranquist Development, is requesting that the lots be rezoned entirely as B3-2. Following PPD Committee protocols, a letter with a checklist of required submittal materials was sent to the developer's attorney. The project will require demolition of the existing
building.

I encourage everyone to visit the site to familiarize themselves with the existing building and email me with their comments.

Scott A. Rappe, Chairperson
srappe@kplusr.com