West Town Chamber on Division/Ashland development

August 12, 2011

The Commercial Development Committee and Board of Directors of the West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce are very concerned about the future re-development of the south-west corner of Division and Ashland Avenues. The WTCCC is concerned not only with the potential development of a one story stand alone structure at that location, but also with the many other prime commercial corners in West Town being developed in the same manner with generic structures, chain stores, and satellite banks. The former Pizza Hut site on Division and Ashland is a prime example of a site that could be re-developed with more thought for the surrounding architecture and for the current and future needs of the community.

The corner of Division and Ashland Avenues is a gateway into the Wicker Park and East Village neighborhoods. The site is adjacent to the Polish Triangle, the CTA blue line Division stop, and across the street from the historic MB Bank building. The potential development on the south-west corner could become "historic" in the future if an architecturally significant, multi-storied mixed use building of the same scale as MB were erected as opposed to a generic one story concrete eyesore.

The Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development should be made aware that the mass majority of the non-profits, chambers, residents, and community groups in the West Town area are ALL against a stand alone one-story development going in at Division and Ashland. The community at large is also concerned with the future of our commercial corridors for what seems to be a trend of major corners being developed with generic structures, chain franchises, and satellite banks. This spot planning, parcel by parcel approach does not seem to be working, and we need to be focusing on improving the bigger commercial development picture.

Please take the stance of the entire West Town business community into consideration in regards to this project and require the developer of the property at the south-west corner of Division and Ashland to build a more significant and appropriate multi-storied mixed-use structure, with more of a chance to have a positive impact on the community.

Thank you,
Kara Salgado
Executive Director
West Town Chamber of Commerce

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