Ashland and Division: A Brief Recap of the Issues!

by Scott A. Rappe, AIA

Since March, when Pizza Hut closed, we have advocated for a better use for this prominent site. The fact that there is no single argument for our stance, but rather several distinct ones, strengthens the validity of our position. Here is a brief overview of why we need a multi-use, multi-story, transit-oriented development on this site:

  • Increased community density provides a greater customer base to attract and retain the types of local businesses we all want.

  • Focusing this density on the perimeter of the neighborhood, near public transit options, reduces the number of cars and the intensity of traffic in the community.

  • Satisfying some of the local housing demand with a large multi-use building, rather than through continued demolition and construction of multiple small structures uses less material and energy for construction and results
    in lower longterm operating costs.

  • A large building at this corner, mirroring the MB Bank, will create a gateway to the Division Street restaurant and retail district, as well as the West Town neighborhoods beyond.

  • Development of pedestrian-focused storefronts, rather than freestanding chain stores in parking lots, will reconnect Division Street to the Polish Triangle and integrate this important public space back into the community.

  • A public space, like the Polish Triangle, belongs to the community and should not be exploited by national chains to establish corporate identity.
    -Proper development of land adjacent to a Blue Line station, like this property, should be a prime focus of Chicago’s attempts to "green" itself in response to global climate change.

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