Zoning Request for Proposed Downtown Office High Rise to be Deferred

The long-delayed plan to construct a 53-story office tower in the Loop may be on today’s agenda, but it won’t see any action. The zoning committee will defer a rezoning request from real estate developer Tishman Speyer, who has been trying for years to turn the surface parking lot and surrounding vacant land at 130 N. Franklin into a glass, angular high rise.

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (43) reportedly promised to expedite the project. He held a community meeting in April inviting the developers to present their plans to local residents (slideshow presentation and traffic study). A month later, the applicant, 130 N. Franklin LLC, submitted an official zoning request to redesignate the 65,000 square foot property as a Planned Business Development site, a requirement for large-scale construction projects. The proposed building would be approximately 1.3 million square feet, with office space, retail, and parking.

But all “T1” designated Planned Development projects need prior approval from the Plan Commission before the City Council can take action, and since this item wasn’t discussed at the Commission’s monthly meeting last week, it will have to be deferred.

When asked about the status of the ordinance, Ald. Reilly said he wouldn’t submit the developer’s proposal to the Plan Commission until he was satisfied. “I’m not done negotiating the final project,” Ald. Reilly said in an email, “so timing could get pushed out a bit longer. [It] Depends on how negotiations over the site plan goes.”

South Side Hadiya Pendleton Park Expansion
Document #O2015-3739

Another item on the agenda, if approved, would green-light the Chicago Park District’s plan to turn a quarter acre play lot into a two acre park. The site formerly known as Buckthorn Park was recently renamed Hadiya Pendleton Park in honor of the King College Prep High School student who was fatally shot by local gang members in 2013. Pendleton performed as a drum majorette in President Barack Obama’s second inauguration and earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement speech to Pendleton’s classmates. Ald. Pat Dowell’s (3) ordinance would rezone the vacant land around the park from a residential zoned district to a neighborhood park zone. Plans include a new playground, interactive water feature, a walking path, and fitness stations.

Fulton Market Landmark Designation
Document # O2015-4588

The Fulton Randolph Market District could be one step closer to obtaining landmark designation if the Zoning Committee approves Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance on behalf of the Department of Planning and Development.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved landmark designation for Fulton Market last month, despite opposition from local business and property owners who argued landmark status would reverse decades of economic investment in the neighborhood. The Near West Side community, historically known for its industrial buildings, meat and produce markets has become one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods. DPD said the city must recognize and preserve the historic significance and importance of the district’s historic streetscapes and buildings. The City Council will get the final say. If approved, 142 properties would be affected by the change. Here’s a brief FAQ on Landmarking from Preservation Chicago.

Citywide Composting Expansion
Document # O2015-4193

This ordinance would expand the list of compostable materials at community gardens and urban farms to include biodegradable food packaging and utensils. The ordinance would also create a city-wide registry of community gardens and urban farms. Farms that want to make their own compost would have to pay the city $3,000 for a three year permit. Non-profit farms could apply for a discounted, $300 annual permit.

Proposed Arcade Restrictions
Document # O2015-4207

Ald. Deb Mell’s (33) ordinance would change the zoning requirements for amusement arcades. The Municipal Code defines an “amusement arcade” as any place that offers four or more games that patrons have to pay to play.

Deferred Agenda

University of Chicago’s Charter School Proposal
Document # O2015-2587

The University of Chicago requested a zoning change to construct a new charter school, The University of Chicago Charter School-Woodlawn, on the city-owned property known as Residential Planned Development Number 723. The University originally proposed expanding their Woodlawn campus, but eventually decided to build a new facility on the property which expands over several addresses, or about 2 acres of land (1101-1145 East 63rd Street; 1100-1144 East 64th Street 6300-6336 South University Ave; 6301-6337 South Greenwood Ave ). According to the application, the school for middle-school and high-school students and will be three stories tall and about 70,000 square feet. It will also include “extensive green roof space, outdoor activity space, on-site parking, and community space”.