Plans for Lakeshore East high rises halted by Alderman

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly rejected the proposed development of three
buildings in Lakeshore East known as the “IJKL” parcels on Dec. 13 in an email to
constituents.

The highrises, proposed by Lendlease and Magellan Development Group earlier this year, would have added 1,400 residences throughout three new buildings. The project would also add 3,000 construction jobs and generate an approximate $20 million in annual revenue.

The statement from Ald. Reilly’s office said that “after reviewing the neighborhood
feedback, and discussing with the City Department of Planning and Development, Reilly determined to not move forward with the project.”

The development groups first proposed their plans to the community at a meeting
on July 10, showing renderings of the sleek new buildings. The meeting lasted three hours and drew more than 1,000 residents who gathered to voice their concerns. After the meeting, Ald. Reilly said his office “received hundreds of letters, emails and calls objecting the proposal.”

After requiring the developers to host public meetings with every residential building in the neighborhood and considering the many concerns raised by
locals, Ald. Reilly formally rejected the IJKL plans as presented.

Reilly sent several suggestions to the development companies, providing a list of changes that need to be made before he will consider future plans for the site. The list included more active, usable open space, elimination of a proposed grand staircase and zigzag pedestrian path, relocation of the Harbor Drive pedestrian access point and fencing between the parcels and lower Lake Shore Dr.

The alderman also called for tighter security. He suggested a staffed guard station on the lower level to monitor pedestrians, regular security patrols, installation of way-finding signage at the lakeshore access point and improved lighting and surveillance cameras that can tie-in to the City’s OEMC security camera network.

According to Rielly’s office, residents will be notified if the office receives an updated
proposal and a “transparent community process” will continue if the project moves
forward.

Shoreham and Tides change management companies

By Stephanie Racine and Taylor Hartz | Staff Writers

Published January 5, 2018

Magellan Development Group is out-sourcing the property management of the two oldest buildings in its portfolio—The Shoreham and The Tides.

The Shoreham, 400 E. South Water St., was the first building in Magellan’s Lakeshore East development in New Eastside and was completed in 2005. The Tides, 360 E. South Water St., was completed in 2008. Both buildings had been managed by Magellan Property Management until December 12, 2017, when Lincoln Property Company—based in Dallas, Texas—took over management of the two residential buildings.

The Tides building, 360 E. South Water St. is now managed by Lincoln Property Company. Photo
by Stephanie Racine.

Irini Boeder, the assistant Vice President of Marketing for Lincoln Properties confirmed the change. “Lincoln Property Company, the second largest property company in the nation, has been selected as management by the existing ownership group,” Boeder said in December last year.

Staff of the two buildings were notified of the change by supervisors in early November. When the announcement broke, Shoreham and Tides desk and maintenance staff were uncertain if they would retain their jobs. Residents were sent an email right before the holiday season last year, informing them no checks would be taken for the annual staff holiday fund collection due to a change in management companies.

Shoreham resident Norma Alanis said she was upset about the loss of the holiday fund, but she was happy with the overall change. “[Lincoln Property Company]
maintains their properties very well, so I am looking forward to the changes they will make to the common areas” Alanis said.

In the confusion, Shoreham residents submitted a petition in a bid to encourage Lincoln Property Company and Titan Security Group, the company charged with employee management, to keep their beloved doormen on staff.

Doorman Fred Crocker, who worked the first shift on the opening day of the Shoreham 13 years ago, was one of the staff members who had to navigate the change
in management. “Residents went above and beyond. I think the petition worked,”
Crocker said. “I got a phone call from a representative at the new company saying
I’m not losing my job and that nothing is changing.” The phone call came a day after the petition was submitted in December.

James Hatter, a doorman at the Shoreham who manned the second shift on the day the Shoreham opened, said all desk staff now work for Titan Security Group, 616 West Monroe St. Hatter said he had a good first impression of Titan Security, describing it as a big company that runs a tight ship. The longtime doorman said the new management is a big change. “Everyone is a little afraid of change after so long being comfortable,” he said.

Still, Hatter’s goal is to remain optimistic. “I’m trying to keep positive,” he said. “I’m
happy to get the opportunity to stay on. We’re not just getting paid out and let go.”
Magellan Property Management and Titan Security did not respond to requests
for comment.

How New Eastside transit elevators stay clean and operational

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

The elevators that serve nearby CTA stations, such as Clark and Lake and Washington and Wabash, are crucial parts of the transit network. The CTA operates 168 elevators in Chicago, and keeping them running correctly is a daunting task.

“Our elevators are used by thousands of people a day, every day of the year,” CTA media representative Irene Ferradaz said in an email. “Additionally, many of our elevators are exposed to the elements, meaning they suffer significantly more ‘wear and tear’ than an average elevator.”

According to Ferradaz, the CTA currently employs 15 contracted workers for elevator maintenance and repair, including administrative employees, mechanics and
supervisors. These employees perform daily routine maintenance on the elevators,
and respond to between zero and eight elevator calls a day.

The Pedway elevator, between Macy’s and the Lake Red Line Station is maintained by Fleet and
Facilities Management, a city department. Photo by B.David Zarley.

“All elevator breakdowns are considered important and responded to as quickly as
possible by our contracted staff, since being out of service impacts our most vulnerable
customers—those with disabilities or who are wheelchair dependent,” Ferradaz said.

Whenever one of the CTA’s elevators breaks down, it is reported to the CTA
control center by CTA customer service assistants or representatives and “Out of
Order” signage is placed on the elevator.The control center then alerts mechanics who are on call 24/7.

One elevator in the Pedway just outside Macy’s is an integral link to the Loop for New
Eastside residents and has been known to break down, leaving users unsure of whom to
report the maintenance issue. Operated not by the CTA or Macy’s, this elevator actually
falls under the purview of Fleet and Facilities Management, a city department.

Engineers from the department regularly check the elevator, according to an emailed statement from a department spokes-person. If the elevator is out of order or dirty—common problems include jammed doors, as well as human excrement and
urine—there is a 24-hour number to call that is indicated in the elevator. Mainte-
nance and repairs on the Pedway elevator are contracted to Anderson Elevator.

Other widely used elevators that provide New Eastside residents access to the city
are located at the Northwest corner of the Lake Shore East Park and the Lancaster el-
evator at the eastern end of the Park. These elevators are maintained by Magellan De-
velopment Group. Issues with the elevators can be directly reported to Magellan by
calling (312) 469-8100 or to New Eastside News at (312) 960-3092, who will forward
the maintenance request.

GEMS School built on hopes and dreams

By Nicole VandeBoom
Staff Writer

GEMS World Academy Chicago celebrated the laying of their Upper School foundation, 355 E. Wacker Dr., with a hope-filled building dedication ceremony on Dec. 14. The ceremony was attended by students, faculty, parents, and community members who gathered outside the construction site.

A Lucite box filled with messages illustrated and written by students and faculty about their hopes and dreams for GEMS was placed inside a wooden box and cement was poured over it—the new school will literally be built on the hopes and dreams of its community.

Siena Guccione speaking to the crowd. To the
right, Lileny Lone and Andrew Sherman. Photo
by Nicole VandeBoom.

To open the ceremony, music teachers Christopher Roebuck and Robert Mayfield, playing guitar, led the students in the performance of the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun.”

Interim Head of School Andrew Sherman gave an opening speech about the
future of GEMS. “At GWA we recognize that non-cognitive skills such as cooperation, resilience, empathy and leadership along with the acquisition of academic material determine student achievement,” Sherman said.

Sherman explained that the new building is designed to allow a student-centered model for teaching and learning to prepare young people to engage in innovation. Other speakers included the CEO of GEMS Americas, Denise Gallucci, Director at Chicago Forum on Global Cities, Vanessa Vardon and two GEMS students, Siena Guccione and Lileny Lone. Guccione, a freshman, ended her speech by saying, “Different environments of a school really set the mood for the students. As for our school, a very positive one. I can’t wait to
spend my next few years learning in this new and outstanding environment.”

GEMS had been waiting on the approval of a building permit that they received the day after the ceremony. Director of Marketing, Alissa Calamino explained the dedication ceremony came to fruition as a desire to celebrate how far they’ve come in this process.

“It is important to celebrate. It’s exciting to have the permit in place and
we start building after this,” Calamino said.

The opening date of the Upper School has been pushed back, with no set date
announced. In order to accommodate their growing school body, GEMS is in the
process of seeking out a nearby temporary learning space for Upper School students.

Grades 2–9 were able to attend the ceremony outside, while the younger students watched a live-stream video from inside the warm gym. Several screens were set
up outside allowing spectators to witness cement being poured on top of the box.

The Driehaus Museum: Ode to the Gilded Age

By Matthew Reiss | Community Contributor

On a recent stroll through Streeterville, I came upon a tourist attraction I had never seen before—The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St. In truth, I have probably walked past it several times, but its proximity to the Magnificent Mile made me assume it was a restaurant or an upscale store, when in fact, tucked away in the heart of Chicago’s retail hub is an elegant museum that houses an impressive collection of Gilded Age art.

Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus founded the museum 2003 with a vision to influence today’s environment by preserving and promoting the architecture
and design of the past.

The museum’s palatial building was once one of the most expensive private homes
in Chicago, featuring ornate stained glass and 18 different types of marble. Elegant
furnishings and Driehaus’ prodigious collection of late 19th century art adorn each room, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of the era’s wealthy. At the center of the home is a giant vault that was used to protect valuables. Marble statuary stands in the green-hued library, a round room topped with a green stainedglass dome and decorated with green glass chandeliers.

Driehaus Museum. Photo courtesy of Richie Diesterheft.

The home was built in 1883 for the
Nickerson family to replace a home that burned in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Owner Samuel Nickerson became wealthy by selling alcohol to the Union Army for use in explosives in the Civil War.

The Nickersons were so afraid of losing
their new residence to a similar fate that they attempted to build a fireproof house. Non-flammable materials such as marble were used, and the rooms were designed to contain any conflagration. The Nickersons sold the house in 1900 to Lucius Fisher, who redecorated the home with his collection of animal trophies, some of which can be viewed in the museum.

The second floor of the Driehaus Museum formerly housed family bedrooms. It is now the site of the museum’s special exhibitions. The museum will be featuring a new exhibition, beginning February 10.

The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design will display an array of chairs creat-
ed by noted designers, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. This exhibition will explore how these artistic master-works were shaped by the cultural trends prevalent during their construction. The decorative rooms of the Driehaus provide the perfect backdrop for these special works of functional art.

Grocery delivery options in New Eastside

By Miriam Finder Annenberg and Stephanie Racine | Staff Writers

While in the past New Eastside residents had no choice but to shop at stores in
person, recent years have seen an uptick in grocery delivery services.
Mariano’s Lakeshore East rolls out its online ordering and delivery service this January with ClickList, a curbside pick- up service that can be downloaded as an app, or accessed via the Mariano’s website.

John Nelson, owner of Vroom and resident of
New Eastside. Photo by Daniel Lewis

ClickList includes some helpful features, such as leaving notes attached to specific items, so that preferred ripeness or freshness of items is assured.

“Compared to other Mariano’s, we serve a lot more delivery,” said Mariano’s Lakeshore East Store Manager, Megan Gleeson.

Across the Chicago River, Whole Foods offers customers the option of online orders and delivery through Instacart.

The convenience of grocery delivery can be worth the additional price for residents. Peapod offers similar online and app ser-
vices. “I have used Peapod for grocery de- livery for four years,” said resident Connie Mayse. “I find the food to be of excellent
quality and the service to be invaluable as an apartment dweller.” Door to Door Organics is yet another option, focusing primarily on fruits, vegetables and other staples like milk.

According to Carolann Samuels of Door to Door, the company sees an increase in
business in winter. “Depending on what you get in a box on any given week, you will also get some recipes for meal planning,” she said.

At Bockwinkel’s, customers shop for groceries in-store and both Bockwinkel’s
stores in New Eastside—at Harbor Point and at Park Millennium–will deliver within
Lakeshore East at no extra cost.

Delivery isn’t limited to food. Vroom, a new service in the area, delivers alcohol in addition to certain grocery store items.

“We’re excited to be working with a local business, Burnham Liquors, to bring quick,
on-demand delivery to Lakeshore East,” said owner John Nelson. Vroom delivery to New Eastside is particularly special to Nelson. “As a local resident myself, I appreciate the ability to order a case of beer or some last-minute grocery items delivered in under an hour,” Nelson says.

Mariano’s Lakeshore East
333 E Benton Pl. Suite 206,
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 228-1349 / www.marianos.com

Whole Foods – Streeterville
255 E. Grand Ave,
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 379-7900 / www.wholefoodsmarket.com

Bockwinkel’s
222 N. Columbus Dr. / 155 N. Harbor Dr.,
Chicago, IL 60601(312) 228-9920 / www.bockwinkels.com

Peapod
(800) 573-2763 / www.peapod.com

Door to Door Organics
www.doortodoororganics.com

Vroom
www.vroomdelivery.com

The fleet beneath our feet

The Loop’s Streets and Sanitation office lies under New Eastside, with a fleet
that manages everything from street cleaning to snow sweeping

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

Part of the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation fleet hides below the New Eastside. The Loop Operations Office located at 351 E. Lower Randolp St., handles the central business district stretching roughly from 22nd Street to North Ave. and from Lake Michigan to the western boundary of Damen. During Cubs season, Loop Operations extends into Wrigleyville.

The office parking lot is stocked with cornflower blue garbage trucks, in both traditional style and split body, and white pickups outfitted with a six-yard garbage bin in the back, that can more easily navigate Loop traffic. There’s a street sweeper decked out in Cubs pinstripes hailing the 2016 Championship, a stake body truck, and a cab with a long flat bed—the workhorse that hauls Street and Sanitation department equipment.

Deputy Commissioner Cole Stallard inside an office at the Department
of Streets and Sanitation’s Operations Office. Photo by B. David Zarley

The impressive display of civic muscle provides a window into the multi-faceted operations of the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s Loop Operations Office which according to its website, handles over one million service requests per year. Everything from garbage, graffiti and snow removal to hand sweeping and special event security is managed from beneath the feet of New Eastsiders.

“This is a very multi-purpose office, and it’s unique to the city,” said Cole Stallard, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Street Operations. According to Stallard, cleaning graffiti, hand sweeping and garbage collection are about the only constants of the job. “Every day is a new day down here, due to the fact that there’s just so much going on in Chicago,” he said.

The office takes on the task of snow removal and preparations for the major haul begin in July, requiring a team of about 100. Other preparations include snow fencing of Lake Shore Dr., coordinating supervised manual labor through the Sheriff ’s Alternative Work Program, street sweeping and cleanup of refuse left by the homeless.

Loop Operations is almost always open and staffed; Monday through Friday the office is open 24 hours, while Saturday and Sunday it is open for 16 hours each day. “The only day that this office closes is Christmas Day,” Stallard said. “And we come back Christmas night.”

Part of what makes Loop Operations unique is its role in special events like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Chicago Marathon and the Cubs’ and Blackhawks’ title celebrations. In addition to cleaning up after these events, Loop Operations also helps toprovide security and crowd control. Their snow plows are sometimes used as crowd barriers.

According to Stallard, the long hours and ever-changing challenges are well worth it, as Loop Operations employees take pride in keeping the most forward face of the city clean and safe. “I’m fortunate to have down here people who really care,” Stallard said.

Gene Siskel film center is taking the show on the road

By Taylor Hartz

For the first time in 17-years, the screens will go dark at The Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute.

The non-profit theater, which opened at its current 164 N. State St. location in 2001, announced that it will close for renovations from Dec. 1 through Jan. 4., after feedback from patrons stressed that updates were necessary.

The film center has beens screening “cutting edge” films in Chicago since 1972, and has an annual audience of 85,000 film-lover who view 1,500 screenings a year. With 200 filmmaker appearances every year, the center has a calendar full of film festivals, restorations and revivals of classic films, and debuts of independent filmmakers.

But film aficionados need not worry. While the center’s theaters are being updated, off-site screenings are taking place across the city. Movies and Film Center staff will travel to other theaters and cultural centers around Chicago, presenting four films as part of a “Gene Siskel Film Center On Location” from Dec. 3 through 10.

“The Gene Siskel Film Center is known and celebrated for serving various communities in Chicago through film so it’s only fitting that we give back by bringing highlights from the past year to select venues around the city,” said executive director Jean de St. Aubin.

“While our theaters will be closed during our December programming cycle, continuing to present movies elsewhere is essential to maintaining our presence and brand while on hiatus, and to remind film lovers that we aren’t going away.”

The off-site program debuted on Dec. 3 with a showing of “I Know a Man….Ashley Bryan” at the Logan Center for the Arts. The film profiles a beloved children’s author and illustrator, known for books like “Beautiful Blackbird” and “Dancing Granny.” This film made its Chicago debut in Aug. 2017  at the film center, during the 23rd Annual Black Harvest Film Festival.

Photo from “I Know a Man…Ashley Brown” provided by Gene Siskel Film Center.

The off-site series concludes Dec. 10 with a showing of “Kedi”, which had its Chicago premiere in January 2017 as part of the series “Stranger Than Fiction: Documentary Premieres.” This film showcases street cats in Istanbul, and the screening is followed by an event where guests will get to interact with cats, and maybe even take home a new pet. The event, with the Tree House Humane Society and Hyde Park Cats, will give film patrons the opportunity to adopt felines following the screening, or donate cat and dog food for furry friends in need this holiday season. 

Photo from “Kedi” provided by Gene Siskel Film Center.

The film center will reopen to the public in the new year on Jan. 5. Movie-goers can expect new seats and carpeting in the theaters, which will also be rewired to include enhanced assisted listening technology. Renovations will be completed by the architecture firm Gensler, which handled the building’s design in 2001. 

The newly renovated theaters will first screen “Keep Talking”, a documentary about four Alaska Native women fighting to save Kodiak Alutiiq, an endangered language in Alaska that is currently spoken by less than 40 fluent native elders. The second debut film will be “Tom of Finland,” a story of Finnish homoerotic fetish artist Toku Valio Laakson and his impact on LGBTQ culture in the late 20th century.

Tickets to each screening are $11 for general admission, or $5 for students. Advance tickets are available online and at the Film Center box office. Film-lovers can also purchase an annual membership, that drops the price per screening to $6.

 

 

For residents with disabilities, how accessible is New Eastside?

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

November 15, 2017

If you were in a wheelchair, could you get to your favorite restaurant? Would your daily commute be possible if you could no longer walk? Most of us do not bother to ask these questions, but for some New Eastside residents these are questions that must be asked every time they leave their home.

With its wealth of new construction, bus routes, the accessible Washington/Wabash CTA station, Pedway access and the wheelchair-friendly Millennium and Maggie Daley parks, New Eastside is more accommodating for people with disabilities than many other neighborhoods. While the amenities do not add up to an all-accessible utopia, they do make for an environment more easy to navigate—especially in the bitter throes of a Chicago winter—than many others in the city.

Disability advocate Michele Lee outside the AON Center, 200 E. Randolph St. Photo by B. David Zarley.

Providing shelter and connecting businesses, cultural institutions and transit options, the Pedway system is often a viable route for residents with disabilities. Maureen Reagan, president and founder of MRA Architects Ltd. uses a powered wheelchair and said the Pedway is “a godsend in inclement weather.”

Accessibility advocate Michele Lee, who also uses a powered wheelchair, agreed. “I think it’s great that New Eastside has the Pedway system ingrained in it,” she said. An employee of AON and former resident of Harbor Point, Lee also serves as a local guide for Google Maps, helping to rate and collect data on accessibility for various locations.

Accessibility is not only important for people with disabilities, but also useful for parents pushing strollers, shoppers shuttling carts and travelers trailing luggage. However, not all parts of the Pedway are accessible. The Pedway entrance and exit at Prudential Plaza, next to Millennium Station are obstacles faced by travelers. With revolving doors, escalators and stairs, this entrance and exit form an impassable gauntlet for those who need an accessible route from New Eastside into the Loop.

A little-known accessible path does exist, connecting New Eastside to the Thompson Center in the Loop. However, no maps suggest the long route which passes beneath the Aon building and along a Metra train platform, and most people discover it only after really exploring the Pedway. In order to increase awareness of the wheelchair-friendly route, community Pedway tours sponsored by New Eastside News, have led groups along the accessible path from New Eastside to Macy’s on State St.

Macy’s Pedway elevator. Photo by B. David Zarley.

City-wide programs aim to help address accessibility challenges. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities have a variety of useful resources such as Accessibility Compliance Units, which can be requested for site inspections. Groups like Access Living advocate for people with disabilities, providing information and referrals, and teaches skills for budgeting, moving around town and seeking employment.

For more information about the accessible Pedway route, community members should contact

New Eastside News.

Email info@neweastsidecommunity.com or

call 312-690-3092.

Workers ready Skating Ribbon and McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

November 15, 2017

The ice comes under the cover of darkness. Layer upon layer, thin sheets of water are laid down hot by Zamboni ice resurfacers. Freed from the deleterious effects of direct sunlight, the layers accumulate until they make a fine sheet. Come 12 p.m. on November 17, visitors will be able to lace up their skates and feel the bite of their blades as another skating season begins. 

Both the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon are managed and maintained by Westrec, a marina management company that also contracts with Chicago Harbors. Before Westrec begins to lay ice, the glycol cooling systems running under the rinks are checked to make sure the chillers, compressors and piping that carries the glycol are running properly. The glycol system takes one to two days to cool the surface of the rink.

This maintenance process begins in the fall, according to Westrec Executive Vice President Scott Stevenson. “When the weather gets cool enough, we’ll then start to build ice,” he said. Temperatures should be below freezing at night and no higher than 40 degrees during the day, according to Stevenson.

After the surfaces are completely coated with these initial layers of water, the ice gets painted white with water soluble paint. White is not merely an aesthetic choice. “The white paint helps reflect the sunlight and helps us maintain the ice during the skating season,” Stevenson said. While the ice can withstand spring-like temperatures—55 to 60 degrees on the Ribbon or even a balmy 65 degrees at McCormick Tribune—sunshine is the enemy.

After the paint is applied, the Zamboni lays down up to 30 layers of ice, putting two to three inches between skaters and the paint. In addition to creating a smoother surface—the best ice, Stevenson explained, comes by laying hot water—the thin layers that the Zamboni lays even allows for ice to build on the slanted and uneven grade of the Ribbon. With problem-spot shaving blades, regular Zamboni passes are the majority of the maintenance the rink and Ribbon require during the season.

Sophie Slotnik (left), Dillon Johnston and Isa-belle Pihlträd skate at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in winter 2016. Photo by Elizabeth Johnston.

“It’s kind of a wintertime tradition for many people to come downtown and skate in Millennium Park,” said Kenya Merritt, deputy commissioner at the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Merritt says Loop skating has long been the norm in Chicago. Before the Millennium Park rinks were open, downtown skating took place at a rink that was located where Block 37 now stands, 108 N. State St.

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