Friday, May 14, 2010


Jason Chin's blog has some information on last night's photo shoot and what all is going on. Unfortunately, I was unable to be there.

44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunnney is in favor of the $100 million project so that should tell you something and I'd prefer to keep politics off of this blog but it's so upsetting to the comedians in Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times has an article that was published this morning.
Bar, theater and restaurant owners lambasted Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) on Thursday for endorsing a $100 million mixed-use development across the street from Wrigley Field that will sweep them out of the "cool, hip neighborhood."

Roughly eight neighborhood businesses would be displaced to make way for "Addison Park on Clark," a project at Addison and Clark that includes a 137-room Hyatt Hotel, 135 residential units, 145,000 square feet of retail space and 399 underground parking spaces.[...]

On Thursday, displaced business owners fired back. They accused Tunney of selling out independent merchants who live in the neighborhood in favor of a mall that would "bring suburbia to Wrigleyville."

"It'll be the end of a very hip neighborhood," said Charna Halpern, owner and director of iO Theater.

A neighborhood haunt since 1995, the former ImprovOlympic is where Halpern and her business partner, the late comedy legend Del Close, taught improvisation to future stars, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers and Jack McBrayer.

"People like being able to walk to iO, see a fun show for $14 and go dancing at Wild Hare afterward. It's a fun block that's good for the neighborhood. On a Saturday night, it's like Mardi Gras. It's not just about the Cubs. Now, there'll be nothing. It'll be Best Buy. How exciting is that on a Saturday night?"

Other business owners voiced similar complaints but declined to comment publicly.

Halpern directed her anger at Tunney, owner of Ann Sather's Restaurants.

"We're the people who elected him because we thought he was a man of the people -- that he wouldn't be bought out by big business," she said.

"If some business owner bought up his property and wanted to throw him out for a Friday's chain, we would have his back. That's how people feel here."

Tunney said nobody knows better than he does the trauma faced by a displaced business.

In the 1980s, he was forced to move Ann Sather's, 925 W. Belmont, to a former funeral home next door because his lease had expired and the landlord was converting the building to condos.

"I put my life savings into owning a piece of property so I didn't have to do it again," Tunney said.

Calling himself the City Council's most "pro-business and pro-small, independent business" member, Tunney promised to work with all of the displaced businesses to find new locations in Lake View.

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