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  #1  
Old Posted May 12, 2018, 1:03 AM
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SpireGuy SpireGuy is offline
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Chicago doesn't care about its architecture.

Chicago is squandering its architectural legacy. Historic preservation in Chicago is very broken and only applies to the limited buildings and districts that are landmarked. All other structures are fair game for developers. The 90-day demolition delay seems to be a farce to placate preservationists.

I don't know how to stop this. I am at a loss for words at the self-inflicted wounds we give ourselves in Chicago. The Department of Planning and Development DPC does not try to protect our treasures. If you look at the Historic Preservation Commission at DPC there are no minutes about the structures we've demolished after issuing demolition permits after (or before) the 90-day demolition delay expires.

Why does Chicago, a city that prides its self on architecture, not have a preservation community that has the ability to create change? Why is there limited conversation around preservation in Chicago, aside from a few activists? Also, what can SSPers in other cities teach us?

Here are some of the buildings Chicago has demolished (or will in the next month) in the PAST 6 MONTHS ALONE, including a building in the West Loop by Daniel Burnham and a prairie style power generating station by Graham Anderson Probst & White. While everything can't be saved, at least we should have a conversation and try; much of what Chicago demolishes is in good condition. What replaces these buildings is cheap and mundane. Thank you for your insight!

I'm having trouble uploading photos from flickr...

Here is a link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/154293...h/41148209845/


































Last edited by SpireGuy; May 12, 2018 at 4:02 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 12, 2018, 9:58 PM
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James Bond Agent 007 James Bond Agent 007 is online now
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To link photos on Flickr ...

1. Click on the photo in your photostream
2. At the bottom-right there are 4 icons. One is a curved arrow thing that says "share photo" when you hover over it. Click on that
3. A popup will appear. Select the "BBCode" on the popup if it isn't already showing by default. This gives you the code you need to copy to show it on a forum
4. Copy the code in the thing that starts [url=https:..."
5. Please do not select the largest size. Really large photos are annoying for those of us who aren't using a cellphone or tablet. The smaller of the two "Large" sizes are about as big as you want to go, typically.
6. Paste the URL into the reply box on the forum. You do not need to add extra [img] and [/img] tags since Flickr already provides them.

So you get this:

PowerPlant 1 by Chicagooan, on Flickr


If you don't want all the extra stuff around the photo ("PowerPlant 1 by Chicagooan, on Flickr"), you can strip out everything outside of the [img] and [/img] tags to give you something like this:

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  #3  
Old Posted May 12, 2018, 10:44 PM
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I agree that too many historic buildings are torn down here in Chicago without what seems to be even a whimper from many people. It seems to me that this city is so focused on building for the here and now (and the future), that the past seems to be forgotten as truly important. That being said, it's not that there's not a vocal historic preservation group in Chicago, it's that there's literally nothing they can do to institute any real action due to the heavy hand of the developers, at least for the most part.

It's sad, but perhaps it's a function of the fact that so much of Chicago's early architecture was destroyed during the Great Fire, so rebuilding was seen as far more important than preserving what remained. That attitude seems to be prevalent still to this day.

Aaron (Glowrock)
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Old Posted May 12, 2018, 11:22 PM
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I'm going to be a bit of an outlier here and say that historic preservation is going strong in Chicago.

A LOT of the city's classic built environment has been getting rehabbed for another generation to enjoy. I personally have played a small role in that.

Of course there have been demolitions. But there has been a LOT of preservation. I don't know whether I can accept that this is truly a tragedy or not.
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 3:29 PM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
I'm going to be a bit of an outlier here and say that historic preservation is going strong in Chicago.

A LOT of the city's classic built environment has been getting rehabbed for another generation to enjoy. I personally have played a small role in that.

Of course there have been demolitions. But there has been a LOT of preservation. I don't know whether I can accept that this is truly a tragedy or not.
Idk...I think we've lost a lot, continue to lose a lot, and will lose more unfortunately. I'd personally be for stricter preservation ordinances where it makes sense. I'd start with most if not all of the north side. Also the near west and south sides.

There are a lot of old warehouses, hotels, and larger MF buildings that warrant protection. A lot of rotting gems in not so glamorous parts of the city too...
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  #6  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 3:41 PM
lio45 lio45 is offline
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From SpireGuy's flickr:




Why the F would anyone demolish those? They seemed solid enough. There's no market on this planet too expensive to make rehabbing buildings like this financially viable.

Unless they're in the CBD and in the middle of other expensive vacant lots, allowing for land assembly suitable for a skyscraper or something, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 3:47 PM
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I can see why buildings like these are being demo'd in Englewood.

But Wicker Park? I agree it's puzzling
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 4:07 PM
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Why Englewood? (I am thoroughly unfamiliar with Chicago's neighborhoods.)

The only areas where I could understand such buildings being demolished would be in some areas of inner Detroit that are reverting to urban prairie - and even then, the City's land bank should acquire them, board them up, and wait.

If they're in a slummy area, whoever has them is better off renting them for a song to bad tenants, or else just waiting for the area to improve, as vacant land there would be absolutely worthless (and you have to factor in demo costs).

If they're in an okay area / moderately nice area, again, you're much better off doing a mild rehab in order to be about to rent them or resell them - MUCH cheaper than demo + new construction.

If they're in a high end neighborhood, in a place like London or Paris, you're better off spending a million or two to make them gorgeous, then sell them for several million, than to spend more money to tear down solid walls and floors and end up with something that won't have the authentic/historic cachet of these buildings.

As I said, the only case where I would find it acceptable to demolish them would be if they're the lone holdouts preventing an entire CBD block from getting a nice skyscraper built on it.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 5:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
I can see why buildings like these are being demo'd in Englewood.

But Wicker Park? I agree it's puzzling
It's happening all over Lakeview where I live. It's too bad. I have never seen a city destroy so much of it's old housing stock as Chicago
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 6:04 PM
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What are they replacing them with?!?
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  #11  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 6:19 PM
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Buildings like this. I do admit they are doing a way better job with the new than 15-20 years ago


This is a few buildings down from me. They torn down a beautiful old grey stone for this
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 6:22 PM
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What are they replacing them with?!?
I'm guessing a lot is replaced with parking podium towers.
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 6:22 PM
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Last edited by bnk; May 13, 2018 at 6:34 PM.
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  #14  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 7:04 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is online now
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
I'm guessing a lot is replaced with parking podium towers.
Uhhhhh.....in the neighborhoods? No
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 7:53 PM
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 8:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
I'm guessing a lot is replaced with parking podium towers.
You'd guess wrong.
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  #17  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 10:03 PM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Originally Posted by Investing In Chicago View Post
You'd guess wrong.
Yeah, the most recent stuff to go up in the neighborhoods is doing a great job of paying homage to the existing architecture. I love that the front porch is back. Still not the same as the tried and true though...hopefully the new stuff weathers as well.

A lot of the stuff that went up in the late 90s and 00s (before as well) was awful.
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  #18  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 10:22 PM
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Agree with y'all (except The North One), it's great infill architecturally, very appropriate, and would be perfect to fill existing holes in those neighborhoods (lots that are already vacant), but demolishing a nice solid historic building to make room for that should never be allowed.

Cities here operate pretty much like this. Want to apply for a demo permit? Denied, unless the building is evaluated by the City to be beyond repair. So you'll have to sell it to someone who'll restore it, and find yourself an already vacant lot to build that project of yours. In practice, it works.
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  #19  
Old Posted May 13, 2018, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Agree with y'all (except The North One), it's great infill architecturally, very appropriate, and would be perfect to fill existing holes in those neighborhoods (lots that are already vacant), but demolishing a nice solid historic building to make room for that should never be allowed.

Cities here operate pretty much like this. Want to apply for a demo permit? Denied, unless the building is evaluated by the City to be beyond repair. So you'll have to sell it to someone who'll restore it, and find yourself an already vacant lot to build that project of yours. In practice, it works.
Agree with what? I simply made a guess.
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Old Posted May 13, 2018, 10:41 PM
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Uhhhhh.....in the neighborhoods? No
In the core, yes.
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