LAKEVIEW — Au revoir, 2013.
It's been a big year for Lakeview. Developers, from the Chicago Cubs to a gay hotelier, saw opportunity in our streets for dramatic changes — and of course, not all the residents got behind some of those changes.
Beyond plans for some new developments, neighbors — and a precocious new blog — started poking police and local officials with another wave of safety concerns.
1. City Passes Cubs' Wrigley Field Renovation Requests: The team started telling neighbors about initial plans late last year, but 2013 was full steam ahead to plan changes for one of the city's biggest tourist destinations — and its surrounding neighborhood. The intense series of negotiations between the Cubs, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel lasted nearly the entire year. Both residents and Tunney cried that the Cubs' plan changed every time they looked again. Cubs and rooftops fought in the press. People fought for more parking and less parking. And then the city finally passed all the finishing touches on the plan earlier this month. Of course, the team won't actually start implementing the plan until a deal is struck with the rooftops.
2. New Crime Blog Starts Covering Lakeview Crimes: Lakeview residents have been raising crime concerns during the summer for a while now, but the anonymous Crime in Wrigleyville and Boystown blog that started in April was a game-changer in how residents talked about crime. All of a sudden, crime details — accompanied by a heavy dose of attitude — were available 24-7. Residents emailed local officials, started petitions and showed up in droves at community police meetings, quoting the blog. It's not always fair, and it gets details wrong now and then, but at least one thing's for sure: It's created quite a stir this year.
3. Chateau Hotel Shuttered for Renovation: The single-resident-occupancy hotel, 3838 N. Broadway, long drew complaints from neighbors for fighting, loitering and drug use, and its sale this year to a trust partly owned by developer Jamie Purcell was heralded by many residents as just what the neighborhood needed. But the quiet sale and predicted rises in rent drew several protests to the doors of Purcell and Ald. James Cappleman (46th). Without places like the Chateau, activists said, it's becoming more and more difficult for low-income people to live on the North Side.
4. Developer Proposes LGBT-focused, 'Straight-Friendly' Hotel for Boystown: Ian Reisner's plan to build a luxury, boutique hotel The Out Hotel Chicago for 3343 N. Halsted St. was about cementing Boystown as a gay destination. Reisner already owns a similar hotel in New York, and many area business owners welcomed the $30 million investment with open arms, saying Halsted needs to be revived. Lakeview does need more boutique hotels — past studies of the neighborhood show it would boost the local economy — but Tunney sided with residents who said Reisner's design was too tall and out of place for the neighborhood. Reisner is still at the drawing board, hoping to debut a design that makes both businesses and residents happy.
5. Southport Could Soon Look More Like Gold Coast: The popular Southport commercial corridor is seeing its share of changes this year. Real estate company L3 Capital upped its Southport portfolio to seven buildings, making it a major driver for the street. That means more international high-end clothing retailers that will complement Gold Coast's Oak Street. The purchase displaced local favorites Candyality and Anthony's Italian Ice, both of which moved farther north on the street, but other mom-and-pops couldn't handle how upscale Southport is becoming. Frida's Mexican, Safari Cup, Bad Ass Coffee and Bell Studio, to name a few, all left this year.