Got a couple other things in the works, but for the moment, a developer read my post at Streetsblog last week about how Metra needs to get some people near its damn stations and proposed a 20-story rental tower across the street from a station in suburban Park Ridge. Park Ridge is not amused:
“Something like this is not going to be well-taken. And it’s not well-taken by me,” said commissioner Jim Argionis.
“We can’t make this work. This can’t be done,” Kocisko said. He added that though the city may generate added property tax from the development, there would also be an increase in city services required for so many new residents.
Kirkby called the plan “preposterous” and compared the design to something that might be found in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood or in Dubai.
A couple thoughts.
1. That is one ugly building. (There’s a rendering in the article I linked to.)
2. Park Ridge is exactly the kind of suburb/neighborhood that is hugely desirable and yet has used its zoning laws to keep out the kind of people for whom moving to Park Ridge would be a major advancement in terms of neighborhood safety, access to jobs, and high-quality public education. As of 2010, Park Ridge was 93% white, the median family income was $110,000, and the median house sold for $420,000. It’s got to be less than half an hour on Metra to downtown Chicago. And yet Park Ridge – like, say, Lincoln Park – actually lost population between 2000 and 2010.
3. In the real world, Park Ridge is never going to approve a 20-story glass box in the middle of a small, low-rise downtown surrounded by single family homes. But there is, in fact, a middle ground. Instead of saying “We can’t make this work,” a commissioner might say something like: “This plan as submitted doesn’t make sense for Park Ridge. But we know that we have to let our town grow. Come back to us with something that won’t look like it was airdropped in by mistake. Come back with a midrise, in other words, whose aesthetics match the expectations of the community.” There are ways to add density without sticking your finger quite as deeply into the eyes of your new neighbors.
Just for fun, here’s Park Ridge’s zoning map. See if you can find the places where apartments aren’t illegal! (Hint: It’s almost nowhere.)