Why Hotel Beds Do Not Equate Development in Chicago's South Loop

Chicago is on road to a stupidly, ill considered development at McCormick Convention Center in the DePaul Basketball Arena and hotels. The City powers want it because DePaul connected-types want it because the City powers want it because the DePaul connected types want it--ad infinitum. Meanwhile the silent majority in the neighborhood, like lambs to the slaughter bleat "it's a done deal" while shrugging their weary shoulders at the Chicago Way, yet again.

The poll tested excuse that it will develop the South Loop is akin to the kid who kills his parents, then pleads mercy...because I'm an orphan! Chutzpah.

When the Polar Vortex decided to winter in Chicago, we had a middle of the night burst pipe in our South Loop home. We had to evacuate to our neighborhood hotel, the Hyatt at McCormick. It was easy to get a room, the place was a ghost hotel. Our 5 nights there were window into what it is like to be a visitor in the convention Center area. Lonely. Very, very lonely. There are no walkable restaurants. No local bars. No entertainment venues. No theaters. Nothing. Only what the empty hotel had open, much of which was closed.

What the South Loop does need is a magnet, a draw to support 365-day-a-year businesses. More housing in all those empty lots to build up the neighborhood. People who would support the businesses that would sometimes see McCormick visitors.

We need our TIF monies spent on neighborhood schools for all those kids in our neighborhood, an area that was in recent history without children. If DePaul, the largest Catholic university in the USA, wants a stadium...let them build it. Clearly many of their students don't want it, as they say they didn't come to DePaul for basketball.

And now according to the weekend story in the Chicago Tribune, the city that hasn't money enough for schools wants a Good Fairy, Santa Claus to help pay for the increasingly costly project?



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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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