West Loop Then and Now and South Loop Futures!

I have a claim to some ‘roots’ in the West Loop.  With the help of my teammate Monica Sobieski, my Melinda Jakovich Team recently sold a beautiful condo in Kinzie Park, show above.  Like most West Loop buildings, the location is very attractive.  You have a gated community, full rights to the amenities in the high rise, restaurants all around like La Scarola, even a vintage speakeasy up Milwaukee Ave. called Nick’s where you’ll find “nothin’ but Frank” on the jukebox!  And, you’re a short walk away from making a splash at the East Bank Club’s rooftop pool.

But I go way back to the days when you basically hit Skid Row once you crossed Wacker Drive and headed West!  The first big project in the area was called Presidential Towers, which has a colorful history to say the least.  My career was in Finance back then, and I left my job with The Chicago Corporation to sell Limited Partnerships in the  Presidential Towers development for a prestigious firm called Winthrop Securities.

How could it be Finance and Real Estate at the same time?  Because the units in Presidential Towers were not sold specifically as real estate but as investments in a tax sheltered Limited Partnership!  This was in the early 80’s when tax rates were stratospheric and Limited Partnerships were offering huge tax writeoffs.

Well, we raised $250 million in only 2 weeks(!), unheard of these days, but it seemed almost too good to be true, and I missed my old gang.  I rushed back to The Chicago Corporation where a great man named Jack Wing, shown above accepting the 2011 Chicago Humanities Award, who left us oh so recently, offered me a new position to come back into the fold.

Maybe as penance for being involved in an uncertain project, albeit innocently, he promptly named me Compliance Officer for Chicago Corp which made me the enforcer for adherence to the highest standards of financial propriety!  That experience imbued me with a sense of integrity I carry to this very day.

It’s true that we are advised by that monumental Chicagoan Daniel Burnham to “Make no little plans” because they “Have no magic to stir Men’s blood”!  But these days it is also true that we must get actively involved in our communities to ensure that those plans are executed in the best way.

That’s why I went down to a huge meeting on the future development of the South Loop at the McCormick Place Hyatt tonight.  Even the most well meaning people can make bad recommendations if they are not given guidance by those most affected by changes, namely people who love the South Loop community like me and my neighbors who will accompany me.

I had the valuable chance to meet and talk with Pat Dowell, Alderman for the Third Ward of Chicago, shown above.  She is aware of the gravity of responsibility that is on her shoulders, to make sure that the monies that are set aside for the betterment of the South Loop are spent in a thoughtful way, an above-board way, that truly makes the neighborhood a better and safer place to live.

Have a Monstrous Halloween!

Leave a comment