I invite you to attend a community meeting to review three unique proposals for the use of the old Greenleaf Avenue Firehouse located at 1723 W. Greenleaf (just east of Clark).
The meeting will take place Monday, January 13th, 7:00 p.m., at the United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse (at Ashland). Free parking is available in the lot at the southwest corner of Morse and Ashland.
The old firehouse has stood vacant since early 2009 when the Fire Department moved its personnel and equipment to thenew Rogers Park Firehouse on Clark, just north of Touhy. With the support of Mayor Emanuel, the City agreed to work with my office and community residents to ensure a use of the Greenleaf firehouse that is most beneficial to the surrounding community. The City put the firehouse out to bid earlier this year and received 16 proposals that ranged from residential uses to art studios to community centers.
I assigned the task of reviewing the proposals to the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and representatives of the major community organizations in the ward who advise me on all zoning and land use issues that come before me. The Committee developed a set ofselection criteria for reviewing the proposals and asked each bidder to provide information that would assist the Committee in its review process.
For the selection criteria and the information requested, CLICK HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.
Nine of the 16 original bidders responded to the Committee’s request and after a rigorous review process, the Committee narrowed the field to the three finalists who best fit the selection criteria and demonstrated the capacity to carry out their proposals. The finalists will present their proposals to the community for review and comment at the January 13th public meeting.
Based on the input received at the community meeting, the Committee will make a final recommendation to me and I, in turn, will submit my recommendation to the City’s Department of Planning and Development.
The proposals, written in the proponents’ own words, are set forth below (in alphabetical order):
Proposal of Jim Andrews and Dean Vance
“Our bid to revitalize the Greenleaf Firehouse is aimed at creating a work-live space that celebrates the building’s history, preserves its architectural integrity, and transforms a forlorn structure and concrete lot into a multifunctional, self-sustaining, attractive greenspace.
“In addition to bringing an asset with curb appeal to Greenleaf Avenue, the project also has potential to function as a community model of preservation, rehabilitation, green building practices and sustainability.
“Given the opportunity to implement our vision, our plan is to bring as much media attention to the project as possible. Our hope is that a rippling effect of development will result.”
Andrews-Vance Formal Proposal
Proposal of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
“ISKCON of Illinois, Inc., popularly known as The Hare Krishna Temple, is committed to the overall wellness of the 49th Ward community it has been a part of for more than 30 years. Our vision for the property in discussion includes a Community Wellness Center that caters to the spiritual, emotional, and physical care of the community via a multitude of service offerings for the public.
“Our plan for the firehouse property envisions a dedicated space for these service offerings, including:
- Morning and evening Yoga classes;
- Massage therapy, Ayurvedic healing, Acupressure, Acupuncture, and physical therapy;
- Workshops for dealing with deeper emotional issues that people face in their relationships, careers, and life in general;
- Daily Meditation classes, workshops and a myriad of spiritual activities for the community members;
- Expanding our Free Meals program to Senior Citizens;
- Assist Hispanic members of the community with spiritual alternatives to deal with daily stresses, problems of life and relationships;
- Interfaith Dialog Initiative;
- Support groups/programs for single mothers in the community. “It takes a village to raise a child” as the saying goes, and we envision facilitating support groups for single mothers to come together and share inspiration, resources, and guidance with one another;
- After School Kids Programs; and
- Residential Units: Our plan envisions utilizing a part of the Firehouse property for residential units for members of our temple community who would play a supportive role in the vision expressed herein.
“Architecture & Development:
“Our goal is to preserve the heritage of the firehouse in terms of external look and feel. We want to enhance the interior aesthetics of the building and the landscape around it to make it an attractive destination for the local community.”
ISKCON Formal Proposal
ISKCON 2nd Floor Plan
Proposal of Northside Community Resources (NCR) and Northside Community Development Corporation (NCDC)
“Northside Community Resources (NCR), formerly known as the Rogers Park Community Council, is a 60-year-old organization established in 1952 to help curb private development along the lakefront, to help preserve it for public use. It attained its 501(c)(3) status in 1962 and its mission is to help improve the quality of life on Chicago’s north side through social, civic and educational initiatives that foster health and welfare, renewal and conservation, law enforcement and community organization.
“Northside Community Development Corporation (NCDC), formerly known as the Rogers Park Community Development Corporation, is a 13 1/2-year-old organization established as a separate 501(c)(3) in 1997, with a mission to foster community development and create and preserve affordable and diverse housing opportunities in Chicago through education, training, advocacy and development.
“Our intention is to house both organizations and operate their programs under one roof, and have the Fire station serve as our new, permanent home for the next 60-plus years.
“The first floor of the building will be renovated and provide an open space as a community hall, designed to accommodate organizational and community friendly events like information workshops, service fairs, and town hall meetings. The second floor of the building will become the new administrative home for NCDC and NCR, where they will continue to provide the much-needed, free community service programming to Chicago’s north side communities.
“Both organizations are expecting to provide a full range of services they currently have now. However, the new community hall space will allow them to hold more public information workshops and versatile events programming. Since we currently have to look for and pay for workshop space, it limited our ability to provide public events to more than once or twice a year.”
NCR/NCDC Formal Proposal
I urge you to attend the meeting to learn more about the proposals and express your views on which proposal you think is the best fit for the community and the future of the Greenleaf Avenue firehouse. Members of the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee will be present to hear your comments. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to share your comments with me by replying to this email. Similarly, if you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this email or call my staff assistant, Michael Land, at 773-338-5796.
- Architecture. Does the proposal preserve the historically significant exterior elements and basic structure of the building?
- Experience. Does the bidder have the experience to complete the renovation project consistent with the submitted plans?
- Finances. Does the bidder have the financial capacity to purchase the building and to complete renovations on time and onbudget?
- Use. What is the intended use for the building? Intending to quickly resell, i.e., “flip,” the property, will automatically disqualify the bid.
- Public Benefit. How will the community benefit from the project, including but not limited to the number of full time construction jobs, and, if any, employees by the end use.
Information requested from all bidders:
- Overview of proposed development;
- Preliminary drawings, if any;
- Special features such as environmental and architectural enhancements andlandscape plan;
- Background and experience of developer;
- Examples of prior projects with photographs and references;
- Project timeline;
- Project cost estimate;
- Proof of funds letter for purchase and construction;
- Balance Sheet, Cash Flow and Income Statements for the last two years; and
- Public benefits.