Update to seen around St. Ben’s

In December, I posted about the transformation of a six-unit apartment building into a large limestone-clad single family home in St. Ben’s along with a few before and after photos.  Our friends at Curbed Chicago noticed that the house went on the market on Friday.

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Yesterday, the newly-minted single-family hit the market for $2,995,000, making it the second most expensive home on the market in that neighborhood (right ahead of architect Brad Lynch’s home, which is located right around the corner).

For your $2,995,000 you get four bedrooms, nine full baths, three half baths, and a master bath which features a wall mounted urinal.  Talk about being the “master of your domain.”  Truly a man’s home.

· Before and after. Seen in St. Ben’s [Your Windy City Guide]
· North Center Six-Flat Transmogrified Into a Single-Family [Curbed Chicago]
· Listing: 2216 W. Grace St. [Coldwell Banker]


Diversions: Another big weekend in Chicago

It’s never welcome in the conversation when I mention that Chicago has only 18 weeks of summer – between Memorial Day and Labor day, at least.  And it’s only worse now that we’re into our first full weekend of August.  There’s only a few more left!  This weekend promises to be a big one.  If you can’t find something to do this weekend, you might want to call the coroner?

Northalsted Market Days


Join Joan Jett and a crowd of more than 40,000 on Halsted Street to celebrate the annual Northalsted Market Days®. This event is the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest and lives up to its reputation as one of the country’s finest festivals!

The event spans six city blocks, has 17 entrance gates and features three music stages with more than 40 musical acts performing. Many of these artists are top-name, national headliners, giving Northalsted Market Days® a reputation for some of the best live music in Chicago.


All day on Saturday and Sunday.  Halsted Street between Belmont and Addison.



At this point, if you don’t have your tickets to Lollapalooza, you’re not going.  But at least you’ll know to avoid Grant Park, Columbus Drive, and the whole south end of the Museum Campus.

Big names at Lollapalooza this year include Soundgarden, Green Day, Lady Gaga,  The Strokes, Blues Traveler, Erykah Badu, and a whole bunch more. 


Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday in Grant Park.

Retro on Roscoe


Retro features Chicago’s top talent and entertainment on 3 main stages. Artisans, antique vendors, and cool merchants will provide a shopping experience that is second to none. Local restaurants fill the venue with summertime samplings and tasty treats. All this and more liven up this tree-lined street for an enjoyable two-day festival that brings back great memories while providing an excellent entertainment for the entire family.

Retro On Roscoe is the primary fund raising event that enables Roscoe Village Neighbors to sponsor so many community improvements. Proceeds from Retro On Roscoe provide funds for major projects such as the recent streetscape project, and projects that have improved local parks.



Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 10:00 pm.


Photo tour of Rogers Park and the Glenwood/Morse Business District

Great video I found on YouTube today. I only wish I was the one who produced this.  It’s quite good!


Two great articles on the proposed development along Clark & Addison in Wrigleyville

Blair Kamin, architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune posted two great articles on the proposed development at the corner of Clark & Addison across the street from Wrigley field.  The new development is known as Addison Park on Clark.

Addison Park on Clark

From the May 22, 2010, article (and link)

Thousands of people are getting all steamed up about a controversial plan for an eight-story hotel, apartment and retail complex across the street from Wrigley Field. On Facebook, a group called “People Against the ‘Malling of Wrigleyville’ “ is sounding the alarm, as if big-box retailers and a mall named “Cubby World” were about to set up shop at the corner of Clark and Addison, right across the street from the Friendly Confines.

And from the June 16, 2010, article (and link)

The design calls for tearing down a variety of funky low-rise buildings designed by different architects in different styles at different times. It would replace them with one large structure designed in one style by one architect at the same time. That’s why the version that raised such a ruckus last month, with its flat and featureless walls of brick marching down Clark and Addison Streets (above), seemed mall-like even if it wasn’t really proposing to construct a mall.

Check out the articles to see what’s in the works for these parcels right in the heart of Lakeview/Wrigleyville. 


Andersonville Midsommarfest 2010

Your Guide couldn’t resist popping into Midsommarfest on Sunday.  The weather was awful all weekend long with northern winds battling warm air from the south springing random thunderstorms all weekend long.  No good for boating.  But not bad for a couple hours at a festival in Andersonville.



Diversions: Things to do this weekend in Chicago. A clue: DON’T DRIVE!

Festival season spools into full frantic mode this weekend with something happening in every neighborhood in Chicago.  The Red Line is your friend.  Driving:  Not So Much.

Right Now: Blackhawks Championship Parade

Blackhawks Celebration


Starting at 10:30 am on Friday, throngs of Blackhawks fans join the Stanley Cup Champions along the parade route ending in a rally at the corner of Michigan Ave. & Wacker Drive. 

The photo was taken just after sunrise around 6am, with thousands of fans crowding the location where the Blackhawks are expected to take the stage along with the Stanley Cup.

The route:  From Washington at Wacker – east to Michigan Avenue.  Then north on Michigan Ave. north to Wacker again.  All roads are closed already.  Fun, no?  The festivities are scheduled to end at Noon.  Don’t expect traffic to let up anytime before sunset in the Loop.

Sidenote: World Cup at Daley Plaza

At Daley Plaza on Washington, a celebration heralding the opening of the World Cup Soccer Championship was planned long ago.  Scheduled for the afternoon hours, this promises to add to the mêlée in the Loop today.

Cross Town Classic

Hosted at Wrigley Field this weekend (and on the South Side next weekend) the Cubs host the White Sox in the Cross Town Classic.



Friday: 1:20 game time

Saturday: 3:10 game time

Sunday: 7:00 pm game time



South Side: 26th Annual Printers Row Lit Fest

Sponsored by the Chicago Tribune, this year’s Lit Fest affirms the Trib’s commitment to the written word in all its forms.  The fest is in full swing on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm along Dearborn between Congress and Polk. 

Authors perform readings for adults and children.  Cooking demonstrations on stage.  Poetry workshops in the Hotel Blake.  Plus the rows of book sellers selling new and used books of every genre.



Downtown: Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 640,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World." Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.  

Blues Fest kicks off in Grant Park on Friday at 11:30 am.

Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm

Sunday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm



Near North: Old Town Art Fair & Wells Street Art Festival

Wells Street Art Festival take place in Old Town along Wells Street between Division and North Avenues.  And the Old Town Art Fair offers exhibits and activities on some of Old Town’s side streets just off Wells Street running west, and north of North Ave and along N. Lincoln.

Wells Street Art Fair

The Wells Street Art Festival is recognized as one of Chicago’s most prestigious art fairs, attracting exhibitors and prospective buyers from all over the nation. The show features a wide variety of fine art – everything from glass and ceramics, to pencil drawings and oil paintings – plus a silent auction and children’s area. Musicians performing along Wells Street will make you forget you’re at an outdoor festival!

The Old Town Art Fair – pretty much the same.  Your Guide does not know why these events are not simply combined into one large event as for all practical purposes, event goers treat both as the same.

Friday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.


Far North: Andersonville Midsommarfest

Midsommarfest is Andersonville’s annual summer street festival, now entering its 45th year. Each year, nearly 50,000 people throng Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa for two days of music, dancing, kids’ entertainment, and delicious food. Vendors from around the region sell their wares to passers-by, while ethnic dance troupes and cutting-edge bands keep the party going.

Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.



Mark Konkol’s blog post and a link to the best Chicago Neighborhood map

Mark Konkol from the Sun Times posted on Friday a rant against a few of the big real estate brokerages for re-inventing neighborhood maps motivated by their own self interest and driving sales in mind.  Not even @properties is spared.

The marketing savvy brokers at DreamTown.com are offering a new version of their Chicago neighborhood map for FREE. They bill the map as the “most current and complete map of current Chicago neighborhoods available for free.”

Their claim is technically true — the map is free.

But “current and complete” is a bunch of bunk.

Link to the entire article here: http://blogs.suntimes.com/konkol/2009/12/dont_believe_the_realtors.html

At the end of Mark’s post, he links to the best Neighborhood Map – the City of Chicago’s.  You can find it here. I have to agree.  This one is the best.

Chicago Map


Diversion: Things to do in Chicago this weekend. With a sleeper surprise…

Of course, the big event this weekend is the @properties Softball & Volleyball Tournament & Picnic!

I’d like to state the obvious, again, that we work for the coolest Real Estate Company in the known universe.  Sharp eyed spotters can seek out their favorite Real Estate Agents in skimpy outfits TODAY, Friday, in the late afternoon and evening at the UIC softball fields near Maxwell and Halsted.  The event is closed to the public, so I’m not publishing the exact address.  But if you just happen to stroll by…

Softball Highlights:

GAME 1 – 4:30pm: “B@d @pples” vs. “I’d Hit That”

GAME 2 – 5:30pm: “Where My Pitches @?” vs. “Bank Owned”

GAME 3 – 6:30pm: “The Shockers” vs. “Golden Showers”

Volleyball Highlights:

GAME 1 – 4:30pm: “PB&K Ballers” vs. “Don’t Dink and Dive”

GAME 2 – 5:15pm: “Kiss My Pass!” vs. “Let Me Hit Th@!”

GAME 3 – 6:00pm: “Sandy Ball Breakers” vs. “Dig This!”

GAME 4 – 6:45pm: “Over One Million Served” vs. “Spiking the Competition”

Bags, Bocce Ball and Horseshoes all evening long.  As Your Guide fancies himself as more of an “Athletic Supporter” you will undoubtedly find me brown nosing, and hanging out by the coolers.

Just in case you were thinking of driving anywhere near the lake this weekend, you might need a reminder of…

The Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show info here.

Summer Chicago Kirlin Visit 529

The 51st annual event, billed as the oldest and largest free show of its kind in the country, annually draws two million spectators to the lakefront. This year, the air and water portions have been combined into one continuous show.

Air show highlights: The AeroShell Aerobatic Team, the Golden Knights parachute team, the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter plane, the Firebirds, the Lima Lima Flight Team, Sean Tucker and Team Oracle and more.

Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Most of the flying happens after Noon.

Not to be left out…

  • Edison Park Fest up in Edison Park – 6700 N Oldmsted
  • North Side Summerfest in Lincoln Square – Lincoln up at Cuyler
  • Ribs ‘n’ Soul – First annual gathering for Ribs and Soul Music in the Fulton Market, 1500 W. Randolph.
  • Green Music Fest – in Wicker Park, 1330 W. Chicago.
  • Armenian Fest in Little Armenia – 6700 West Diversey

Hey, there’s only four official weekends left in Chicago.  Get out there and enjoy the weekend. 


Bitter feud between Preservationists and Homeowner in Edgewater

On Tuesday, the Sun Times profiled a homeowner who is suing the local Historical Society over lost income from their interference with a sale of her property to a local developer.

6018 N. Kenmore is a large Victorian on an oversized lot near Loyola University.  The neighborhood has evolved into an area with more condominium development, rather than the stately elegant mansion that this home once was.  Renovation costs would probably have run into the hundreds-of-thousands. 

WindyCityGuide 003

When the owner put the home up for sale, the most lucrative offer was from a developer who wanted to demolish the house and build new construction condominiums.

The Edgewater Historical Society intervened, maintaining that the house on North Kenmore was unique in the neighborhood and was listed on the city landmark map as “orange-rated” – eligible for city landmark status.  Reportedly, they pushed Alderman Mary Ann Smith to oppose demolishing the house and delay zoning changes “if the developer does not drop his plans for demolition.”

After some long delays in the approval process for the condominium development, the developer cancelled his contract to buy the property.

Property owner Brigitta Riedel says she lost out on more than $1 million when the sale went south and is suing to the historical society and four of its board members, accusing them of carrying off a "calculated, sophisticated attack" to kill the sale.

The board members say the suit could hurt community activism — and, if they’re ordered to pay damages, perhaps cost them their own homes.

"It could happen, and it certainly impacts how you plan the rest of your life," said LeRoy Blommaert, who’s being sued along with fellow historical society board members Elizabeth Mayian, Thom Greene and Kathy Gemperle. "You worry what that life would be like if you had to sell your condo or give up a number of your assets."

In the “Letters to the Editor” section of the paper today, a reader from Edgewater commented:

Owners continue to feel that they can do anything they like with their property, at whatever cost to the community.  While many houses or older apartments may not be architectural masterpieces, the community and the city have a clear interest in maintaining properties on a block at similar scale or of a certain historical quality.

So often, we see rampant development obliterating neighborhoods and disrupting social patterns, all for the sake of profit.  That Riedel, who made $550,000 on the property, should think of suing members of a small nonprofit board for the remaining $600,000 that she “lost” is outrageous.

Developers serve profit, not public good.  For this reason, we need citizens, organizations and politicians to help balance the equation so that the public good is also served.

Are you kidding me?

  • How many times do I have to say this?  Hey – Preservationists!  If you want to save a piece of property, BUY IT!  When you impose your standards on someone else forcing them to lose value because they can’t sell or have to preserve an antiquated property, you are stealing from them.
  • Just because a property looks beautiful, doesn’t mean it’s not a piece of junk.  Sure, it’s gorgeous.  But who wants to live in it?  The house has small bedrooms, no closet space, no air conditioning, a kitchen far removed from the living space,   Great if you want to re-create a Victorian diorama, but pretty awful if you’re a modern family that wants a nice place to live.

Can I answer the letter-writing response line-by-line?

Owners continue to feel that they can do anything they want with their property…”  HELLO?!  Where do we live?  This is a capitalist society, last time I checked.  The whole IDEA of owning property is so that you can do whatever you want with it!

…the community and the city have a clear interest in maintaining properties on a block at  similar scale…”  Buddy, they already do.  It’s called ZONING.  There are laws in place to maintain the character of a neighborhood.  This is why you don’t see truck loading facilities next door to schools.  But building new condo’s where old houses used to stand is perfectly reasonable.  And your notion of “Community” really reads to me like a bunch of meddling neighbors.

“So often, we see rampant development obliterating…”  Obliterating?  That’s what we’re going to call an entrepreneur who is willing to take a risk on the market, shell out over a million dollars on acquisition and construction, and then wait to sell a product that there is no guarantee will sell? 

What about these “rampant developments”: 

  • Sandburg Village that bridged the gap between the Gold Coast and Cabrini Green to the west; thereby making Old Town a viable neighborhood where people actually want to live.
  • Dearborn Park in the near south loop that practically created a new desirable neighborhood from scratch in a desolate wasteland of railroad yards and abandoned printing factories.
  • And more recently the development along the Chicago River encompassing the old Montgomery Ward headquarters and warehouses. 

“Developers serve profit…”  Just because developers are in it for the money, doesn’t make it BAD.  In fact, it’s the America Way.  I would suggest that allowing community groups to hold properties hostage and begging local government to take over property that is rightfully owned by private citizens is the start of the slippery slope to “Socialism.” 

And as far as the neighborhood is concerned, here is a street view of the properties directly south and north of the house in question.  Oh yes, condominiums would really be out of place on this block…

WindyCityGuide 006

WindyCityGuide 008 

I wish Ms. Riedel all the best in her efforts to recoup her losses.  And I hope that the lawsuit causes other “Community” groups to pause before meddling with the rights of property owners.


Diversions: Things to do in Chicago this weekend

Another busy weekend in Chicago with Festivals all over the city.  And it seems that Summer may finally be in full swing with sunny skies and temperatures in the 80′s.  Maybe that last snow pile at the end of your alley will finally melt this week?

The Big Ones this week:image

Halsted Street Market Days

(Photos of Market Days over on Flicker.)

In the heart of Boystown along Halsted stretching from Belmont to Addison, it’s the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest and it just keeps getting bigger and better each year!  Among the  performers on Market Days’ four music stages (which includes one dedicated to jazz) will be R&B icons En Vogue, Jody Watley, Kristine W, Cece Peniston and Kathy Sledge at the new “VIP Stage” near Addison. Among the more than 40 acts set to appear on stages at Belmont and Roscoe are disco legends The Village People, Eric Himan, Linda Clifford, Dot Dot Dot, Levi Kreis and 16 Candles.

Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.  Another event designed to wreak havoc on any Realtor tours throughout the neighborhood.  Agents:  don’t host any open houses unless you want an endless stream of “customers” who want to “check out” the bathrooms!

LOGO Belmont Stage Entertainment presented by Comcast

12:15pm – Kimi HayesMarket Days Boys2
2:00pm – The Handcuffs
3:00pm – Chicago Spirit Brigade
3:30pm – My Dear Disco
4:45pm – LOGO Lip Sync Contest
5:15pm – Dot Dot Dot
7:45pm – Rock Candy

12:30pm – Suzy Brack & The New Jack Lords
2:00pm – BPM
3:00pm – Windy City Cowboys
3:30pm – Hag
4:45pm – Chicago Spirit Brigade
5:15pm – Candye Kane
7:00pm – Cat Fight

Horseshoe Casino VIP Stage @ Addison Entertainment

3:30pm – Syesha Mercado
5:20pm – Lucas Prata
7:00pm – Kristine W
9:00pm – En VogueMarket Days Crowd

3:30pm – CeCe Peniston
4:30pm – Kathy Sledge
6:30pm – Berlin
8:30pm – Jody Watley

Roscoe Stage Entertainment

Noon – Everelle
1:15pm – Jason Antone
2:00pm – Brian Kent
2:45pm – Kelly King
4:15pm – Levi Kreis
6:00pm – Eric Himan
8:00pm – 16 Candles

12:30pm – Project Ultra
2:15pm – The Hat Guys
5:00pm – Abba Band
6:45pm – Linda Clifford
8:30pm – Village People

The Jazz Oasis

12:30 pm – The Flat Cats
3:00 pm – International Academy of Design and Technology Fashion Show
3:30 pm – Liz Mandeville & the Blues Points
5:45 pm – ROTC Squad
6:30 pm – Chicago Cabaret Project

Retro on Roscoe

This big Fest is located in the heart of Roscoe Village – along Roscoe from Damen west to nearly Western Ave.  Three main stages, lots of shopping and food from local restaurants are all featured from Noon to 10:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

This event is decidedly more Family Friendly with games, crafts and other fun stuff for kids.  Much less “Risque” than North Halsted Market Days.  A lot more clothes are worn to this Festival.

Just to mix it up a bit, along with the shopping, eating and music, the 15th annual Windy City Chili Cookoff is where top chili cooks from Chicago and across the country come to compete for a slot in the World Championship. All the chili is cooked from scratch before your eyes and graded by some elite judges to determine the winner. Trophies and cash prizes are also awarded to the top vote getters in each category. Public tasting is available between 1 -3 pm for a $5 donation. The proceeds benefit the St. Teresa Food Pantry.

West Stage Saturday

12 pm – Radio Disney
1 pm – Mary Macaroni
2 pm – Ralph’s World
4 pm – 7th Heaven
6 pm – Bad Examples
8 pm – Mike and Joe

West Stage Sunday

12 pm – Patchouli
1 pm – Scribble Monster
2 pm – Justin Roberts
4 pm – South of 80
6 pm – Maggie Speaks
8 pm – Hairbangers

Center Stage Saturday

12 pm – Chicago Samba
2 pm – IRS
4 pm – FNR
6 pm – Mr. Blotto
8 pm – Wedding Banned

Center Stage Sunday

12 pm – Jay Gulotta Band
2 pm – Rendition
4 pm – Spoken Four
6 pm – Trippin Billies
8 pm – Mike and Joe

East Stage Saturday

12 pm – Matt Robinson Band
2 pm – Woogie
4 pm – Blu Print
6 pm – Too White Crew
8 pm – Hairbangers Ball

East Stage Sunday

2 pm – Curbside
4 pm – I-Pop
6 pm – Cornmeal
8 pm – 16 Candles

Rounding out the rest of the city

Your Guide
Your Guide

Robert Darrow

In Chicago:
3101 N. Greenview
Chicago, IL, 60657
(312) 965-1552

In South Florida:
Keller Williams Realty
3696 N. Federal Highway
Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33308
(954) 446-9001
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