CHICAGO — Lincoln Yards is still facing opposition from neighbors after developers ditched plans for LiveNation-run music venues and a massive soccer stadium.
Critics of the $5 billion development, who created a nonprofit called Civl to organize others opposed to what they see as a rushed and secretive TIF process, said Lincoln Yards changing its controversial entertainment plans means the city should delay, not speed up, approving the Lincoln Yards plan. They also want the city to slow down on reviewing an $800 million taxpayer-funded subsidy that’s been proposed to help pay for the development.
“We are happy to see that the city and developer are responding to our concerns, but we see no change on the central issues we have raised,” said Civl co-chair Robert Gomez in a news release. “We oppose the creation of multiple music venues of undisclosed sizes in this so-called city within our city. We see no indication that LiveNation or some other corporate conglomerate won’t be running or leasing music venues in Lincoln Yards, even though the alderman has said Live Nation won’t own any of the venues.”
Gomez said the plans for Lincoln Yards are “vague,” particularly now that developers Sterling Bay are removing the soccer stadium and changing plans to have LiveNation run several music venues in the area.
In a letter to Crain’s this week, Hideout co-owner Katie Tuten and Gomez said their focus is primarily on slowing down the TIF process — and allowing for more community input and planning before handing over such a large sum of taxpayer money.
The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., is a long-running small venue located in the heart of the proposed Lincoln Yards development.
“Responsible development will bring desperately needed new tax revenues to our indebted city government,” Gomez and Tuten wrote. “It will bring new blood into the city and new patrons into our venues. But when we talk about TIFs, we’re talking about using taxpayers’ money. And those funds should be spent on projects that benefit the entire city and all the taxpayers.
“We are not trying to put up roadblocks. We simply want the whole process to go a little slower.”
While Hopkins — and Sterling Bay — are willing to compromise the stadium and venues, the TIF for the development is still in the works.
Hopkins said there are “insufficient details” for him to support the TIF at this point, but there’s time between now and Feb. 19 — when the TIF proposal goes to a vote — for those questions to be answered.
Hopkins spokesman Christian Ficara told The Daily Line the alderman will also allow a hearing scheduled for Jan. 19 before the Community Development Commission to proceed to allow “for further review and refinement of the proposal, and to compile questions to get answered about the TIF.”
Pointing to traffic concerns from residents worried that the development will further clog a congested corridor, Hopkins said he and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are speeding up plans to “reconfigure” the Armitage/Ashland/Elston intersection.
“Upon completion, the resulting congestion relief is projected to mirror the remarkable success of the reconfiguration of an equally complex intersection at Damen/Elston/Fullerton,” Hopkins wrote. “Similar benefits were realized by the intersection redesign and bridge removal at Belmont and Western. It should be noted that both of those key traffic relief projects on Chicago’s North Side were paid for with TIF allocations.”
A Sterling Bay spokesperson said they’ll be updating their “master plan” for Lincoln Yards to reflect changes requested by the community, including a new bridge at Armitage, an extended 606, a renovated Cortland Bridge and a Concord/Wisconsin bridge with vehicular and pedestrian access.