Thursday, March 28, 2013

Astor House Under New Management

               Once part of the dreaded Menetti brothers portfolio which included the infamous Lawrence House things are finally looking up for this majestic building on Pratt just west of Sheridan. According to Benjamin Woodard's new article on one of the principal owners of the Chateau has bought the property with a group of investors with plans to fix it up. The picture above is from February and was taken from the vacant lot across the street once home to an important Jewish temple.    

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          Earlier today a protest took place in front of the building comprised of tenants who do not wish to leave their home. Understandable that current residents would not wish to leave their current abode. But this building needs a lot of work and in order for the neighborhood to really improve the gigantic buildings of Rogers Park need an overhaul. In the end this building would better serve the city as upgraded market rate housing in this north side lakefront neighborhood of Chicago. It would be strange for this beautiful old building in such a desirable location to remain lower income dilapidated housing.

          CBS News also reported earlier today that the prostesters  numbered two dozen. The tenants protested outside the 1246 w Pratt address.
       The tenants said the building’s owners have been gentrifying them out of the building, so they can be replaced by students at nearby Loyola University, and others who can afford higher rents.
        There is no way that there are that many students to fill all the new housing in the area. There are however new people attracted to the amenities that Rogers Park has to offer on the lakefront at a lower rate compared to other neighborhoods in Chicago. The sentiment of the quote is true however and this is what has been going on in the area in smaller buildings for a long time, this just happens to be a very large apartment building. Yes Rogers Park is undergoing gentrification as older buildings are bought and fixed up and either sold as condos or more recently rented for higher prices. What has been holding the neighborhood back is the very large run down apartment buildings.

         Tenant organizers said they want BJB properties to fix up the structure, then find some federal dollars to subsidize the low-income tenants who want to stay in the 12-story building.

           Tenant organizers may have certain expectations or demands but the new owners do not have to comply with them. Why does the low income housing have to be subsidized in an area where higher rents can be had? There still is quite a bit of affordable housing in and around Rogers Park and in the city of Chicago. Why can't this building be upgraded? This is a privately owned building and is not public housing.

Previous articles on Astor House

What's up with Astor House?

You can aid security by denying admittance

Weirdness at possible arson in Rogers Park


Gonzo Rockatansky said...

Bro stop tellin pretty stories and tell how theyr pushin us out and bout the bedbugs roaches silverfish and and all that crap. They want to fix it up kick us out and make a bundle with fancy new jerks. Tell it like it is Bro.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

It is true Gonzo, but that is one side to the story, the other side is people living there want to stay no matter what even though the new owners want to take the building in a new direction, which is their right.

That's what sucks about renting, a new owner can come in and kick everyone out and fix the place up. Which in this case is way overdue.

What if this happened at the Farcroft? And basically it did without an uproar.

It is happening at the Hotel Chateau as well in Lakeview.

Nothing about the Astor Place says wow this was built as a beautiful low income housing high rise in the old days. It wasn't. It would be odd if this didn't happen, it was predictable.

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

Highrises in the twenties weren't built as slum housing. The Astor House fell from grace and needs to be completely emptied in order to fix it up right.

It was only starting in the fifties and sixties that slum housing was built as highrises.

There needs to help from the landlord and local social worker agencies to help these people relocate to safe and clean housing.

Allison Pinkbottom said...

Bedbugs and roaches and silverfish? That sounds just awful. But that is no reason to be kicking out Mr.Gonzo if he is paying his rent.

Bill Morton said...

The Bed Bug Registry for Astor House:

Philip McGregor Rogers said...

I ran into Craig today and his comment regarding the Astor House was
"Farcroft it!"