(Photo: Pardon me, could you move a little to the left? Original Credit: Terrapin Properties.)
Let’s be clear: it is not “the community of Printers Row” that is behind the newly created website SavePrintersRow.com, no matter what the website’s front page claims.
The malcontents of “Polk Street Canyon”, a.k.a. several homeowners of the Folio Square condominium at 124 W. Polk Street, had created their now-defunct website, Move the Tower, to protest a decision by Terrapin Properties not to spend millions of dollars to redesign plans for Burnham Pointe, an adjacent new tower that, if not altered, would block Folio Square’s eastern view across Clark Street.
But Printers Row Alderman Madeline Haithcock is verbosely on record saying Terrapin is entirely within their legal rights to build, so Folio Square needed to find a new rallying cry.
The new website, a blog with a single posting, seems a pale, rushed copy of the old, leading one to wonder whether someone at Folio Square simply forgot to pay the domain renewal fee for the old site (and so much for spending all year spelling out the old URL across Folio Square’s eastern windows).
But the plea is the same: don’t block our views. Of course, right now Folio Square’s eastern view is of a mid-block alley and a parking lot beyond. Hands up anyone who thinks buying a view of an alley above a parking lot in downtown Chicago is a sure bet for a permanently unobstructed vista?
The remaining residents of Folio Square who just can’t accept the foregone conclusion that both battle and views are lost, long live Burnham Pointe, have a right to their opinion. But it’s wrong to claim to speak for an entire neighborhood.
Take a look around the rest of Printers Row. Or the Loop, or River North, or the rest of downtown Chicago. Read the local papers, browse the local websites, peer up at local living room windows. If you can find another building, much less an entire neighborhood, that has made its raison d’etre the salvation of originally precarious views to which no right was in the first place ever attached, you have a keener eye than I.
Folio Square can try to hide behind apple-pie themes of wise neighborhood planning all it wants. No matter how global the pitch, the aim is still very singular. If you’re a Printers Row resident who thinks your neighborhood is going to rise or fall based on whether the residents of 124 W. Polk are able to see Blackie’s Bar from their bedroom windows, then have I got a website for you.
Though if I were you, I’d avoid an alley view. I hear some of the neighbors are trouble.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.