Chicago Boyz

What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?

Recommended Photo Store
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • The Obama economy really is the pits

    Posted by onparkstreet on October 18th, 2011 (All posts by )

    I’ve been in a mild funk lately because of all of the changes to one of my favorite little corners of Chicago Land. Closed and vacant shops mixed in with lightly populated high-end condo buildings turned rental. Halted construction and empty lots from development projects that fell through after the 2008 “crash”. Noisy restaurants where once stood second hand mom-and-pop shops, stationers and book stores. Closed, closed and closed. And yet, the local government persists in its grand 20-year economic development plans (I am not making that up) so that citizens are paying good money to brick streets, put up complicated and fashionable street lights, or have closed door meetings between developers and governmental officials. Welcome to Chicago and its suburbs. Lots of this-FEST and that-FEST sponsored by local officials in order to bring in business traffic, although many residents are inconvenienced by the crowds, noise and garbage. Some months ago while walking through the hospital, I overheard a conversation about this very neighborhood. It wasn’t very reassuring. I heard the words “scary” and “changes”. Urban blight. The beginnings of urban blight. People are so in denial.


    10 Responses to “The Obama economy really is the pits”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Which neighborhood?

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Out here in California you will see a lot of empty storefronts in the strip malls.

      I closed my business 3 years ago (unrelated to this economy) and our small office is still for lease 3 years later.

    3. Tim Says:

      On the other hand, out here in the DC region, real estate is almost back to normal. I wonder why?

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      Tim – the governmemt and all their employees is my guess ….Out here I was talking about the Lake Tahoe region with friends – how the real estate is boom or bust – why?

      Because so many homes are 2nd homes and when you lose your job the first thing you want to sell is that 2nd house…


    5. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      I, too, wonder what neighborhood this is.

      Not to say that Chicago isn’t in extreme trouble (because holy moley, is it ever), but my neck of the woods (near Horner Park) is seeing some tentative recovery. Storefronts are generally occupied by small shops geared to Latino customers. Nothing fancy, many with handwritten/painted signs, but at least someone is attempting commerce.

      Also, the empty condos seem to be filling up, either with renters or people buying them at reduced price. Someone even broke ground for a single family home on our block, on a lot that’s been empty for seven years.

      (Of course, a lot of the real estate turnover has been foreclosure sales, as the comps from our most recent appraisal strongly indicate.)

      Maybe the reason we’re seeing some signs of life is that no one is talking “redevelopment” – the power brokers seem to be leaving us alone.

    6. Westie Says:

      Chicago=Detroit of 30 years past. Time to move?

    7. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      Westie, I think that. A lot.

      If the Chicago Mercantile Exchange moves (and rumors are they are thinking seriously about it), that might open the floodgates for firms to leave. More likely, they’ll arm-twist the legislature into a massive tax break, which small and medium sized businesses (a.k.a. schmucks) will never get a chance to get.

    8. onparkstreet Says:

      Hey all,

      The overheard conversation was about the Oak Park-Forest Park Madison St. business corridor, especially the OP side.

      The state spent a million or so brick paving Roosevelt Rd through Oak Park/Berwyn/Cicero and now the TIF fun starts.

      And as long as I am in complain mode: the last time I was on State St, there were a ton of vacancies. Loehmann’s is gone and a couple other big storefronts are empty. Millennium Park is a glittery surface under which lies rot.

      – Madhu

    9. onparkstreet Says:

      The John Batchelor show had a little segment on the Gap closing stores. Borders and the Gap filled a lot of big awkward spaces in various cities, spaces where small department stores used to be. What will take their place?

      – Madhu

    10. onparkstreet Says:

      One final point. A local NPR program talked recently about how IL debt is spooking off some businesses even if Chicago does have advantages. The piper has to be paid. Scary.

      – Madhu

    Leave a Reply

    Comments Policy:  By commenting here you acknowledge that you have read the Chicago Boyz blog Comments Policy, which is posted under the comment entry box below, and agree to its terms.

    A real-time preview of your comment will appear under the comment entry box below.

    Comments Policy

    Chicago Boyz values reader contributions and invites you to comment as long as you accept a few stipulations:

    1) Chicago Boyz authors tend to share a broad outlook on issues but there is no party or company line. Each of us decides what to write and how to respond to comments on his own posts. Occasionally one or another of us will delete a comment as off-topic, excessively rude or otherwise unproductive. You may think that we deleted your comment unjustly, and you may be right, but it is usually best if you can accept it and move on.

    2) If you post a comment and it doesn't show up it was probably blocked by our spam filter. We batch-delete spam comments, typically in the morning. If you email us promptly at we may be able to retrieve and publish your comment.

    3) You may use common HTML tags (italic, bold, etc.). Please use the "href" tag to post long URLs. The spam filter tends to block comments that contain multiple URLs. If you want to post multiple URLs you should either spread them across multiple comments or email us so that we can make sure that your comment gets posted.

    4) This blog is private property. The First Amendment does not apply. We have no obligation to publish your comments, follow your instructions or indulge your arguments. If you are unwilling to operate within these loose constraints you should probably start your own blog and leave us alone.

    5) Comments made on the Chicago Boyz blog are solely the responsibility of the commenter. No comment on any post on Chicago Boyz is to be taken as a statement from or by any contributor to Chicago Boyz, the Chicago Boyz blog, its administrators or owners. Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners, by permitting comments, do not thereby endorse any claim or opinion or statement made by any commenter, nor do they represent that any claim or statement made in any comment is true. Further, Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners expressly reject and disclaim any association with any comment which suggests any threat of bodily harm to any person, including without limitation any elected official.

    6) Commenters may not post content that infringes intellectual property rights. Comments that violate this rule are subject to deletion or editing to remove the infringing content. Commenters who repeatedly violate this rule may be banned from further commenting on Chicago Boyz. See our DMCA policy for more information.