Now concluding the massive attack of pithy posts this morning, last night developers unveiled revised plans for the Orrington-Sherman-Church block in Evanston that will preserve the Hahn Building's façade and lower the proposed tower's height to 37 stories:
The proposal, from developers R.D. Horner & Associates and HSA Commercial Real Estate and the architectural firm Daniel P. Coffey and Associates, calls for the developers to rebuild the public plaza at Fountain Square and slip two levels of underground parking for the condominium high-rise under the public plaza.
The developers would demolish the existing Fountain Square building and replace it with a two-story restaurant building that would be topped with an expanded public plaza space, connected to the ground level plaza by an exterior stairway.
The tower would be supported on pillars rising over the landmark Hahn Building at midblock and the tower would be set back 9 to 10 feet from the Hahn Building's street façades and 16 feet from the north property line.
I think this is an improvement over the previous plan. I would be sad to see the Hahn building torn down; the Fountain Square building, on the other hand, is just plain ugly.
Oh, dear. I can't wait until they start building this, just one block from my office:
Developers went public Thursday with their plan for another race to the sky, this one in downtown Evanston: A proposed condominium tower that would crack the 500-foot barrier and become the tallest building in Chicago's suburbs.
Sure to incite heated debate in a suburb already in the throes of a high-rise building boom, the plan calls for tearing down a two-story retail building on a triangular block bounded by Church Street, Orrington and Sherman Avenues, and replacing it with a sliver-thin, 49-story condominium tower sheathed in glass and metal.
Pity, because the building they're tearing down is actually quite charming. It gets "better:"
The plan also envisions tearing down a 1940s mid-rise office building at the block's south end and replacing it with a low-rise restaurant building whose footprint would be half as large. The developers still have to purchase that property.
I'm torn. I think Evanston has to grow taller, but the old buildings in its downtown are part of its charm.
I'm just now listening to the podcast of last Saturday's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Host Peter Sagal had this to say about entertainer Don Ho, who died last week:
Sagal: He also did his patriotic part to populate his home state. He is survived by 10 children, 15 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
Adam Felber: Ho, Ho, Ho!
Sagal: I'm sorry, I was just thinking: He had all these babies...in diapers...that means dozens of nappy-bottomed Hos.
All right, today I feel really bad for Parker. It's a beautiful day in Chicago, so I left the window open just above his crate. Instead of spending the day sleeping, the poor guy been staring out the window all day. I wish I could take him for a very long walk today but, alas, my client requires my presence 40 km away.
Notice the second image is three hours later:
The good part of this is, he'll probably sleep like a, well, like a dog tonight.
Update, 1:20pm: I believe the caption is, "I want my @%^!! WALK already!":
Update, 1:25pm: Oh, shit.
Final update, 2:25pm: Finally! But Parker feels bad, I feel bad, the dog walker feels bad, and there's a turd on my bedroom floor:
And I'm out here in West Bumble because...well, I'll be thinking about that on the hour-long drive home today.
Share and enjoy:
And also from reader MB, some bumper stickers we'd like to see:
- Even Nixon Resigned
- We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
- The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
The U.S. Olympic Committee has announced that Chicago will represent the U.S. in the competition to host the Olympic Games in 2016. Since the entire world universally loves the U.S. right now, I am certain today's announcement means Chicago is hosting the Olympics. Just not in 2016.
All right, I admit, sometimes I really hate Chicago's weather. Parker, who has never experienced a really hot Chicago summer (though he probably experienced some serious heat on the farm near his birthplace in Carbondale, Ill.), seems to enjoy it:
Yes, folks, it's snowing in April. And because it's just above freezing, the snow is heavy, wet, and slushy. Parker took one look out the door this morning and bounded into the yard like...well, like a puppy.
Bad news, P-dogg: no play group tonight. It will be challenge enough to get the mud off you after your evening walk.
People who live outside Chicago may not believe this: Yesterday's high temperature was 21°C; right now, it's -1°C. Who knows what tomorrow will look like.
My accountant, Linda Forman, sent me this note on the Illinois Gross Receipts Tax proposed by Gov. Blagojevich. Now, I voted for the man twice, and I voted for my state senator (who also supports the proposal) twice, but if they go ahead with this proposal I'm not sure I will continue to support them:
The Gross Receipts Tax Proposal
There are thoughtful people in the political arena mulling over the proposal of a gross receipts tax and the prospect of health care coverage for the uninsured employees in Illinois.
While debate goes on, I would like you to visit with a company or two that could be a composite of many small business clients.
The Service Company
Currently, a service company employs 40 people and provides health care and life insurance, fringe benefits and a generous profit sharing plan.
It funds the fringe benefits and profit sharing with some of the $300,000 in profits it realizes on its $6,000,000 in service sales.
Oh, did I mention that the business owners would like some income each year from their capital investment in the company. That usually is a 9% return, or $90,000.
So the $300,000 in yearly profits is put to good use – excellent employee benefits and a reasonable rate of return on capital invested. This is a growing company. It pays taxes on its net income, pays various business taxes to the state and community and keeps 40 people on the tax rolls. It also uses the services of other Illinois businesses, contributing to a vital economy.
Under the gross receipts tax proposal, the $6,000,000 gross income will be taxed to the tune of $300,000. So there goes the profit that funded employee retirement plans and kept investors happy. BUT now, other businesses that provide service to this company have also raised their rates to cover the gross receipts tax, so this company is now operating at a LOSS. And it has lost its competitive pricing edge.
When companies operate at a loss, their usual options are:
- Lay off employees
- Cut benefits
- Move to a more business friendly area
And this helps Illinois’s economy HOW??
- More unemployment compensation payments.
- More uninsured workers? Loss of tax revenue from income taxes.
- Loss of a productive business if it moves out of state.
Raising “prices” may work for government, but in this global economy, it is often NOT an option.
The Widget Company
The Widget Company competes with other widget makers, striving to make a good quality product at a competitive price. It has made a commitment to stay in Illinois, even though the state has hiked fees in the past. The corporate income tax is 7.3% of net income, certainly a significant tax but bearable, since net profit is only 4% of gross receipts of $6,000,000; the tax is approximately $17,000.
The company’s margins on its product lines cover the administrative and sales overhead. If it had to raise prices 5% to cover the gross receipts tax, it would lose business in a market where customers are swayed by even the slightest rise in price.
If the company has to pay a gross receipts tax of 5%, it would have to pay $300,000!! But its net profit is only $240,000 so it would be $60,000 in the hole. This is a company that is going to MOVE out of Illinois to a warmer climate in a state where business is appreciated. What other choice does it have – it can’t pass along the costs to consumers while dealing in a global marketplace.
The gross receipts tax idea is just that - GROSS. It will repel new business and seriously impede current business growth. There has to be an analysis of WHY some large corporations are not paying tax, since the formula for paying Illinois taxes is based on a factor of Illinois sales to total sales. And there has to be a corollary analysis of what other taxes big business is paying to Illinois, since other fees on businesses have risen sharply in this administration.
I have clients who will be severely impacted by a gross income tax - and attempts to remain in Illinois and deal with the tax will only result in loss of jobs and benefits for their employees.
There has to be an intelligent game plan - and we need more information from the governor before we can assess where the issues are.
AND, with regards to an expanded Illinois health care plan, I think a good health plan needs to be national in scope and administered like Medicare - and that the state of Illinois, in its precarious financial position, can't take on health care while it has to correct huge pension and other funding deficits. And given the historically poor reimbursement payment rate and lateness of payment, where will Illinois find the health care providers to accept families covered by the proposed health insurance plan?
Linda Forman, CPA
By the way, no, Inner Drive Technology is not the service company she mentioned, as much as I might wish for $6 million in revenues.
Update, 8:49 am: Linda adds the following:
The gross receipts tax rate may have lowered in discussions since this was first written, but the concept is still there, along with the health insurance issue. Actually many companies are toying with the idea of dropping their coverage and only paying the state's 3% rate, which will cause a larger population to be in the state's insurance fund - another negative result of this proposal.