Two lawsuits re Mosky Wicker Park project: Moreno's last minute slight-of hand-in City Council

Date: 
08/21/2019
WallinGomez201806

Wallin * Gomez Architects Ltd.'s June 2018 renderings show the proposed building (white) in context with the surrounding area

Robert Mosky, RDM Development, received a "go" on the Wicker Park apartment project, 1624-28 W. Division, as a result of one of former 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno's actions during his last day as alderman in Chicago's City Council this last February. 

As reported by Crain's Chicago Business' Alby Gallun on Tuesday, the City Council approval, under the tutelage of Moreno, for a 121-unit, 17-story tower to be developed by RDM Development, at Division St. and Ashland Ave., is now the subject of two lawsuits. 

The project “will diminish the value of neighboring properties as a result of its inappropriate size, density and building scale and the resulting undue burden on public infrastructure and city service—including specifically the already overcrowded CTA Blue Line stop at Division Street,” Gallun quotes the suits. 

Bringing those suits is Vermilion Development, who is completing a project next door begun by Centrum Partners. The suits allege that the City Council violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act because Moreno never placed the RDM zoning proposal on City Council's Apr. 10 meeting. 

In addition, according to Gallun, Vermilion argues that the zoning amendment should never have gotten that far because the council failed to act on it within a six-month time frame mandated by the city's zoning code. 

RDM is not named as a defendant in the lawsuits, which were filed in Cook County Circuit Court, says Gallun. But the firm is redesigning the building, shrinking it to 13 stories from 17, Mosky said. It will still include 121 apartments. 

WallinGomez201610

This is a Wallin*Gomez rendering from October 2016

Background
The Wicker Park Committee's (WPC) Preservation and Development Committee (P&D) began reviewing several Mosky proposals for this location, starting in 2015. They ranged in height from 12 to 16 stories. The P&D's primary issue was that RDM was requesting a B3-5 underlying zoning. They argued that their space did not meet that zoning requirement

At one point, Centrum attempted to buy the property from Mosky or work some other agreement that would be advantageous for both developers. But according to Centrum, no deal could be achieved. 

Throughout the iterations presented by Mosky, Centrum began building their buildings. Local developers and residents began questioning whether it would be physically possible for RDM to get equipment into their property to construct the type of building they were proposing.

*This writer served on the WPC P&D Committee during the time of these developments

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