Thursday, May 21, 2015

Park Manor Inn: What's Really Going On

Park Manor Inn: What is Really Going On
On Friday, May 15, attorneys for Mr. Herb Hedgeman and Hedgeman Development filed an application for a special use permit to develop the Park Manor Inn at 76th State Street.
The process of applying for a special use permit is a requirement to build a hotel in the City of Chicago. In addition, the hotel would also have to receive City of Chicago City Council approval.
First, Alderman Roderick Sawyer has stated he has not endorsed this project and this action is strictly initiated by Mr. Hedgeman,. Alderman Sawyer's main issue is that Mr. Hedgeman refuses to place a flag(national brand) on the property. Also, no community organization has endorsed this project as many questions have not been answered. Some of the community resident concerns that have not been addressed that include but not limited to
1. The lot stays filthy and he refuses to clean. Neighbors want lot clean and free of weeds and debris.
2. Rendering looks like a State Street project building. Want architectural elements added to exterior to make property attractive.
3. Parking is inadequate, current plan only includes 45 parking spaces. Residents want one to one parking to rooms.
4. Clarification of management. Residents want clarification as to who is going to manage. Preference is for management company currently managing South Loop Hotel to manage this one and Mr Hedgeman have no day to day involvement.
5.Branding- current proposal includes no branding. Residents want a flag on the hotel.
6. Economic Benefit- presentation gave vague answers. Residents want reports from City of Chicago office of tourism and McPier Authority as to the economic impact this hotel might or might not have.
7. Community Benefit- presentation skirted issue. Who will be the builders and what percentage of construction jobs will go to community residents and African Americans in general.
8. Development Team- Mr. Hedgeman stated he and Mr. Higginbottom are the principals. Residents want to know and meet all parties who allege they are part of development team.
9. Barbara Ann/Sportsman Motels- residents want clarification on the status of a sale of the Sportsman and Barbara Ann.

A recap of the previous meeting is as follows…/recap-of-t…
Because the application has been filed it will require another community meeting. Per the city requirements residents who live within 500-100 ft have to be notified by mail. Also, there will be a hearing with the zoning board. Based on previous decisions the board takes community input seriously. The zoning change for EZ Pawn was denied after the community stated it was not wanted.
Since the first meeting there has been quite a bit of activity surrounding hotels on the southside that question the viability of this project. There are two new developments being built/renovated north of this development. Those developments are:
1. The former Lakeshore Inn (49th Lake Shore Drive) is going through a multi million dolaare renovation and now flying the Laquinta flag.
2. Rumors that the Hilton Corp will develop a property under one of their flags at 59th Cottage Grove.
These two developments which are closer to McCormick Place make it difficult for the Park Manor Inn to garner any overflow business from conventions and trade shows.
While these developments are in the works, the political climate has changed as well. With the remap taking place, Mr. Hedgeman faces new opposition from a new alderman over his controversial Sportman Motel property. The Sportsman property is now in Alderman Ariel E. Reboyras(30th). The property was an issue in that recent aldermanic race. Alderman Reboyras and other southwest side alderman can use various parliamentary procedures to block a city council vote and testify at any hearings.
With all these issues it makes some question why is Mr. Hedgeman pushing the issue? Per sources, it may be because it is alleged that a Chatham resident who alleged that he was an emissary for a political candidate and could deliver community support if Mr. Hedgeman supported his candidate and gave construction contracts to certain companies/individuals.
There are a lot of questions that need to asked at the meeting and hearing. So what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Curbed Chicago has picked up on this story:


PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!