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Matlak's Revenge

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 4, 2007 2:30PM

2007_5_i_has_a_building.jpgJust days after Ted Matlak lost re-election to Scott Waguespack in the 32nd Ward, a proposal to upzone a group of buildings north of The Crotch has surfaced. According to the Chicago Journal, local developer Krzysztof Karbowski has purchased the Northwest Tower at 1600 N. Milwaukee for $5.17 million, and is asking for a zoning change so he can build out the office tower, converting it to residential units, convert the adjacent Hollander Fireproof Warehouse building at 1616 N. Milwaukee, an empty lot, and two historic three-story buildings at 1628 and 1634 N. Milwaukee into a 51-unit mixed-use development, including parking for 248 cars. Although Matlak lost to Scott Waguespack, people living near the proposed development received notice of the requested zoning change shortly after the runoff elections. Historic preservationists and members of the local zoning committee are concerned that Matlak will try and push the zoning change through before his term ends May 21.

Adding to the concerns of locals is the fact that the proposal hasn't been slated for consideration at any of the city's zoning meeting scheduled between the run-off election or the end of Matlak's term. For his part, Waguespack has expressed hope that Matlak will respect the wishes of the people that voted in the last election, and hold off on zoning changes until the new Alderman can review the project in a more official capacity (calls to both offices by Chicagoist were not immediately returned). One interesting fact, however, seems to sum the whole situation up: The contact name on the public notice directs people to Frederick E. Agustin, an attorney for the Law Offices of Samuel V.P. Banks, nephew of 36th Ward Alderman William Banks, who who is also head of the City Zoning Committee. It seems that even when you are a lame duck alderman, loyalty and power mean more in this city than the community that votes.

Image via Liz Revision