While we were anticipating that the Board of Education would take up the issue of adding a non-charter school use to the contract with Svigos Development for the sale of Trumbull, the Board has not put the item on their agenda. Based on a conference call that I had last week, the Board of Education is looking for Svigos, the contract purchaser, to close on the building with the condo and theater use restriction. Svigos has indicated that there may not be enough profit in the project with the current restrictions. They are working on designs and different options to make the project more viable from their perspective.
I will share any proposed changes with the community and seek community input when they are made available to me.
Updated November 1, 2016
Prior to closing with Svigos Development, the Board of Education will need to vote on whether to add a non-charter private school as a potential use. Because the Board of Education does not have a meeting in November, Svigos will likely not close on the property until sometime after the December 7th Board of Education Meeting.
I will update the community with the outcome of the December 7th meeting.
Updated October 28
While many in the community are disappointed that the relationship between Timeline Theatre and Svigos Development did not work out, Svigos remains the contract purchaser of the former Trumbull School property. The Board of Education has informed us that it intends to honor the contract and close with Svigos in early November 2016. It is the Board of Education’s position that they do not want the expense of heating and the liability of carrying the closed Trumbull building on their real estate portfolio over the winter. Once Svigos closes, they will be legally limited to use the building in two ways, namely a theater and dwelling units or a private non-charter school. Because it is a “use restriction,” Svigos is not obligated to name a theater group prior to owning the property; rather, once the building is in use, the only use allowed (outside of the 49 dwelling units) will be a theater. Currently, they are in contact with numerous theaters to recruit a theater tenant.
At my insistence, it remains Svigos’ plan to landmark both the interior and the exterior of the building. They plan to build 49 apartments and to engage a theater group to occupy area on the first floor. Although Svigos is currently talking to a number of theater groups, they are open to engaging with additional groups should anyone have any thoughts or ideas in that vein. Interested parties can contact my office at 312-744-1244.
The use restriction that remains on the property will require that Svigos has a theater group and no other use outside of the 49 units. This use restriction will remain with the property indefinitely. If Svigos were to violate the use restriction, the Board of Education would have the ability to take the building back. Obviously, if the Board were to exercise this remedy after the building were converted, it would do so with the express purpose of reselling the property at a significantly higher amount than it is currently receiving for the building. This gives Svigos a strong incentive to comply with the use restriction and make sure that they have a theater group occupying the space.
Svigos has also asked that the school option be included in the potential uses. This allows them to sell the building to a non-charter private school if they decide that the theater use is not viable. I am supporting their effort to include this use in recognition of the large number of neighbors that were and remain supportive of a school use at the property. They have met with Waldorf, and will likely have subsequent meetings with Waldorf if the theater use proves to be too difficult to execute.
The Board of Education is aiming to close with Svigos on November 4, 2016. Again, they need to close as soon as possible to avoid paying the increased maintenance costs that will arise as colder weather begins.
Svigos will continue to keep our office apprised of their efforts to bring a theater to the first floor of the space and, if necessary, any plans for a school use. Before a final decision is made about the future of Trumbull, we will have a more involved dialect with the community.
Updated September 23
I am disappointed to report that Timeline Theatre will not be coming to the Trumbull School Building. Timeline and Svigos Development, along with my office and numerous representatives from the City and Board of Education, have worked extensively for over a year to attempt to make this partnership a success. This is not a reflection on the effort put forth by any party. The landmarking process for the building added complication to the project that simply made it too difficult for Timeline to make Trumbull their home. I wish Timeline the best in finding the right space moving forward.
Legally, Svigos remains the contract purchaser of Trumbull School. The Board of Education has set a date toward the end of October for Svigos to close on the Trumbull property. In the meantime, Svigos is working diligently to find a new theater partner for the space.
I will update the community as soon as I have further information.
Alderman, Ward Forty
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