Monday, May 17, 2010

Wisdom Bridge Theatre meeting with developer Rich Aronson

I asked Rich Aronson if he plans on working with the IEPA on the contaminated land issue. He answered, No.

Swanette Triem, infamous for the North Shore School teardown and IEPA stop work order, was looking a little pale when this was mentioned.

Michael Luckenbach asked Rich Aronson if he currently owns the Wisdom Bridge property. Rich Aronson answered evasively. The answer is No.

Another resident asked Rich Aronson if he had funding for this building. Rich Aronson answered, No.

Rich Aronson stated that he currently has no interested tenants.

Rich Aronson also stated that he may not be able to acquire a loan to fund the project.

Partner, Scott Sinar was not in attendance for this meeting.

In my opinion, the citizens of Rogers Park deserve better.

My final analysis is that this project will not go through. The three main reasons are:

1. The land contamination issue. The IEPA will make the demolition of the Wisdom Bridge Theatre cost prohibitive. If Rich Aronson hires a dubious demolition crew that demo's during nights and weekends, the land will be further contaminated. We learned this from Swanette Triem. It will remain an empty lot or dangerous hole in the ground for years to come.

2. The money issue. Rich Aronson always states that if the project becomes cost prohibitive, he will abandon it and move on. As stated earlier, He cannot fund the project independently, he has no tenants lined up, he even has doubts that the bank will give him a loan.

3. Community opposition. Rich Aronson also has a reputation for buckling under the pressure of community opposition. This was proven with the abandonment of his 7315 N. Sheridan Road project after our community strongly opposed it. I'm not putting the guy down here. I'm just saying that if he has to fight at all, he considers his projects a waste of time and money.

One more note: RP1000 will continue to follow the progress or decay of this project closely with photography, videos and words.