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Chicago North Side

UPTOWN – Urban Development on the Rise

Uptown is Chicago’s new hip, north side neighborhood… or at least that what some want it to become. After acquiring seven buildings in the area, developer Jay Michaels is hoping to be on the cutting edge of a new trend: posh, exclusive, luxury living in Uptown, Chicago.

For a neighborhood that is more currently known for its halfway houses, occasional but still common shootings, and poorly rated public school district, it can only be described as a stretch to imagine Uptown as the new Wicker Park, or Lakeview.

Uptown already got a target in early 2010, and small pockets of well developed real-estate spot the area.

Uptown’s “El” stop, Wilson, which is due for an extensive upgrade in 2016, is one among many planned neighborhood development projects. According to Alderman Cappleman, these developments are a very positive step for the neighborhood.

Solemn Oath Brewery of Naperville is currently “eyeing” an Uptown location for its expansion.

And yet there are worries that the new plans for the Uptown “face lift” may leave lower income individuals and families in the dust – a trend not uncommon in urban development.

Mayor Emmanuel designated Uptown as an “Opportunity Area”. Critics cite this as simply a plan to gentrify, while others are excited for the upcoming changes.

Reports on the developments are few as the neighborhood works to game steam amongst the slew of other Chicago issues. More first hand accounts are needed to get the full breadth on the affect and nature of the planned changes to the region.

With developers buying buildings and edging out lower income residents, there are real fears that individuals will be forced out of the neighborhood and social service facilities such as the Chateau Hotel will need to move as rents are increased and renovation plans are enforced.

In early March, protesters walked along Broadway past the Chateau Hotel and Alderman Cappleman’s office to protest the planned changes, calling for him not to kick the low-income out of Uptown.

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