Alderman Brian Hopkins introduced a zoning ordinance to protect the Hideout from the Lincoln Yards development. Credit: Marissa De La Cerda

More than 100 supporters of the Hideout piled into the auditorium of Park Community Church last night for a public meeting held by the city’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) that was rumored to be about the 70-acre Lincoln Yards development, which would engulf and threaten the existence of the beloved music venue.

Tim and Katie Tuten, co-owners of the Hideout, had released a statement on Monday night saying they had asked the city to “delay any decisions on development, construction permits, and TIF’s until after the new mayor and city council are elected.” The note was widely shared on social media with musicians, comedians, and lifelong Chicagoans voicing their support of the historic venue located on 1354 W. Wabansia.

There was no formal discussion on the Hideout’s future at the meeting, however. Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) briefly addressed concerns about the venue at the beginning of the meeting. He said he’d introduced a zoning ordinance earlier in the day to give the Hideout both protection against development and potential landmark status.

“Tim and Katie, you’re not going anywhere,” he said. “I’ve got your backs!” The ordinance has not been passed yet, but the audience erupted in applause.

Although it was the Hideout that brought many people to the meeting, most of the discussion was about the proposal for the designation of the Cortland/Chicago River TIF that Mayor Emanuel introduced last year, which would likely divert tax money to help pay for the $5 billion Lincoln Yards development. Hopkins said that despite rumors about the meeting being about Lincoln Yards, no one from Sterling Bay was there to speak on next steps for the development. The next meeting specifically about Lincoln Yards will be held Nov. 29 at 6 PM at the Park Community Church, 1001 N. Crosby St.

The presentation on the Cortland/Chicago River TIF showed the specific infrastructure projects being considered for the district including new and improved streets, a realigned Armitage-Ashland-Elston intersection, a new bridge at Dominic and Armitage, and an extension of the 606 trail. The TIF district is being created to “transition the area to a modern, mixed-use business corridor” according to a handout that was given out at the door. Unlike other TIFs, said Chip Hastings, a spokesperson for DPD, the funds will be used for infrastructure, not private developments. Additionally, Hastings said, the TIF will provide 40,000 new jobs and 60 acres in open space for parks in conjunction with private development projects.

More than 100 supporters of the Hideout piled into Park Community Church Near North
More than 100 supporters of the Hideout piled into Park Community Church Near NorthCredit: Marissa De La Cerda

After the presentation, many attendees questioned where the parks would be located, but no answer was given. “Chicago is not giving us public parks by delivering us privately owned green space,” said Juanita Irizarry, executive director of Friends of the Parks.

Others questioned why there was a move to designate a TIF district so soon. “I notice your schedule has this all done before the mayor leaves in May,” said Lincoln Park community leader Allan Mellis. The TIF is set to go to the Community Development Commission (CDC) on December 11th and a joint review board hearing in January 2019 and another CDC hearing in February 2019.

“We are here today to ask for responsible development,” said Katie Tuten. “Let’s slow this TIF down.”