You’ll remember that last June the alderman made quite a fuss about the building at 2906-10 West Devon, calling it an “eyesore.” [For the uninitiated, “eyesore” is 50th Ward shorthand meaning “follow the money.”] She persuaded the City to take the property owner to court, alleging various building code violations, and demanded that the owner improve the property and rent the storefronts, or sell.
Read my post of July 7, 2015, “What’s an Eyesore?” for details. I said at the time that I suspected that it wasn’t the site’s appearance that warranted the alderman’s attention. Here are photos of the site taken last July and last month. The building remains in far better shape, at least on the outside, than many buildings on Devon that are rented to grocery stores, medical clinics, and other businesses.
The storefronts remain vacant, and appear to be no cleaner and no dirtier than they were when the alderman decided to make an issue of them.
I’ve been following the case [2015 M1 401751] as it meanders through the Circuit Court. Suit was filed by the City against six defendants on June 12, 2015. It took several months to serve the defendants and for attorneys to file their appearances. On February 10, the case was set for status call on May 18, 2016.
Ward history suggests that this lawsuit may be an attempt to benefit private interests that want to acquire this property. It’s certainly shameful that, at the very least, the alderman publicly branded the defendants as slumlords, potentially creating a public relations nightmare for property owners and banks caught in the downward spiral created by the absence of an economic development plan for the neighborhood. She promised that plan when she ran for alderman in 2011, and it’s way past due.
In the meantime, the alderman might look into suing the owners of real eyesores, like those pictured below. Both are within a block or two of her office.
Perhaps if the right parties show an interest in buying these properties, she’ll get to work cleaning them up.