Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks at the future construction site with the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider (left), DePaul University's president; Jim Reilly (center), then-CEO of McCormick Place, and Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, before plans to develop several hotels and a DePaul basketball arena near McCormick Place were announced in a news conference at McCormick Place on May 16, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles/Sun-Times Media
Plan for McPier entertainment district hits a legal snag
McPier fear? Sneed is told the development of McPier’s event center, hotel and neighborhood park is not a done deal . . . yet.
An obstacle remains.
Sneed has learned that a legal skirmish has developed between the CenterPoint Properties Trust, an Oak Brook-based industrial development firm — which owned the final piece of land needed for the new DePaul University basketball arena and Marriott hotel — and Digital Realty, a San Francisco-based company that runs a data center on adjoining property.
The skirmish is over a 1999 zoning agreement dealing with land-use restrictions.
“The resolution is critical to finalizing the sale of the property from CenterPoint to McPier in order to move forward with the project,” said a Sneed source.
◆ Backshot: The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority approved the purchase of the final land for a planned entertainment district in the South Loop around McCormick Place just recently.
◆ Set shot: It will include the DePaul University arena, a Marriott hotel, the rehab of the American Book Co. building — and a new data center.
◆ Money shot: The land for the project, which is intended to revitalize the area around McCormick Place, will be purchased for $40 million. McPier also will demolish existing structures on the sites.
◆ The sticking point: “Both CenterPoint and Digital Realty have mutual interests, but are fighting over who should assume what costs,” said another top source familiar with the imbroglio. “Meanwhile, the plans for McCormick Place on the west end of the block have to go forward before the deal is closed at the end of the month.”
Is this a case of rich guys fighting over money?
Is a lawsuit about to be filed?
Beat this tweet!
“The tie tells no lie.” Thus tweeted veteran Chicago Sun-Times editor and political sage Scott Fornek, who based a prediction that Gov. Pat Quinn was going to sign the Chicago pension bill Monday on the tie he was wearing.
◆ Fornek noted that he has worn the striped, purple at bill signings.
◆ Translation: The tweet is the latest version of a scoop in the digital age.
The Clinton smile . . .
The Clinton entourage — Bill, Hill, a pregnant Chelsea and hubby Marc Mezvinsky — was greeted with applause Sunday in New York while taking in the Broadway play “All The Way,” starring actor Bryan “Breaking Bad” Cranston as former President Lyndon B. Johnson. Cranston received a double whammy Sunday when he won a Tony award for his performance.
The Carter file . . .
Random thoughts and observations: The appearance of former President Jimmy Carter — ostensibly the nation’s greatest former president for his humanitarian work with the Carter Center — at the Publicity Club of Chicago gala last week turned out to be a Chicago love fest.
Greeted by cheers and a standing ovation, Carter was in town to honor two PR titans, Rick Jasculca and Jim Terman, whom he called “members of my extended family.”
Our former president may be approaching 90, but frail he is not.
Vital and electric while charting his course to help the helpless, Carter, who has written 28 books, told the audience, “Next month I will be married to the same wonderful woman for 68 years.”
And you’d think his humanitarian works via the Carter Center, which operates in 80 countries, would exhaust him. But he and former first lady, Rosalynn, are off this week on their 33rd trek to spend five days building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
“Admittedly, I didn’t know who the hell Jimmy Carter was before I started to work for him decades ago, but I soon learned he wasn’t the typical politician, which can be both a blessing and a curse,” Jasculca said.
“He brought a real moral and ethical quality to everything. He created the U.S. Departments of Energy and Education and is the guy who is the only one to have developed an accord between Israel and an Arab country. Now he travels the world dealing with human rights, especially for women and girls sold into slavery; ensuring democratic elections; and neglected tropical diseases.
“I lost my dad in 1968 and started working for Jimmy Carter in 1976,” Jasculca said. “He has become my inspiration, we have traveled the world together, and I am honored to be part of his family.”