Crain's quotes from Reilly's statement:
“Throughout this process, Northwestern and Fifield have argued there is absolutely no economically viable re-use option that could save the Lake Shore Athletic Club from demolition,” Reilly says in the statement. “Frankly, I am not persuaded by that argument. After meeting with many experienced architects, zoning attorneys, developers and urban planning consultants, I believe economically viable re-use options do, in fact, exist.”Crain's story also quotes an email from Fifield President Rick Cavenaugh saying he will use the extra time to lobby harder for the club's demise. “Once the actual legal and construction-related issues are debated, we feel confident that the concept of re-use will prove to be the lowest-and-worst use for the property.”
Clearly Fifield sees Reilly's actions as a threat, not only to their Lake Shore Drive project, but to the long-standing status quo in which development interests have operated largely unchecked. Fifield VP Alan Schactman has been circling the city's real estate community's wagons with a letter urging his colleagues put the screws to Reilly to get the alderman to step out of their way.
Powerhouse developer David "Buzz" Ruttenberg, has a letter in the current Crain's in which he decries the possibility that office holders like Reilly may be straying off the reservation He lectures readers that the "responsibility of an elected official to lead and not merely follow the majority, or a vociferous minority." What he really means, of course, is that having an alderman controlled by a vociferous minority is supposed to be his job, or, more accurately, that of of a cadre of big money-developers who use clout and massive campaign contributions to keep aldermen in their back pockets. For Ruttenberg, if Reilly turns his back on the voters who put him in office because they were disgusted with his predecessor's coziness with developers, it would be a profile in courage. For pretty much everyone else, it would simply be a betrayal.
The smart money still has to be against Reilly and the club's survival. Too many powerful interests feel the need to stop what he's doing in the bud, before the contagion can spread.
If Reilly doesn't come up with alternative developers with the resources and commitment to preserve the current building, he can please the developers and still play the good guy - "Hey, I tried," he can say, as the wrecker's ball crashes. The stand he took today proves that he's brave. The next two months will determine if he's effective.