|from left: Rafael Leon, Ernest Wong, Andrew Mooney, James Houlihan|
Commissioner Andrew Mooney acknowledged that Northwestern University, which owns and seeks to destroy Prentice, has no plans to break ground for new construction on the site until 2015, at the earliest. Commissioner James Houlihan was one several commissioners who seemed to suspect that the biggest snow job of the day wasn't the one that had just started to fall outside the County Building, where the meeting was held, but the dishonest and evasive campaign Northwestern waged to gut Prentice's landmark protection. “I have this suspicion,” said Houlihan, “that Northwestern has placed before us a false question.”
No matter. You dance with the guy who brung you, and for the landmarks commissioners, that guy was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to whom they all owed their appointment. And Rahm's intentions were never a secret. He was working with Northwestern to evade landmark designation for Prentice almost from the moment he took office. Last October he went public with the imperial thumbs-down.
|Northwestern Senior VP of Business |
and Finance Eugene Sunshine
The Save Prentice coalition issue a quick response:
We are disappointed that the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to again reject its unanimous preliminary landmark recommendation for Prentice. By the standard of Chicago’s Landmarks Ordinance, the Commission made its decision based on improper considerations in an improper forum.
If Judge Cohen lifts his stay, all indications are that Northwestern will proceed swiftly to smashing Prentice into dust. The result will not be their much heralded new billion-dollar research lab, but a vacant lot, right across the street from two huge blocks that have also been vacant for over five years, with no definite plan for construction yet in sight. In a burned-out neighborhood, vacant block after vacant block would be considered a major planning failure. On the empty wastelands of the Northwestern campus, where the very gravel is marbled with insider clout, it's just business.