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In the News

Letter from Alderman Reilly Regarding Vacation Rental Applications  

May 21, 2015

Dear Neighbor,


Last week I attended the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing to consider the vacation rental application for 67 E. Cedar Street.  Although my objection was documented and reinforced with the Board and neighborhood residents since the first hearing in March, I felt strongly about standing in support of my constituents with concerns about the changing nature of their block. The transiency of "hotel use" along this low-rise, exclusively residential block is clearly incompatible with surrounding long-standing homeowners.  I am very pleased to report that the ZBA denied the application for Cedar Street last Friday.  


For those of you unfamiliar with the issue and the ordinance, I would like to share some important background.  I am the author and sponsor of the Vacation Rental Ordinance.   After nearly two years and 26 drafts, the city Law Department and I finally passed the legislation on the books today.  We underwent that painstaking process to protect downtown homeowners' largest investment: their residence.  I clearly understand the disruption of "hotel" transiency within predominantly residential blocks.   


And about the Zoning Board of Appeals: the "ZBA" is an independent body, appointed by Mayor Emanuel.  They review Specials Uses, taking Council input under advisement only. It is here that I appreciate the participation of concerned citizens, like those who attended last week's hearing to testify with me.  Community involvement at these hearings, is key.  They are designed for the very purpose of collecting neighborhood feedback in order for the Board to make an informed, responsible decision.  Up until the hearing for 67 E. Cedar, public turnout and submitted objection documents is typically low.    


I ask that those of you affected by this incompatible use now or in the future to actively participate in the public hearings.  The democracy of this process is delivered by the city to ensure the highest quality-of-life possible for you.  As your representative, I take issues like these very seriously and fight for the best possible outcome.  I am grateful to those who have joined me in this important work so far.




Brendan Reilly

Alderman, 42nd Ward 



Alderman Reilly Helps Break Ground for Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center in Streeterville!

May 21, 2015


Alderman Reilly recently joined Mayor Emanuel, Senator Mark Kirk, Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, and other leaders in the Northwestern community for the groundbreaking of the new Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center on East Huron Street.


From L to R: Alderman Brendan Reilly; Patrick M. Magoon, President and CEO, Lurie Children's Hospital; Eric G. Neilson, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs, Feinberg School of Medicine; Louis A. Simpson, Northwestern donor and trustee; Kimberly K. Querrey, Northwestern donor; Morton Schapiro, Northwestern President; Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Carol L. Bernick, Chair, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare Board. Photo by Nathan Mandell


The new 600,000 square foot facility, designed by Perkins + Will, features a curved glass exterior and flexible floor plans for laboratories. The building's design will foster a dynamic collegial environment that will draw research faculty and students from across Northwestern's Evanston and Chicago campuses and affiliated medical institutions.

To read the full press release, click here.



Alderman Reilly - In the News! 

December 9, 2014


After the Special City Council meeting last Tuesday, December 2nd, Alderman Reilly stopped by the Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano radio show on WGN for a recap on the Minimum Wage Ordinance.



To listen to the interview, click here.


Alderman Reilly was also a guest on the Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft Show on WLS this past Wednesday, December 3rd to talk about the minimum wage increase in Chicago.

To listen to the interview, click here.



Alderman Reilly Joins CIM Group for Block Thirty Seven Apartment Tower Groundbreaking

November 18, 2014



Last month, Alderman Reilly joined Mayor Emanuel and executives from CIM Group for a commemorative groundbreaking to celebrate the start of construction on CIM's 34-story, 690-unit apartment tower at Block Thirty Seven, located on State Street between Randolph and Dearborn Streets.


Set on the northern end of the block atop the five-story, 275,000-square-foot Block Thirty Seven retail center, the residential tower is the final phase of the development, creating a mixed-use property at this high profile State Street location. The sleek, glass-clad tower's recreation and relaxation areas are designed to take advantage of the sweeping city views with a fifth floor amenity deck with an outdoor pool and spa and a rooftop spa and fitness center.


Since acquiring Block Thirty Seven at 108 N. State Street in the heart of Chicago's retail corridor, CIM Group has been implementing its plan to reposition and enhance the center as an attractive destination for the community.   The company recently announced it is bringing an 11-screen AMC Dine-In Theatre to the fourth floor. The new theatres join the previously announced 22,000-square-foot sophisticated casual multi-concept dining hall to be created by Richard Sandoval Restaurants on the third floor and a signature new restaurant from the Lawless family on the ground floor at the corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets.


To learn more, click here to read the full press release.



Alderman Reilly's Council Recap on WGN Radio with Dean Richards

September 12, 2014



After City Council on Wednesday, September 10th, Alderman Reilly stopped by the WGN Bob Sirott & Marianne Murciano Show, guest hosted by Dean Richards for a recap of the Council meeting.  The Alderman discussed hot topics including Filming and Arts in Chicago, Speed and Red Light Cameras, as well as addressing City service requests.  


To listen to the interview, click here. Please Note: Alderman Reilly's segment begins at 1:04:08.



Alderman Reilly Welcomes New Bennett Day School to the West Loop!

August 22, 2014


(Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr.; Kate Cicchelli, Co-Founder / Head of School; Cameron Smith, CEO / Co-Founder; Ald. Brendan Reilly)


Earlier this week Alderman Reilly joined 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr., at the Grand Opening and Community Open House Celebration for Bennett Day School, located at 657 W. Fulton Street.



(Ribbon Cutting for Bennett Day School)


Bennett Day School is a new Chicago two-year old through eighth grade school that is passionate about serving families a progressive education based on the Reggio Emilia collaborative approach of self-directed learning.


The school's innovative West Loop location provides opportunities for students to interact with the local community and be a part of Chicago's thriving downtown culture.   


For more information about Bennett Day School please visit: www.bennettday.org.



Alderman Reilly Votes Against Weakening Legislative Inspector General

August 1, 2014


This week, Alderman Reilly voted against a proposal that would strip the Legislative Inspector General of his authority to investigate aldermen for allegations of campaign finance violations. The ordinance would shift those investigative duties to the Board of Ethics - the agency that is responsible for adjudicating these cases.


The Board of Ethics has acknowledged that investigating allegations of campaign violations would pose a conflict of interest, given the agency must ultimately determine the outcome of these cases.  Further, the Board does not have the resources or capabilities to conduct these investigations in a thorough manner.


On Wednesday, the City Council voted 42-6 to approve stripping the Legislative Inspector General of this investigative authority.  Alderman Reilly was one of the 6 aldermen who voted "no."  Alderman Reilly was joined by Aldermen Hairston (5th), Waguespack (32nd), Arena (45th), Fioretti (2nd) and Sposato (36th) in opposing the legislation.


Chicago Aldermen Cast a Brazen Vote for Self-protection 

Chicago Tribune Editorial - August 1, 2014


Just how dumb does the Chicago City Council believe its constituents to be?


Really, really dumb.


Aldermen on Wednesday approved an ordinance that weakens their own inspector general. They hope Chicago voters will believe the baloney that the City Council was merely "closing a loophole." That's quite a chunk of Oscar Mayer to choke down.


To review: The aldermen hired Inspector General Faisal Khan in 2011 to be their watchdog on ethics matters. When he arrived they gave him no investigative staff, insisted he get sworn statements from all whistleblowers (a surefire chilling effect), and told him he couldn't launch investigations without approval from the Chicago Board of Ethics.


That board, appointed by the mayor, has not issued a finding against an alderman in more than 25 years. During that time, more than 20 aldermen have been convicted of felonies.


And now, more of the same council self-protection as the aldermen further insulate themselves from Khan.


Until Wednesday, Khan had been doing the job of investigating complaints about aldermanic conduct. He has wanted the authority to initiate investigations, just like other inspectors general, rather than have to wait for signed, sworn complaints. Instead, the council gave that power to the do-little ethics board - which doesn't even want the responsibility.


Led by Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th - who, the Tribune reported Thursday, faces allegations that he violated the city's ethics rules - the council speedily passed an ordinance that limits how soon and how far Khan can go with his inquiries. And the ethics board now has the awkward roles of initiating investigations and also adjudicating them.


Was O'Connor, who knew there was an ongoing ethics probe into his fundraising, deliberately trying to thwart Khan? O'Connor denies that he was. O'Connor told the Tribune his ordinance strengthening the ethics board, a seven-member panel, had nothing to do with his case. O'Connor insisted he engaged in no wrongdoing.


"Unequivocally, no, there will not be any finding against me," he said.


Whatever the motivation here, why would council members make themselves look foolish by reducing Khan's authority to look at them?


Oh, yes. We remember: Chicago aldermen place top priority on protecting their collective behinds. They might occasionally battle it out on policy or budget issues, but there's one thing you can count on them to do in lock step: thwart transparency.


Khan says the council's vote now jeopardizes dozens of investigations he had been pursuing. Which is exactly what aldermen evidently wanted.


Since the day Khan arrived, the City Council has been largely uncooperative. Aldermen and staff members often don't turn over documents. They don't return messages. Sometimes, they don't even show up for scheduled interviews. Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the past has brushed off Khan's reports, at one point saying he had neither the "time or interest" to read them.


Some council members would love for Khan to resign out of frustration. In the meantime, they've voted to undercut him.


O'Connor's ordinance passed 42-6.


The aldermen who voted no: Bob Fioretti, 2nd; Leslie Hairston, 5th; Scott Waguespack, 32nd; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; Nicholas Sposato, 36th, and John Arena, 45th.


Ald. Natashia Holmes, 7th, was absent and Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, did not vote.


If you live in Chicago and your alderman went along with this, he or she voted against better government and hoped you were too dumb to notice.


That vote might be the most revealing roll call of 2014. Remember it when your alderman's name appears on the February primary election ballot.



Alderman Reilly Commends the Polk Family on their Legacy Gift to Navy Pier

July 18, 2014



(From L to R: Howard Polk, Sandra Polk Guthman, Bruce Bachmann from Polk Bros. Foundation Board of Directors; Marilynn Gardner, Navy Pier; Mayor Emanuel; Bill Brodsky, Navy Pier; and Alderman Reilly. Credit - Greg Keith Porter Imagery)


Alderman Reilly was honored to participate in the announcement made earlier this week for Navy Pier's $20 million Legacy Gift from Chicago's legendary Polk Family.


This donation will contribute to the dramatic transformation of the Pier, and marks marks the single largest private gift ever made to Navy Pier in its nearly 100-year history.

The Polk family gift will support the redevelopment of Navy Pier's 13 acre entrance - Gateway Park - and its new fountain, promenade and exciting performance lawns. The Polk family's generosity will be recognized by naming various elements in the new Polk Bros Park, which will serve as Navy Pier's green front door, inviting the public into a revitalized Pier.

As part of Polk Bros Park, the main promenade connecting the city with Navy Pier will be widened and enhanced with a Welcome Pavilion, which will house Park amenities, such as bicycle and skate rental. The new Polk Bros Park also will include two magnificent new performance spaces at its southern end to host live arts and culture events against the backdrop of the lake and spectacular Chicago skyline.


To read the full press release, see renderings and learn more about the Polk Family's commitment to Chicago, click here.








Respect. Honor. Remember.

Chicago's Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony

May 21, 2015


The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) present Chicago's Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony this Saturday, May 23.


The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11am on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.


Brigadier General Alicia A. Tate-Nadeau of the Illinois National Guard will serve as the parade's Grand Marshal. BG Tate-Nadeau was named Assistant Adjutant General, Army, in March 2015, becoming the Illinois National Guard's first female general. With 30 years of military service, including a tour in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, she currently oversees the Illinois National Guard's homeland security response.


For the wreath laying ceremony and parade, BG Tate-Nadeau will join Mayor Emanuel, service members, veterans and Gold Star families in remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


Gold Star family members are identified by the Gold Star Lapel Pin and the Next of Kin Lapel Pin that are presented to families who have lost a loved one in the United States Armed Forces to combat operations or while on active duty. Approved by Congress beginning in 1947, the Gold Star Pins are not an award, but symbols of honor worn by family members in remembrance of their fallen loved ones.


The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. The 2015 parade will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII and the City of Chicago will give special recognition to the epic challenge faced by the "Greatest Generation." Participants in the parade include area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans' groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.


City of Chicago Memorial Day Events - Saturday, May 25, 2015 


11:00am Wreath Laying Ceremony -  

Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets)


12:00pm noon Memorial Day Parade -  

Step off from Lake and State, proceed south to Van Buren


Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died. The day, first observed on May 30, 1868, was called Decoration Day. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers.


The Chicago Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony is presented by the City of Chicago. For more information about the Illinois Gold Star visit, goldstarpins.org and for more information regarding the parade, please call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316 or visit cityofchicago.org/dcase



Historic Du Sable Bridge Celebrates 95th Anniversary!

May 21, 2015


Du Sable Bridge at Michigan Avenue


The Du Sable Bridge at Michigan Avenue, which celebrates its 95th Anniversary this month, first opened May 14, 1920 on the 50th Birthday of Mayor William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson. 


The Michigan Avenue Bridge is the second of four double deck trunnion bascule bridges built downtown. Both decks carried vehicular traffic - six lanes of boulevard traffic on the upper deck and four lanes of commercial traffic on the lower deck. What appears to be one large bridge is essentially two smaller bascule bridges side-by-side. The two are tied together to operate as one but can be operated independently if needed.


The four neoclassical beaux arts style bridgehouses and its central location make this the most recognizable, and to many the most beautiful, of Chicago's bascules. Functionally, the bridge only needed two bridgehouses for operation (NW and SE corners). The second pair was added to make an architectural statement about the importance of this crossing as a gateway between the north and south sides of the river.


Different names have been proposed over the life of the iconic bridge. In 1921, the Chicago Historical Society suggested a name change to the "Marquette-Joliet Bridge." In 1939, the Fort Dearborn memorial committee suggested to the city council that the bridge be named the "Fort Dearborn Bridge." Both of these naming attempts were unsuccessful.


In 2009, Alderman Reilly introduced a resolution to rename the Michigan Avenue Bridge the "Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable Bridge," to honor the first non-native settler of Chicago and our city's founder.  Click here to read the resolution.

Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable established the first settlement on the north branch of the Chicago River in 1773, at the current site of the Tribune Tower.  He lived there with his wife and close to one hundred other Potawatomi.  The settlement grew rapidly, and was soon distinguished for having racial, ethnic and cultural harmony and mutual respect among its diverse inhabitants.

The settlement founded by Du Sable was incorporated in 1833 as the Town of Chicago, and reincorporated as the City of Chicago in 1837.  Du Sable was declared the Founder of Chicago on October 26th, 1968 by the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.



Sailing by the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum


In June of 2006, the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum opened in the SW bridgehouse. The museum is maintained and operated by Friends of the Chicago River. It is the best place to learn about the Chicago River and the only place to observe the lifting machinery of a bridge in operation.


To learn more about the history of the Du Sable Bridge, visit www.chicagoloopbridges.com.



Alderman Reilly Welcomes New Streeterville Whole Foods Market!

February 3, 2015



(From L - R: Alderman Reilly, Tom Marciniak, Edwin Morales, Laura Bucher, Matt Mell, David Schwartz, and Michael Bashaw)


Alderman Reilly participated in the official "Bread-Breaking Ceremony" last week to celebrate the opening of the new Streeterville Whole Foods Market at 255 E. Grand Avenue. To learn more about the store's unique offerings, click here to read the official press release.


The Streetervillle location is the first of seven new Chicagoland Whole Foods Markets planned to open in 2015. Another 42nd Ward store is scheduled to open Wednesday, March 25 in the West Loop at 1 N. Halsted Street.



443 North Wabash Elevated Walkway Now Open!

December 23, 2014


Almost one year ago, Alderman Reilly was presented with a demolition permit for the former Lake Shore Athletic Club (LSAC) including the attached elevated walkway, located at 443 N. Wabash.  As many residents can attest, that walkway which connects Michigan Avenue to Wabash Avenue is heavily trafficked year round.   


Understanding that demolition would be more costly and take additional time, the Alderman negotiated the retention and necessary reconstruction of the walkway for continued public use.  Additional support beams and columns were installed and a new handrail was added on the north side where the walkway was previously connected to the LSAC building.


The walkway has been closed since February for public safety reasons but just re-opened last week----several weeks ahead of schedule!


Alderman Reilly would like to sincerely thank Zeller Realty Group for restoring access to this important public amenity and remaining a strong corporate leader downtown.



Alderman Reilly Celebrates Opening of Chicago Blackhawks Flagship Retail Store on Magnificent Mile!

October 14, 2014


(From L to R: John McDonough, Alderman Reilly, Jonathan Toews, Rocky Wirtz)

Last week, Alderman Reilly was on hand to welcome the new Chicago Blackhawks flagship retail store at 333 North Michigan Avenue with Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz, President & CEO John McDonough, VP & General Manager Stan Bowman and team Captain Johnathan Toews.


The project, developed by Wirtz Realty, transformed the landmark location into a 5,000 square-foot, two-story retail location at one of the most highly-trafficked locations in Chicago at the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue.


The new flagship store is equipped to host live radio and television broadcasts and features over 20 video screens with up-to-the-minute Blackhawks content, including live games. Three interactive touchscreens are located on the second floor of the Blackhawks Store and allow fans to play Blackhawks trivia and view franchise history and current player information.


Additionally, a green screen utilizing augmented reality technology provides fans with an opportunity to take photos with their favorite players - virtually at four United Center locations, including at center ice and in the Blackhawks locker room, and share them via social media.


Fans will have access to exclusive merchandise and custom-made jerseys at the Blackhawks Store. Over 30 new brands will be available, along with expanded women's and children's retail lines. Historical Blackhawks memorabilia will be on display throughout, and fans can purchase photographs and game-used items.


Click here to view the official press release.



Alderman Reilly Honored with the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation's Illumination Award!

September 26, 2014


Alderman Reilly was the honored guest at Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation's (CLAF) Illumination 2014: 10th Annual Gala this past Friday, September 19th, at the historic Palmer House Hilton.   

CLAF presented Alderman Reilly with their most prestigious Leadership award, the Illumination Award, which is awarded to "selfless Civic and Community Leaders who through their ideas, leadership and counsel have increased the experience and well being for the Loop businesses, residents and visitors." 


 (Alderman Reilly accepting CLAF Illumination Award - photo credit: Steven Gross)


Marty Stern, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Chicago Loop Alliance, acknowledged the Alderman for his work in making the Loop more accessible for commerce and tourism; sensitivity to the needs of businesses along its busy corridors; open communication with the community; and support of CLA and CLAF programs, such as alley activation and placemaking initiatives, which provide a unique urban experience for residents, businesses and tourists. 



(Alderman Reilly: Pam Capitanini, Italian Village; Dean Lane, Palmer House Hilton - photo credit: Steven Gross)


The evening's events were hosted by Pamella Capitanini of Italian Village Restaurants and Dean Lane of the Palmer House, and included over 500 business leaders in attendance in an elegant setting. 


The mission of the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation (CLAF), a 501 (c) (3) corporation, is to develop, support and promote artistic, cultural, and public events that benefit businesses, individuals and stakeholders within the area served by the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA).  


Alderman Reilly is proud to work with the Chicago Loop Alliance to enhance the character of the Chicago Loop, and to promote economic development and tourism in the area.



Alderman Reilly Celebrates River North Dog Park Opening with Neighbors, Community Leaders and their Pets!

September 20, 2014


Last Saturday, Alderman Reilly was joined by Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, State Representative Esther Golar, community leaders from the River North Residents Association (RNRA) and River North Business Association (RNBA), and neighbors to celebrate the official opening of the new dog park at A. Montgomery Ward Park.


(From L to R: Art Bryan, RNBA Planning and Advocacy Chair; Skip Weiss, RNBA Chairman; Commissioner John Fritchey; Alderman Brendan Reilly; Clerk Susana Mendoza; Karen Jones, RNRA Administrative Services Manager; Brett Bunke, RNRA Pet Owner's Committee Chairman)





(Kristin Reilly with Buster, Alderman Reilly with Max)




(From L to R: Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, 12th District; Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza; Representative Esther Golar, 6th District; Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward)




A. Montgomery Ward Park now has one of the best dog parks in the entire city. Alderman Reilly and Alderdogs Max and Buster look forward to enjoying the dog park with neighbors for years to come!




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