Suspiring Over Spires & Spindles

Sigh. What is it with pointy structures around here? As one goes up, another is set to be taken down. Neither effort seems to do much for the local culture.

First, the sad news: Sun-Times and Tribune report that the Berwyn Spindle is up for auction. As a former resident of Berwyn, I have to say that this is a sad moment for the small city. Not sure what Berwyn would have going for it otherwise, frankly, save for a few Son of Svengoolie mentions, the Houby Day Parade (I have yet to see a single mushroom in Berwyn), and bungalows. If you want to help save this historic piece of Berwyn, visit SaveTheSpindle.com. (The Spindle will be there for at least a few more months, but get on it now.)

Secondly, the not-sure-if-it's-good-or-bad news: The Chicago Spire isn't for Chicago, it's just being built here. When some co-workers wondered out loud last week about who would buy all the condos in the Chicago Spire, I quipped "Japanese investors." I was closer than I thought. Turns out there's strong Malaysian interest in the 'Spire properties.

The Spire condos aren't remotely affordable for the vast majority of Chicagoans. (Compare the price of the Berwyn Spindle auction to the price of a single unit in The Chicago Spire, and think about the relatively small expense to nurture local culture versus the exorbitant expense put into making Chicago more like NYC or London. Consider our ridiculous new sales tax, the highest sales tax in the entire country. We're selling out in the hope of attracting the Olympic Games, tickets to which none of us will be able to afford by 2016. What fun!)

The lesson we can all learn here is, don't get rid of pointy structures you already have - they define your character more than another Walgreen's store ever could. But if you're building a new pointy structure, don't make it too expensive for the city in which you're building.

Spindle photo by Andrew Westel. Rendering of spire by Shelbourne Development Group.


Chris B. said...

Sadly, I think the Walgreens is defining the character of many places.

PYLB said...

True. In fact, Cermak Plaza, where the Berwyn Spire sits, already has a Walgreen's that works just fine.

Jason said...

Some people in Chicago real estate have questioned whether they will even be able to sell the condos in the Spire at the prices they're going for. It had never occurred to me that the buyers could all be from out of town. As ridiculously expensive as the penthouses will be, those should sell. Highly exclusive and unique and someone will always pay for that. As for the hundreds(?) of other units, we'll see I guess.

Jason said...

Sadly, the Berwyn Spindle was
on May 2, 2008.

Now Berwyn's sole claim to fame is the Son of Svengoulie gag.

PYLB said...

I maintained this the whole time I lived there: Berwyn sucks. I hope the new Walgreen's store is worth the loss of character. I'll never know first-hand since there's no reason to go to Berwyn now.

kroushlconflict said...

Perhaps the Houby Parade still lives on... it was one of the highlights each year of my childhood.