Arguments for McMobil plan don’t add up

To the Editor:

One thing the University of Chicago is justifiably proud of is its ability to teach analytical, logical and rational thinking. There are many U of C students and alums here. Why, then, has there not yet been a rational, analytical and logical argument offered to justify putting this particular proposed building on the McMobil site?

Fact: The proposed structure, 321 feet wide and 155 feet tall, is minimally three times larger than, and drastically out of proportion to, any structures nearby — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: Affordable housing would be provided regardless of the site on which this building was built (if the powers that be encouraged it) — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: Any (two bedroom) apartments built there would house some (small) families, though probably not a family of four — NOT a justification for that building on this site.
Fact: Any construction on this site will provide (temporary) construction jobs — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: Any retail building on this site will provide some (permanent) sales clerk etc. jobs — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: The Chamber of Commerce and other economic development people appear to support this project because it would bring retail. Any development on this site should include retail — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: This site is not close enough to transportation to meet the goals of transit oriented development (two and one-half blocks) and would not discourage car use —NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: Any TIF revenue from the project would help to ease the existing TIF deficit, would not actually add spendable TIF funds, and would have the same financial impact anywhere in the TIF district — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

Fact: The change in zoning from B3-2 to B3-5 and the subsequent “Planned Development” designation the developers are seeking would allow a wide latitude to alter or redesign portions of the project without further review — NOT a justification for that building on this site.

If there were a rational, analytical, logical and factual rationale to substantiate why scale is irrelevant, and why that particular building should be built on this specific site, I would love to hear it. Believe it or not, I might even change my mind.

Stephanie Franklin