posted by chicago pop
This month, a small group of residents gathered at the Hyde Park Art Center to see Gang's designs.
While several praised the scale and beauty of Gang's work, some residents said they were worried that the project might alter Hyde Park's quirky, small-town feel. And others were concerned about Antheus' plans to ask the city for $10 million in financial assistance — money the company initially said it wouldn't seek. Funding would come from the 53rd Street tax increment financing (TIF) district.
"You are using TIF money for huge projects that are forcing independent business owners who have been in Hyde Park for generations in some cases to close," said resident S. Beth Thomas. "You want to make Hyde Park look like a world-class neighborhood, but my concern is the people who are being displaced," she said.
"MAC has a history of making really dumb decisions when they acquire new properties and having to back down when it's a public relations disaster," said George Rumsey, an affordable housing advocate and former president of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference.
Ungar, 44, often plays "good cop" and flies in to rescue MAC, using his affable personality to calm residents' ire. "He knows how to feel your pain," Rumsey said. "He'll say, 'Let me look at it' and calls and takes people to lunch."