Pullman National Historic Landmark District Residents Speak Out Against Development Of Artist Lofts

Mike Krauser
May 15, 2018 - 1:21 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Residents of the Pullman National Historic Landmark District gave the city an earful on Tuesday during a public meeting over a planned development of 38 artist lofts.  

The issue, said one Pullman resident, has divided the community. 

Most who spoke at the meeting are opposed. 

“You’re going to let them desecrate one of only nine National Monuments to African American history.” 

Marc Cassello, of the Pullman National Monument Preservation Society, called the planned new construction building “a monstrosity.”  

He made a comparison to “that space ship on top of Soldier Field,” noting the Bears stadium lost his historic landmark status. 

He said “we’re not going to let that happen here in Pullman.” 

Pullman resident Pat Brannon, the only person to speak publicly in support of the project, although it does have supporters, said, "we want to bring artists who are really on fire about this neighborhood," to a smattering of applause.  

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Georgia Broman said she’s lived in Pullman for 49 years. 

The planned development using two vacant structures and building a third between them is across the street from her home. 

The plan calls for 38 artist lofts. 

“It’s so troubling it hurts me to the core,” she said. 

She noted the new building would be 32,000 square feet, twice the size of a building that had been on the site. 

“I think even a five-year old will tell that’s not the same.  Sesame Street, come on, it’s not the same,” she said. 

She said people she’s known for 40 years have told her she’s not smart enough to understand economic development.  

“It’s really hurtful,” she said. 

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The city has determined the project would have no adverse effect.  The state has the final say.  

A city representative was called a liar and racist by some in the crowd for no black involvement in the project. .   

An Art Space rep, Andrew Michaelson, said community engagement is important. 

He said revisions have been made already regarding the size and scope of the project.