There’s a condominium building that was built on Chicago Avenue just east of Doggie Day Play. They had a sign outside as they were building it, and it said, “Starting at $500,000.” That’s over a half million dollars for a condo in a 5-story building! I even took a photograph of that sign. That was about five years ago.
Now they have built giant tall buildings at Forest Avenue and Lake Street and along South Boulevard just east of Harlem Avenue. These buildings are so high I can’t even see the tops of them from my windshield. I guess the idea is to stack them higher and higher, so that Oak Park gets a healthy piece of the property taxes.
Look at your utility bills (phone, gas, electric). Tell me what you see. Oak Park gets over 5 percent tax on each monthly utility bill. How many phones are in Oak Park? It’s like having a thunderstorm of money coming into village hall each month!
Here’s my prediction: All of those millennials who are moving into those tall buildings are paying outrageously high mortgages and ridiculously high rents. Our economy is now just a service and consumer economy, with people working low-pay jobs in eateries and stores and others with high-priced jobs looking at computer terminals with gaping mouths. This economic bubble is going to burst sooner than later. Then all those people will no longer be able to pay those mortgages and rents, and will have to vacate their homes. The buildings will be left empty.
Then someone in government will get the bright idea to subsidize poor families to move into the vacated homes. Then those tall buildings will become Cabrini-Green West.
If you think I’m talking off the top of my head, then cut out and save this letter, and re-read it, say, 15 or 20 years from now.