Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Grow or decline

OP is past the point of no return as to development.  Even OP Ave. has vacancies, as its modestly position tenants leave for Forest Park or go out of business.  Lake Street problems are old news.  Question is, will OP upgrade its exclusivity — without which we are nothing — for the two thousands or not?  It has moved past the village of old, like it or not, and faces decline or growth.  The new Lane Bryant and gym-&-swim club on Lake Street — and this is no bicycling-in-the-window as at the long-gone Chi Health Club on Madison or the soon-to-be-gone OP Y on Marion, but pool, basketball arena, climbing wall and lots more, according to its brochure.  Condos are atop it all. 

But it’s the building that tolls the knell of parting village.  It’s a Loop or Mich. Ave.-style building, looming big and imposing.  Heritage-preservers can’t be happy about it, even Lane B. shoppers or gym rats.  It’s like 70 years ago, when the elegant Austin house was moved to what’s now Austin Gardens — from Lake Street, where commercial purposes were winning out.  History matters, as the historical society says, and it tells us this is no time to go wobbly with the OP future.

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