Is there a back-story to the blue sculpture’s demise?

Over at Crain’s Chicago Business Shia Kapos reports that John Novak has agreed to remove the 40-foot high blue sculpture from his front yard. In return, Novak reportedly received a zoning waiver for the fence surrounding the Lincoln Park home.

Is the deal the prelude to this home’s hitting the for-sale market? Did Novak get a sale-facilitating zoning variance for doing something he would have had to do in any event to make the home salable? Ya gotta love Chicago.


  • the urban politician 5 years

    I don’t get it. Why would he go to all the trouble?

  • tup,

    Rumor has it that the home is about to be listed for sale.

    The home would be more difficult to sell if there was uncertainty about the fence’s compliance with the zoning code. I’d speculate that most buyers would also want the sculpture removed.

  • the urban politician 5 years

    I guess, but I think your logic is a bit of a stretch. He put in the sculpture as leverage with the city so that they would approve the fence, hence he could sell the home a year or two down the road?

    Why not just pay off the Alderman? The guy clearly has the wealth and probably the connections as well…

  • the urban politician 5 years

    Also, if the fence is illegal then WHERE THE HELL WAS THE STOP WORK ORDER when he was building it?

    Meanwhile, people in earnest are trying to renovate properties all over the city–you know, to improve its building stock and provide housing for people–and the city is punishing them by slabbing those ugly orange signs on their property. Ugh, how ridiculous..

  • tup,

    I didn’t in any way suggest that the sculpture was installed to gain leverage – only that, once in place, it may have been perceived as leverage.

    Zoning enforcement, I think, is limited to injunctive relief, civil penalties, withholding certificates, etc. rather than via “stop work” order.

    I wouldn’t recommend attempting to “pay off” a 43rd Ward alderman in any coin other than “civic betterment.”

    To me, the interesting question here is whether the alderman got played for a sucker, or knew that a sale might be pending and cynically gave up something for nothing.

  • the urban politician 5 years

    A permit is required to construct any fence taller than 5 feet, and a permit is almost certainly required for one made of brick.

    My guess is that he put this fence up pretty fast.

  • WK 5 years

    In any case, I’m glad the blue monstrosity is being torn down.

  • the urban politician 5 years

    WK, I like the blue monstrosity precisely because it pisses off whiny Lincoln Parkers. LP is simply cursed with some of the worst NIMBYism in America. In the same way that gangs have set up shop in parts of Chicago’s south and west sides and essentially scared away private development, LPers are scaring development away as well.