J.D. Kadd’s Should Not Become Low-Hanging Condos


Within the past few years Park Ridge has filled some significant holes in its commercial and retail space base.

The biggest win in that regard was filling the empty Dominick’s space at Cumberland and Higgins with Mariano’s.

Right behind that comes Shakou, which filled the large space vacated by the Pioneer Press several years earlier. Holt’s took over the prominent space vacated by Pine’s men’s apparel at the corner of Prospect and Summit. And Harp & Fiddle combined the old pharmacy space with the adjacent space formerly occupied by Garden on the Run.

On the other hand, the Pickwick/Pick/Pickwick saga ended badly and, as a result, one of the most prominent retail spaces in Park Ridge sits empty, along with a few more storefronts in Uptown. Those are the spaces people should be concerned about because they are the draws for what our retailers like to call the “vibrant” Uptown.

But recently a lot of attention has been paid to the old J.D. Kadds complex on Northwest Hwy. by the folks holding court on the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners FB page, provoked by a post by one Sara Brown-Povis at 10:00 a.m. on August 12 bemoaning how “[t]he old JD kadds lot is SUCH an eye sore” and proffering her wish list of “a bar And grill and Starbucks” or even “another nail shop.”

That set off a string of comments containing other people’s wish lists, such as a Buffalo Wild Wings (Jackie Baldur), a “Bakery + Coffee shop” (Jennefer Martin), a Chick Fil-A (Mary Moore Becker), a drive-through “Dunkin’” (Lauren Hall and Ashley Hawkes), a “Jimmy and or Papa John” (Max Power), “Green space” (Park Commissioner Cindy Grau, twice), a BBQ place (Karen Ley), a barber shop (Malcom Hawkes), a lacrosse field (Sarah Sohl Post), or “some sort of indoor facility for sports and fun! Ninja warrior, climbing, tumbling, whatever” (Michelle Tullett Charley).

As the saying goes: “If wishes were horses, all beggars would ride.”

But one of the reasons this country became the most free, successful and powerful one this planet has ever known is because, with a few notable exceptions, capitalism – with its inherent risks and rewards – provides the environment most conducive to achieving the highest and best use of its resources, including property.

So while the J.D. Kadd’s site is currently fallow and an “eye sore,” the chances are pretty good that at some point in the not-too-distant future the current owner or a new one will come up with an idea to make that land more profitable and, presumably, more attractive.

More likely than not it will involve some sort of investment (i.e., “capital”) that carries with it some degree of risk and an equal or better prospect for reward.

And, more likely than not, the person(s) making that investment and taking that risk won’t be any of the folks who have shared their wish lists on the Concerned Homeowners page. Instead, it will be the Bob Marianos, the Declan Stapletons and the Ed Berrys, the Matt Ranallis, the Tim Griffins and the Frank Ernestos who are willing to put their (and/or their investors’, or their lenders’) money on the line and commit their effort to taking their shots.

Until then, however, the J.D. Kadd’s site will remain an eye sore while those pickers of low-hanging fruit – the condo developers and real estate brokers – will lobby the City for zoning changes so that they can make a quick buck.

Just like they are trying to do with the Mr. K’s site on Higgins.

Hopefully the City will resist those low-hanging fruit pickers so that maybe, just maybe, some entrepreneur will find a way to keep that J.D. Kadd’s property commercial, like it has been for decades.

And maybe, in the process, even grant one or more of those wishes.

To read or post comments, click on title.

18 comments so far

The RE vultures are already out and looking for the condos at Kadds. They can pick up $40-50-60-80-100,000 in commissions from the deal, so why should they care if the extra kids in our schools cost them an extra $500 a year in RE taxes?

Everything that is zoned commercial should remain commercial. End of story.


Is the current owner of that property the jag bag who put an advertisement for hooker services in the window of one of the buildings just to screw with the city? That’s reason enough to prevent it from letting it go condo.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t know, but maybe one of our local realtors can advise.

Yes it is ….or was…..that individual passed away recently.

This goes back to your June 2 post asking the city council to start a public debate about whether the city should approve zoning changes and variances to permit more multi-family residential that will add more and more kids to our schools.

I wonder if the council appreciates how important this is and, if so, why aren’t we hearing or seeing anything about it?

I wonder whether the city zoning code needs to be revised to prevent city officials or the planning and zoning commission members from giving in to the developers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Or maybe the current one just needs to be enforced more consistently and uniformly.

People complain about no retail, no commercial, but then they say or do nothing when some realtor or developer tries to turn business-zoned property into residential or b.s. “mixed use.”

Developers and realtors are just looking for the quick buck, which is fine so long as we don’t get lulled into believing differently. Realtor Lauren Hall is bragging about realtors advocating for taxpayers’ rights in a post on the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners Group Facebook page as they advocate for multi-family residential that puts more kids in our schools and drive up our taxes higher and higher so that people like Kathy Meade can get hundreds of thousands of dollars of free education for her three kids while her husband sucks up tax dollars as a CPS teacher.

I have lived my entire life in Park Ridge but I’m looking at leaving both The Ridge and Illinois because it is run by politicians beholden to the tax eaters who can’t get enough instead of the taxpayers who pay the bills.

A nickles worth of free advice, talking about JD kadds and it’ more than likely proposals is fine if you don’t mind wasting your time. What will need to happen is for the Planning and Zoning commission and City Council to send a very clear message that “AT THIS TIME” the city wishes to evaluate the impact that multi family residential developement is having on the City of Park Ridge and that there may be officially or unofficially a moratorium on such developement, beginning with the Mr. K’s property. In other words, just say no! By not saying so, is encouraging the developer on Mr. K’s to continue to modify it’s plans while still offering a reduced residential element making it seeminly more paletable for approval. Make the case at Mr. K’s by saying thanks but no thanks, and the message becomes more clear when the JD proposal shows up.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Langan is a member of the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Hey! Thanks for the intro. Although “zoning maven” did have a nice ring to it 🙂

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s your unofficial title – but readers deserve to know the official one, too.

D64 has posted on their Agenda/Report for Monday night’s meeting a lengthy report from Teska regarding the impact of development on the Mr. K property. Lengthy, but worth a read if you’re at all concerned about the impact of development on schools and town.

May I comment on your Editor’s not on 8/24? “or maybe the current one just needs to be enforced more consistently and uniformly” (zoning ordinance). As someone who has been a strong advocate for the consistent application and enforcement of the zoning ordinance, it has become clear that there has been a growing resistance to do so. It’s become much more popular to treat the ordinance as a mere suggestion rather than the law. Then enforcement becomes easier or in some cases nonexistent because there is no violation if there is no law. It’s sad really, because the built in protection ordinances provide to a community as a whole, get chipped away, by way of individual application based on who you are or who you know. This results in modified application of the ordinance and the complete lack of “equal access to the law” that an ordinance ideally provides. In a nutshell, it’s so much easier to say “yes” to any and all who request change or relief vs actually upholding the law, because someone might get mad if we say no. A dangerous sentiment if you actually care about the community and it’s integrity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Agreed, but with one additional caveat: The more vague and/or the more malleable the application of the Zoning Code is, the more subjective and unpredictable it is – which makes it riskier and less attractive to entrepreneurs and investors. And when any entrepreneur/investor doesn’t get what he/she wants, it encourages/reinforces the canard that Park Ridge is “unfriendly to business.”

Either enforce the ZC or change it. Stop making exceptions!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Agreed: See Editor’s Note to previous comment.

The last time I attended a “P&Z” meeting was 2-1/2 years ago, but it sticks in my mind because the committee members clearly did not understand what they were supposed to be doing, and to the extent they did, it didn’t seem to involve the zoning ordinance. My claim is based on a several-minutes long discussion among committee members as to what they were supposed to be doing; there was clearly a wide range of opinions. At the end, one of the committee members — don’t remember which one — smiled and said something to the effect of: “Good conversation…it sounds like one of those discussion shows on PBS.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s what you get when P&Z members view the Zoning Code as a mere suggestion, and/or who apply a sliding-scale to a project depending on whether they like it or not.

Well said Editor, “unfriendly to business” is right up there with “wouldn’t be economically feasible” although my newer favorite is “willing to invest in Park Ridge” yep you heard it “WILLING”. Ahh I remember the days when PR was considered desirable.

Look everyone understands that investment is risky, development (if done right) is necessary, and everyone from the single homeowner to developer and business owner, should have the ability to profit from their investment. However, insisting that a City to ensure that profit by way of exception is the canard you spoke of. The best way a City can assist in a return on a private investment is to govern equitably and the best way to do that is to adhere to he zoning ordinance rather than treat it like plague. Although unpopular, sometimes you have to say no.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Governing “equitably” tends to be in the eye of the beholder. Governing “predictably” – as in sticking to the Zoning Code as written, or amending it if the way it is written isn’t working – is the preferable way because it reduces/eliminates the risk inherent in uncertainty.

….so long as it doesn’t interfere with approving further expansion of Nonna Silvia’s….and it’s already inadequate, if not illegal amount of parking…LOL.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The only time parking is “adequate” is at shopping malls. And if you’re not some cake eater who doesn’t want to walk a block.

Clarification graciously accepted. Although text amendments are needed from time to time, in the rare cases when a circumstance was unforeseen when constructing the ordinance. That is far different than the all too common cases of “this is what I want to do/build etc and the ordinance prohibits it” so the ordinance is no good and doesn’t work. This practice of “selective enforcement” opens the lanes for such poppycock being passed off as legitimate flaws in the law. It’s laughable really how could anyone possibly say or suggest that the ordinance is bad or not working if you’re not enforcing it.

Check your facts “anon 12:46” nothing illegal, all on the up and up. Process followed, i’s dotted t’s crossed all in accordance to the Zoning Ordinance. And you can put your concerned mind at ease no further expansion on the horizon. Nearly 17 years as a Park Ridge business, appreciate the shout out!!!!!!

Annon12:46, could you clarify “illegal amount of parking”?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good question, although we would guess that he/she may have been referring to what we recall was a parking variance (?) given to NS.

Yep NS did get a parking variance, 7 years ago. As have all the other food and beverage businesses in Park Ridge that didn’t provide the required on site parking. All of which went through the same legal variance process. Not sure what anon’s point was?

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