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Music venues to announce alliance to fight Lincoln Yards development

Artist's rendering of the Lincoln Yards development. | Provided by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

This rendering of the Lincoln Yards development was released in July. Some aspects of the plan have since been revised. | Provided by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

The Hideout and several other smaller music venues in the city are “banding together” to try to slow a massive North Side development they fear could jeopardize the indie music scene.

Representatives from the music venues plan to announce the alliance Thursday, just before a scheduled meeting to give the public an update on the $6 billion Lincoln Yards project.

“We hope that we can have a seat at the table,” said Katie Tuten, who for two-plus decades has been a co-owner of the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia.

Tuten said she and her allies want “responsible development” and have concerns about the planned tax-increment financing [TIF] to bankroll infrastructure improvements at the Lincoln Yards site, which includes the old Finkl Steel plant among 100 acres along the river, and the Burnham Lakefront, an area that includes the old Michael Reese Hospital site.

About $800 million in TIF money is expected to be earmarked for the project. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was planning to fast-track $1.7 billion in subsidies to unlock the development potential of four massive projects in and around downtown even before Chicago lost the heated competition for Amazon’s second North American headquarters.

Hideout supporters have expressed concerns in recent weeks that large venues planned as part of the development could push out the historic venue, which is across the street from Lincoln Yards site.

“This isn’t just about the venues,” Tuten said. “It’s also about parks. We love our city and we want to see it grow in a way that is sustainable.”

The developer, Sterling Bay, said Wednesday, “The independent music scene in Chicago is unique and important to the city’s culture, and we want to complement at Lincoln Yards. We love The Hideout. It’s part of the fabric of the neighborhood – past, present, and future – and we hope it stays and flourishes for decades to come.”

Ald. Brian Hopkins [2nd], whose ward includes Lincoln Yards, is hosting a meeting to discuss the updated plans for the project. Representatives from Sterling Bay are also expected to attend the meeting, set for 6 p.m. at Park Community Church, 1001 N. Crosby. The music venues alliance plan to unveil their initiatives at the church 30 minutes earlier.

This week, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that the latest Lincoln Yards plans include more green space as well as shorter buildings than proposed originally, with skyscrapers reduced from 70 to 50 stories.