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Afternoon roundup

Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Crain’s

Sterling Bay is trying to strike a deal with the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund to bail out Lincoln Yards, a move that could help jump-start the stalled North Side megadevelopment, inflict hefty losses on the original backers of the ambitious $6 billion project and offer the developer a lifeline amid a financial storm that threatens its control over major pieces of its high-profile local portfolio.

With the real estate firm under growing pressure to raise money to recapitalize the 53-acre mixed-use campus planned along the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, the pension fund’s investment committee voted during a May 23 meeting to investigate an opportunity to become Sterling Bay’s primary financial partner on the development, according to a video of the public meeting and investor documents obtained by Crain’s. […]

CTPF Chief Investment Officer Fernando Vinzons said in a statement to Crain’s that the discussions around Lincoln Yards are only “conceptual at this point” and that the investment committee would still need to recommend the Lincoln Yards deal to its Board of Trustees, which would ultimately have to sign off on any funding commitment, a process that could take months. […]

Questions and answers in the document — which came in response to a presentation during the virtual meeting with investors in April — paint a picture of a fund grappling with financial strain while Sterling Bay seeks ways to generate liquidity to avoid defaulting on loans, maintain confidence of its existing investors and convince them to double down on properties moving forward.

General Iron previously occupied the Sterling Bay site, but it’s still facing an uphill battle to reopen

There’s been no response from executives of a metal shredder operation to the latest protest from people living on Chicago’s Southeast Side, who are fighting a judge’s ruling that would clear the way for the company to operate in their backyard.

What a mess.

* This is not happening with any of my browsers, but a buddy said he’s getting this message on all three of his. Anyone else having this issue?…

* Sarah Moskowitz, the deputy director of the Citizens Utility Board, writing in the Sun-Times

A recent attempt by power plant owners to engineer a bailout of PJM Interconnection — a behind-the-scenes organization that runs our power grid — didn’t gain big headlines. But it exposes a dirty little secret about fossil fuels that has a major impact on our electric bills.

Too often, dirty power generators can’t perform when customers need them most, and their recent actions at PJM (which ultimately failed) proves they know it.

PJM, which serves ComEd customers and about 60 million others in a dozen states, is the nation’s largest power grid operator. On May 11, members of PJM, among them operators of coal and natural gas power plants, narrowly voted to recommend reducing, by as much as 90%, the fines they must pay if they can’t operate in future emergencies — despite being paid to be on standby.

At the time, fossil fuel plants were raising a stink about being fined $1.8 billion by PJM for underperformance during the multi-state winter storm Elliott last December. PJM narrowly avoided having to implement rolling blackouts as nearly 46 gigawatts of plants — about enough to power California — went down in that terrible holiday storm. The grid operator was forced to ask everyday consumers to conserve electricity on Christmas Eve.

Fossil fuel operators like to brag about their reliability, but about 90% of those outages were at gas or coal plants. Similarly, failing gas plants were the biggest problem in the deadly Texas outages of 2021.

* From a Proft paper

[Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago] refuses to resign so Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) can appoint a replacement.

“Last year, she told (Harmon) she was going to do nothing this year, tell people she was having a medical procedure done, then resign. She didn’t want to come to Springfield anymore,” the source said. “But she drew a four-year term, not a two-year as she expected. So she now wants to cash in on the gig and keep her state paycheck for a while longer.”

Sources say they didn’t see Van Pelt cast a single floor vote during the past legislative session. She didn’t participate in committee hearings, or vote on a single bill in any of them, either.

“She was no-show all session,” one source said. “Dr. Pat never appeared in Springfield once. I never saw her.”

Harmon doesn’t appoint new members.

Van Pelt was indeed supposed to retire earlier this year. I did a subscriber story on it months ago. But then something happened. Here’s Liz Mitchell from the Senate Democrats..

Senator Van Pelt had a series of medical procedures that turned out to be more extensive than originally expected. We are wishing her well in her recovery.

* Canadian wildfires…

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:23 pm:

    No issues getting to

  2. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:31 pm:

    Public pension funds should be barred from investing in non-traditional assets. The S&P 500 index is as risky as they should be allowed. We don’t want nobody nobody sent.

  3. - Sue - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    For folks with a long term memory- JMB ran into a problem with a major RE development in Chicago involving a Company known as Cadillac Fairview. Chicago Teachers got royally burned. Hope the fund has really good advisors as Sterling Bay looking for a life line is not a good reason to make an investment when you are only like at 28 percent funding

  4. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    But development is going strong in Chicago. How could that happen? /s

  5. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:40 pm:

    It doesn’t get covered enough, but you cannot both support Lincoln Yards and opposed General Irons on the SE side without being a total hypocrite.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===‘Due diligence’: Naperville mayor defends meeting with Bears about stadium possibilities===

    Never mess with the Karens of Naperville.

    Riffing of what Rich himself had in comments this week, what if the Wehrli family and it’s strong ties to Naperville and the Halas family and their long-standing ties to Naperville saw a way to help by having a public pronouncement of said meeting, gotta be honest, whomever is steering all this phony leverage with old friends and connections, they really are out of their depths in understanding the Karens, leverage, or both.

    We all like to help friends, sure… but…

  7. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:47 pm:

    I know nothing about money but the few things I read are about how pensions and REITS and especially banks are going to be burned with all the downtowns having such vacancies. If I were a pension system I do not think I would invest in any real estate project now. that said with my track record probably will be a big winner. woulda Shoulda Coulda

  8. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 3:55 pm:

    Whitsox/Yankees game was postponed - a smoke out.

  9. - Homebody - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 4:00 pm:

    Those NYC shots remind me of the CA shots from a few years ago. Just downright spooky.

    Could you imagine what it must have been like if these sorts of things occurred a thousand years ago? There is zero reason to believe the humans of the time would have any reason to know what is happening a thousand miles away from them to generate the smog. It would have to be interpreted as a sign of the end of days.

  10. - Jerry - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 4:03 pm:

    The Bears can build a new house in Arlington Heights or Naperville…where ever they want. They just need to pay for it themselves.

    No mooching off of hardworking taxpayers like they did with the last place.

  11. - Hannibal Lecter - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 4:28 pm:

    Those wildfires are nuts. Apparently NYC has the worst air quality in the world right now. Sox and Yankees are postponed for today.

  12. - Tim - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 4:59 pm:

    Regarding the error: I’m not seeing it, but that’s the sort of error one would receive if the site’s security certificate were expired. The site reports that its security certificate was issued just before 1:00 this afternoon. My guess: it briefly lapsed and was quickly replaced today.

  13. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 5:54 pm:

    “It would have to be interpreted as a sign of the end of days.”

    That’s how you should interpret it right now. Not sure how people believe we’re going to maintain our comfortable, stable consumerist lifestyles surrounded by a natural world that’s increasingly lifeless and on fire.

  14. - We've never had one before - Wednesday, Jun 7, 23 @ 7:33 pm:

    >>>>My guess: it briefly lapsed and was quickly replaced today.

    The new cert is valid from “Wed, 07 Jun 2023 17:52:29 GMT”, which is 12:52 pm CDT.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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