Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Edgewater Irony

When the historic Edgewater apartment building was demolished and a fancy new condo built in its place, Uptown residents had a fit. I can understand - I liked the old Edgewater apartments, and wish that they were still there (in livable condition, of course). I know that there were legitimate concerns and questions raised during the broader community discussions. Still, some of the controversy really rubs me the wrong way, and illustrates some of the conflict bubbling under the neighborhood's surface.

Take, for instance, a January 2007 Uptown Neighborhood News article titled "The Edgewater: Gateway to Uptown or Uptown's First Gated Community?" The article, although filled with details about the new Edgewater project, never actually explains how it qualifies as a "gated community." Given the attention lavished by the authors on the condo building's luxury finishes, I'm guessing it's because the condos were to be inhabited by rich people.

I'm not going to get into the details of the Edgewater itself or whether or not it should have been built. I just think it's rather silly for a group of ECCO residents, most of them homeowners, few, if any, exactly poverty-stricken, bashing the Edgewater for being expensive. Prices for other ECCO lakeview homes, if they hadn't noticed, were also sky-high. In some ways one could argue that a condo building is more egalitarian than are the large single-family homes lining the lake; at least at the Edgewater more people can be stacked in the same land footprint.

Uptown does have a housing problem. It can be difficult for some people to afford to buy or rent in the neighborhood. But for the residents of ECCO to bash, even indirectly, the future owners of Edgewater condos for being elitist or too flush with cash is simply a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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