How Chicago is morphing into Detroit in one easy lesson

My heart is breaking for Chicago, and for all Americans, as one of our greatest cities crumbles before our (and the world’s) eyes. I don’t see any way out of the vicious circle of political corruption, irrevocable pensions obligations overwhelming tax revenue, vanishing public services, and a decline in civil order leading toward a third world level of crime.

 As a result, the city consumes itself, strangling business and entrepreneurship, and killing off precious assets. Now, comes a story that captures it all in one heart-rending example. Sam Cholke of DNAChicago writes:

BRONZEVILLE — Chicago’s top-rated bed and breakfast is selling its historic mansion home and leaving Bronzeville because it’s too hard to persuade people to stay in the neighborhood.

Owner Mell Monroe is closing Welcome Inn Manor, 4563 S. Michigan Ave., Trip Advisor’s top-rated bed and breakfast in Chicago, and putting the historic mansion up for sale for $794,000.

“I’m not happy about the situation, but I have to do what I have to do,” Monroe said.

Monroe and his wife have lived in the brownstone seven-bedroom mansion for 15 years, and five years ago they converted it to a bed and breakfast.

Monroe said he’s built the business up to serve about 250 guests a year. But, he said, for every three guests he books, one cancels. He said he rarely gets an explanation for the cancellation, but suspects people are lured in by the proximity to Downtown and McCormick Place and then cancel when they realize the bed and breakfast is in a largely black neighborhood with a bad reputation.

Take a look at the place:


This is the type of building that gives a neighborhood, and in larger numbers a city, charm, character, and a sense of place. Except for the fact that civil order has crumbled, everything about the Welcome Inn Manor would be great for all sorts of visitors to the city. Near downtown, full of charm, historic, and gorgeous. In San Francisco, this place would sell for a large multiple of what the owners are asking.

The owners were what used to be called “urban pioneers,” who bought and improved properties in undervalued neighborhoods close to downtown or other attractions, but out of fashion. But they bet on the wrong city.

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