A scratchy vacant lot bisected by the Blue Line now has a likely fix. MCZ Development, a one-time player in the condo market here and around the country, has persevered through the bust and emerged as a willing apartment builder. It's a smart move, and company founder and president Michael Lerner seems likely to win over neighbors and Ald. Joe Moreno with his downscaled pitch for an oblong site at 1711-1755 N Winnebago Street. The developer approached the community back in May with a plan for three five-story buildings with 54 rental units and John Hanna as project architect. Residents disapproved by a wide margin, despite enthusiasm from the Alderman (he saw affordable housing advantages in the larger plan), and it was back to the drawing boards for MCZ.
The stakeholders reconvened Monday night for a follow-up, and the reconfigured 50-unit development drew some of the same criticisms: too dense, too many new cars on the street, but mostly, too much affect on property values. But this time there were more proponents to counter the outcry, stressing that a vacant former junkyard was no boon to property values. In other words, safety and aesthetics would be well served by filling in the block. As for the development itself, it's now streamlined into two long four-story buildings that stretch north from Leavitt Street, reaching toward the Bloomingdale Trail (you could bet on a worse location). This will also provide the block with a visual buffer from the 'L' tracks. The unit composition will be one, two, and three-beds ranging from $1,800 to $2,600 per month. Five units will be priced "affordably", based on area incomes. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, MCZ still needs to up-zone the site and secure construction loans. And the latest community vote has yet to be tallied.
·Concerns, Praise For Revised Winnebago Ave Development Plan [Chicago Pipeline]
·Development proposes 50-unit apartment project in Bucktown [Crain's]