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Logan Square Residents Want Park Space, Affordable Housing on City-Owned Land

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Last night, over 180 residents from Logan Square and neighboring communities attended the third and final meeting hosted by Alderman Rey Colon and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) to discuss the future redevelopment of the city-owned property at and surrounding the Logan Square Blue Line station. The neighborhood has been rapidly changing lately, and a number of sizable residential and retail developments have been proposed for the area this year alone, but at the heart of the northwest side neighborhood lies 67,000 square feet of underutilized space owned by the city. Four hypothetical development scenarios were presented, and a panel of three developers were present to discuss their take on the viability of each scenario. Each developer had a different take on how the space could be best used, but all three could agree on one thing - that this land is some of the most prized real estate in the neighborhood.

Dubbed the "Corridor Development Initiative", MPC reps stated that their mission is to address the need for more "equitable transit-oriented development" in Chicago. The group did want to make it very clear that they were approached by Alderman Rey Colon to hold the series of meetings to discuss the future use of the plaza at the Logan Square Blue Line station and the neighboring parking lot on Emmett Street.

According to Yonah Freemark of the MPC, the market rate value of the city-owned land is $6 million (excluding any subsidies). During the first two meetings, residents were asked to discuss the existing conditions in the neighborhood and what the community's needs and goals are. During these meetings, residents helped create 16 different hypothetical development scenarios for the property. However, at the final meeting, MPC and the panel of developers were there to discuss what they viewed to be more realistic development scenarios, using the scenarios created by residents as a starting point. Developers focused on the need for density at the site.

Four scenarios were highlighted, and for each one, residents were asked if they would be willing to trade off either affordable housing or green space for more residential units, retail space or height. Overall, Logan Square residents largely voted in favor of keeping as much green space as possible. Residents at the meeting were also largely in favor of keeping more affordable housing units than less (likely due to a large contingent of attendees representing the affordable housing developer Bickerdike).

Alderman Colon wanted to reassure attendees that the scenarios presented were just that - hypothetical scenarios. Once a major CDOT study concludes, Alderman Colon will begin to seek proposals from developers and then come back to the community for more meetings about the proposals. MPC is asking residents who were unable to attend the meetings to participate in a brief online survey.

For this particular scenario to be financially viable, MPC asked attendees if they would be willing to reduce the number of affordable units from 100% to 75%.

For this scenario, MPC asked residents if they would be willing to replace half of the open space with 33 market rate units and add two stories of height.

To make this scenario viable, residents would have to be willing to either reduce the number of affordable housing units, or allow a surface parking lot with more retail.

For the final scenario, Logan residents were asked if they would be willing to replace 13,200 sq. feet of green space with retail or residential units.

·Community proposals for Logan Square [MPC]
·Give voice to your vision for Logan Square! Participate in a three-part workshop [MPC]
·TODs Could Sprout Around Logan Square Blue Line Station [Curbed Chicago]