If a coffee shop causes gentrification outrage, what happens when a Manhattan real estate firm makes a massive investment in Pilsen? The website of New York-based Property Markets Group lists a very brief description of PMG Windy City, a proposed 7.85-acre, 500-unit apartment building on Chicago's southwest side, with renderings suggesting the final location will be 16th and Peoria. In terms of details, there's not much beyond a few colorful sketches, but the plan does appear to confirm both the hope that development may occur on a now-empty lot and the fear of gentrification may lead to higher rents.
PMG, which also has developments in Uptown and Logan Square, as well as a $150 million project in the works on 18th Street in Manhattan, would be making a bet, it's biggest in Chicago thus far, on a neighborhood in need of more student housing. It's still a long way from sketches to approval, but the project is sure to stoke fears of increased rent prices and dilution of the neighborhoods unique character. While property values in Pilsen haven't reached pre-crash highs, according to Trulia, they've been on an upward swing. And the most recent census data shows the Latino population of the neighborhood has decreased by 7 percent from 2000 to 2010, from 88.9 to 82.4.