At the beginning of April, New York-based developer Property Markets Group announced plans to build a 500-unit apartment development on a vacant, 7.85-acre slice of land in Pilsen, between 16th and 18th streets and Newberry Avenue and Peoria Street. According to the developer, the project, dubbed PMG Windy City, represents a "one-of-a-kind project strategically located within the City of Chicago, steps from thriving retail, public transportation and several major highway corridors."
With PR glosses of convenience aside, not all Pilsenites are thrilled at the project, DNAinfo reports. And now, various community groups, in the interest of fighting gentrification, are demanding more transparency in the development process. Danny Solis, Alderman of the 25th Ward, has lately been meeting with PMG and in the next few weeks will also be meeting with the Pilsen Development Committee to build community support. The committee, which is comprised of members from the Resurrection Project, the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, the 18th Street Development Corporation, and Alivio Medical Center, is separate from the community group Pilsen Alliance, which has claimed 'outrage' at the project in a recent letter to current site owner Midwest Jesuits. The Midwest Jesuits have owned the site since 2009, but claim that the site has been under contract of sale for almost two years.
Pilsen has historically been a strong neighborhood community and the assurance of community support will be vital to this project, which will undoubtedly change the neighborhood fabric. The Alderman has called for 21 percent of the PMG Windy City's units to be affordable housing, and a proposed 1.5-acre green space and the installation of public art and murals will foster continued community connections. But first, the development committee needs to agree.