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Massive Mega Mall Redevelopment Plan Formally Unveiled at Packed Meeting

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Last night, at least two hundred people packed Logan Square's Mega Mall for a meeting hosted by Alderman Scott Waguespack to publicly introduce a plan to redevelop the large 2.55 acre site along the booming Milwaukee Avenue Corridor. Dubbed "Logan's Crossing," developer Scott Gendell of Terraco Inc. and architect Joe Antunovich of Antunovich Associates were on hand to present the proposal, which calls for 267 apartments, 115,000 square feet of retail and somewhere between 350-400 parking spaces in the form of a 900 foot long development that ranges from four to seven stories tall. According to Antunovich, the idea to stagger the height of the development was to make the monolithic project feel and look like several separate buildings. The plan also calls for two retail anchors—a fitness center and a full service grocer—however, no major tenants have officially signed on just yet. The development team also revealed at the meeting that there are plans to introduce a traffic signal on Milwaukee Avenue between Sacramento Avenue and Logan Boulevard.

While there had previously been rumors that a Target Express was slated for the project, Gendell neither confirmed nor denied that the Minneapolis-based retailer would be part of the project. Gendell did however suggest that the 40,000-45,000 square feet space reserved for a grocer would not be large enough for Mariano's. There are also plans to include an "incubator" space in the new development that would make room for eight to ten neighborhood businesses/entrepreneurs. Though not entirely hashed out, the commercial space reserved for the incubator will likely be more for small independent merchants and artisans.

The residential component of the development will include a mixture of residences, with Gendell noting that the project would not be composed of only small, micro apartments, which have become increasingly popular for developers throughout the city. In addition to the mixture of floor plans, the development team also noted that they are willing to meet the city's affordable housing requirement, setting aside 10% of the units for lower income residents. There will also be plenty of bicycle storage—one bike parking space for every apartment unit.

After the development team presented their proposal, representatives from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) and Logan Square Preservation (LSP) were given an opportunity to express their concerns with the plan. The LSNA's primary concern with the project was the affordable housing component, asking that the developers view the 10% of affordable units required by the city as the floor, not the ceiling. In addition, LSNA requested that the affordable units be large enough for a family, and also requested that the developers consider setting aside a portion of the commercial space for small, independent business owners to carry on the legacy of the Mega Mall. Logan Square Preservation had three major requests: cut the overall height and density of the project, axe the northern curb cut and redesign the north facade of the building in a way that respects the neighborhood's landmark district.

Among the usual concerns regarding density, height and scale, several other issues were brought up during the question and answer segment. One resident requested that the developer not work with national chain brands in order to avoid creating a new "string of Subway and Chipotle" restaurants. Another expressed concern regarding the proposed traffic light. Gendell stated that they were currently working on a traffic study and that the results would be delivered to Ald. Waguespack's office upon completion. A representative of the group Somos Logan Square stated that they would only support the project if half of the residences were affordable units. And Larry Ligas of Logan Square Concerned Citizens warned of the flood of rats and rodents that would be unleashed during the demolition of the Mega Mall.

While the meeting was packed and the development wasn't received with open arms, there wasn't the same level of intensity seen at meetings regarding other developments in Logan Square—primarily the meeting for the apartment project on California Avenue from Savoy Development and the dual tower project for for Milwaukee Avenue at the former Max Gerber site. Alderman Waguespack acknowledged that the primary issues with the development were the need for a full service grocer as well as the height and density of the project. Waguespack also mentioned that the there has been some discussion of exploring the idea of adding a transit-oriented development component to not only cut down on the amount of parking but to also make some units handicap accessible (as the Logan Square Blue Line station is accessible). Gendell further added that they have been meeting with community groups during the last few months and that this meeting is just only a part of the process, "The process didn't start tonight and it won't end tonight," Gendell added, "We're looking for the best use and highest value of this property for us as developers but also for the residents."

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[A video flyover of the project]

·First Public Meeting to Discuss Mega Mall Redevelopment Announced [Curbed Chicago]
·Over 200 Apartments Added to Mega Mall Redevelopment Plan [Curbed Chicago]
·Mapping the Development Boom Along Milwaukee Avenue [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Logan Square coverage [Curbed Chicago]