Construction is moving full speed ahead on the transit oriented developments (TOD) that are reshaping a once sleepy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue into a new neighborhood center of Logan Square. The neighborhood is at the north end of a corridor leading northwest from downtown along the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Blue Line which has blossomed with new infill development, a trend that has been turbo charged through the passage of TOD amendments to the zoning code as well as larger projects making their way through the standard Planned Development process. Here is a look into the progress being made on the 2200 block of North Milwaukee Avenue and the reestablishment of urban fabric on the long diagonal block once marked primarily by vacant lots and auto-centric uses alongside traditional urban fabric.
Closest to the CTA’s California station sits Logan Square’s new tallest pair of buildings. The fraternal twins of 12 and 11 stories designed by Wheeler Kearns are rising on the opposite ends of a large empty lot once home to the Max Gerber kitchen and bath showrooms.
Work crews are currently framing the 6th floor of the reinforced concrete towers which are now halfway to topping out. The plans originally included 231 rental apartments and 7,100 square feet of retail in towers standing in 14 and 10 stories respectively. This was reduced to the current plan with a total of 213 units over ground floor retail. When approved, the towers were to have an at grade parking structure standing in a one floor tall to be topped with a green roof and amenity deck, however, this deck has recently been omitted in a recent permit revision and pending changes to the plan are expected to be publicly announced soon.
The towers already have filled a visual hole in the streetscape and have begun closing in the stripmall across Washtenaw Avenue to the southeast. On the opposite side of the stripmall and its suburban style drive through bank, another TOD is heading towards completion this spring.
Known simply as L, the large yellow sheathed steel framed box will soon be clad in a finished exterior with two shades of gray panels. The modern building comes to a sharp point at the south end of the 2200 block with 5,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The five floors above will include 120 apartments and a amenity deck with a retired CTA L car. The building design by Brininstool + Lynch has a strong emphasis on multimodal transportation, featuring parking for 200 bicycles as well as a workshop for washing and repairs. Leasing is expected to begin soon with the first move-ins occurring in just two months.
Across the street at 2240 North Milwaukee is a empty lot with a concrete slab where a one story commercial building once stood has a public notice posted since December for another new six story building with 38 units over retail space and 30 parking spaces, with a variance being sought under TOD allowances to reduce the parking from the standard of 1:1 within the neighborhood zoning classifications. The variance, if approved, would then allow for this additional project to move forward quickly under existing zoning.
As these projects moves towards completion, this block of Milwaukee Avenue, increasingly flanked by a growing number of late night destinations, may transform into a new active district for Logan Square. In doing so, the streetscape is returned to an urban context and additional housing will assist in restoring the population of the community which has slid by approximately 30,000 since a peak was reached in 1930. Such a population decline is typical of many urban neighborhoods during the later half of the 20th century, and many neighborhoods still remain far from their historic population densities despite a wave of new construction accompanying a renewed desire for city living. The West Town Community Area immediately south of Logan Square has lost over 100,000 people since 1930, making the development mini boom along the Milwaukee corridor between Logan Square and the West Loop all the more important in maintaining the vibrancy and housing diversity of the northwest side.
·Tweaks Being Made to Logan Square Tower Project[Curbed Chicago]
·Logan Square Towers Receive Go-Ahead to Start Construction [Curbed Chicago]
·Logan Square Dual Tower Proposal Faces Stiff Resistance [Curbed Chicago]
·Logan Square Rental Project Repurposing Retired 'L' Car for Amenity Deck [Curbed Chicago]
·Logan Square L Development on Track for May Opening [Curbed Chicago]