Last week, Alderman John Arena (45th) unveiled a new proposal to replace a vacant commercial facility on the southwest corner of Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue with a new seven-story mixed-income residential development. The plan comes from developer Full Circle Communities, who is looking to build 100 new residences, a large stretch of new retail space, and 62 parking spaces at the site, DNAinfo reports. However, reactions to the proposal have so far been mixed with some residents going so far as to petition the plan in hopes of halting it.
According to Alderman Arena, the majority of the available units will be a mix of affordable and market rate housing. In a newsletter to constituents, the alderman explained the unit breakdown, indicating that 80 percent of the units will be available to area residents earning 60 percent or less than the Area Median Income (AMI), while the remaining 20 percent will be rented at market rate. In the announcement, Arena suggested that the proposed development will represent “housing solutions for veterans, working families, persons with disabilities, seniors and young professionals.”
However, it’s the affordable housing aspect that some residents have expressed concerned about. A Facebook post by Alderman Arena received numerous comments from residents, ranging from full support for the proposal to outright outrage over the plan. In addition to the discussion on Facebook and DNAinfo’s Neighborhood Square, a Change.org petition against the plan has received over 2,000 signatures in just five days. On the petition page, the organizer states that “the more of these developments that go up, crime will continue to rise as it has been and property values will plummet.”
This latest pushback isn’t the first time that northwest side residents have come out en masse against a proposal for new residences. In January, Edison Park residents shot down a plan for 30 new condos near the Edison Park Metra station. The plan initially proposed 44 units, but opponents of the proposal cited concerns over the inclusion of affordable units. There also remains pushback from Jefferson Park residents towards a plan for a mid-rise development at 4849 N. Lipps Avenue. Despite the controversy, the project’s developer recently reintroduced the proposal with additional height and density.
Alderman Arena will host another public meeting to discuss the proposal at the 16th District Police station (5151 N. Milwaukee Avenue) on Thursday, February 9 starting at 7 p.m.