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Affordable apartment proposal next to Logan Square Blue Line passes key zoning vote

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If approved by the City Council, the seven-story project could break ground early next year

A seven-story residential building with offset punched windows and a contemporary gray and white panel facade with yellow accents. The building has ground-floor storefronts and sidewalk trees.
A rendering of 2638 N. Emmett Street.
Landon Bone Baker Architects

A 100 percent affordable apartment proposal next to the Logan Square Blue Line stop cleared a key zoning hurdle on Thursday as it earned the approval of the Chicago Plan Commission.

The transit-oriented development calls for 100 affordable rental units—half will be for CHA residents and the other reserved for residents earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income—plus ground-floor commercial space, a community room, a small public plaza, and parking for 20 vehicles. It comes from nonprofit developer Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker Architects.

Slated for a city-owned lot at 2638 N. Emmett Street, the seven-story project received support of 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa back in May after his office heard “overwhelming support” from the community. With the Plan Commission’s backing, 2638 N. Emmett can now head to the full Chicago City Council for final approval.

During the Plan Commission meeting, people who spoke against the project said the existing parking lot was crucial for neighbors and what kind of revenue the city would lose without it. Supporters criticized these comments and emphasized the value of affordable housing in city where low-income housing is shrinking.

Bickerdike hopes to break ground in spring 2020 and complete the development in 2021. Funding for the project would come from a variety of sources including the Chicago Housing Authority, housing tax credits, and the Fullerton/Milwaukee Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.

Thursday’s meeting of the Plan Commission comes one day after the City Council voted to formally appoint Chicago’s new Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox. The urban designer and educator previously served as Detroit’s development commissioner before accepting his latest role as Chicago’s top planner.

“Maurice Cox is uniquely qualified to help create a city where development addresses the fundamental needs of every neighborhood so that Chicago benefits and equitably works for all its residents,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement on Wednesday.

Although 2638 N. Emmett Street has been in the works for many months, the affordable development’s approval on the Commissioner’s second official day represents a step toward achieving the mayor’s goal of bringing equitable developments to all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.