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Lincoln Yards adds more affordable housing, will tweak plan again

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Sterling Bay will adjust building heights and density

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

On Tuesday, developer Sterling Bay announced more tweaks to its controversial Lincoln Yards master plan—just two days before the $6 billion North Branch project is scheduled to go before the city’s Zoning Committee for another key vote.

In an effort to win favor with residents and the Chicago City Council, Lincoln Yards increased the amount of on-site affordable housing—twice as much as required. The developer will also release new information about building heights and density this week.

Now, 600 affordable housing units will be built on-site at Lincoln Yards, according the Crain’s. The change is meant to garner more support among alderman who have spoken out against the plan and called for a delay to process, including Thursday’s committee vote.

Under the previous plan, Sterling Bay would have met city requirements by building 300 affordable housing units on-site and locate the remainder within a 3-mile radius of Lincoln Yards in addition to paying $39 million into the city’s affordable housing fund.

The proposal was met with opposition from many residents questioning who the project really benefitted. Lincoln Yards continues to change quickly to scramble together support—scrapping a soccer stadium and rushing through the approval process before administration’s change at City Hall. However, there’s still a long road ahead.

The city’s Plan Commission did approve Sterling Bay’s master plan in January, and the Community Development Commission supported funding for infrastructure surrounding the development through tax-increment financing (TIF) in February. Those are two big steps to getting a project on the map. But, Lincoln Yards still needs approval from the City Council’s Zoning Committee, the Finance Committee, and ultimately the full City Council.