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Logan Square community group challenges 100-unit affordable housing project

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Opponents of the plan want to see more parking and open space for the rest neighborhood

A rendering of the 100-unit affordable housing development slated for Emmett and Kedzie.
Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation/Landon Bone Baker Architects

A proposal to bring an affordable housing development to a city-owned parking lot across from the Logan Square Blue Line stop has drawn mixed reactions as some community members question the city’s plan to sell the valuable land to a nonprofit for just $1.

Slated for the corner of Emmett Street and Kedzie Avenue, the seven-story transit-oriented development is from Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and Landon Bone Baker Architects. The plans call for an altogether affordable-rate project with 100 units, 20 parking spaces, a small public plaza, and 4,500 square feet of commercial space geared towards local small businesses and nonprofits.

While the development has earned the support of Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Logan Square Preservation, a recently formed Facebook group dubbed Logan Square Neighbors for Responsible Development has voiced concerns about the plan’s lack of open space and parking for the rest of the community.

“We think that the city should entertain multiple proposals and choose one that follows the mandates from the community meetings,” said the group in a Facebook post. “That would require that proposals for housing on this site blend in with the other buildings on the Square, and include sufficient parking and a public space. Logan Square, we can do better.”

Shout out to Logan Square Neighborhood Association for braving the snow in their march for housing equity at the Logan...

Posted by Logan Square Neighbors for Responsible Development on Sunday, April 14, 2019

According to a tweet from Chicago’s Cityscape’s Steven Vance, the newly created organization has close ties to the designers of a 2016 proposal to turn the Emmett and Kedzie lot into a year-round open-air market. At the time, architect and local resident Josh Hutchison told Curbed that he came up with the concept for the neighborhood market after “feeling railroaded” by Bickerdike’s large presence at 2014 public meetings which discussed the site’s possible redevelopment as affordable housing.

As things stand now, the new Logan Square development will need the support of 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and the community to move forward under the alderman’s specific zoning process. Ramirez-Rosa will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposal at Avondale-Logandale Elementary School on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to paying $1 for the city-owned land, the developers are seeking other subsidies for the $31 million project including $8 million in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funding plus other low-income housing subsidies, Ramirez-Rosa told Block Club earlier this month. If approved, Bickerdike would start construction no sooner than the spring of 2020 and welcome residents the following year, according to description on the project’s website.

35th Ward