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Rogers Park residents want more affordable apartments in Heartland Cafe redevelopment

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Alderwoman Maria Hadden shared the results of a resident feedback survey

A rendering of the six-story building proposed for 7000 N. Glenwood Avenue.
Chicago’s 49th Ward

Rogers Park neighbors are pushing back on a proposal to redevelop the former site of the Heartland Cafe property at 7000 N. Glenwood Avenue into a six-story, transit-oriented rental building.

According to 49th Ward Alderwoman Maria Hadden, the majority of the 206 residents that responded to community feedback survey think the elected official should not support developer Sam Goldman’s request for a zoning change. The top issue—by a large margin—was a desire for more affordable housing, followed by more parking and more community space.

As presented earlier this month, the plan calls for a total of 60 rental units with six offered at an affordable rate. Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) calls for ten percent affordable units, but the developer has the option to build just two units on site and buy out the remaining four units for $208,000.

The proposal also includes roughly 2,400 square feet of ground-floor retail space, parking for 60 bikes and 15 vehicles, and a new community mural along Glenwood Avenue.

When asked about the benefits of the project, most respondents chose increased density.
Chicago’s 49th Ward
A desire to see more affordable-rate units in the proposed developed was the top comment from the 206 residents that responded to the survey.
Chicago’s 49th Ward

“Our office met with Sam Goldman this week to go over the summary and discuss significant takeaways,” wrote the alderwoman in an email on Friday. “We’re still evaluating all the feedback and doing a bit of research on all options available to us to make sure that whatever is built at 7000 N. Glenwood is going to be good for our community.”

Current zoning allows for a slightly shorter building with between 40 efficiency and 30 multifamily units. If the developer decides to forgo a zoning change, the project will not be subject to the city’s ARO requirements and can theoretically contain zero affordable housing.

The site’s now-demolished Heartland Cafe was not only a place to eat but a hub for community-based art, music, and political activism for more than four decades. Goodman purchased the property for $1.3 million shortly after the restaurant closed in December.

Correction: This article incorrectly stated that six affordable-rate units are the minimum requirement under the ARO. Only two units are required if the developer decides to buy out the remaining units. The number of efficiency versus multifamily units that can be built under the current zoning has also been clarified.