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New $80M plan revealed for massive-mixed income project on Near West Side

The next phase of the Roosevelt Square development will feature three mid-rise featuring fitness centers, dog runs and indoor parking, plus new retail space and apartments inside the proposed National Public Housing Museum.

A proposed new building at 1002 S. Racine, part of the Roosevelt Square development being built on the Near West Side.
Moody Nolan

The next phase of a massive mixed-income housing development on the Near West Side will feature hundreds of new and rehabbed units, three new mid-rise buildings and apartments in the proposed National Public Housing Museum.

The $80 million project will feature a mix of units of up to three bedrooms in size in buildings featuring fitness centers, dog runs and indoor parking, plus new retail space and apartments inside the proposed housing museum at the site of the former ABLA Homes, which were razed nearly 20 years ago.

The project will be the subject of a virtual meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, in which residents of Little Italy and University Village will get their first glimpse of the planned construction, which is scheduled to be finished by 2023.

A rendering of the National Public Housing Museum, which will be developed with housing units as part of the Roosevelt Square development
Provided

The Addams, Brooks, Loomis, Abbott Homes made up a 137-acre Chicago Housing Authority public housing complex which was the oldest in the city before the vast majority of the 3,600 units were demolished by 2007 to make way for the new development, called Roosevelt Square.

But while some new units were completed at the start of the project, for the past two decades construction has been on and off as the redevelopment was stalled by the recession and other problems, leaving the area blanketed with vast stretches of vacant land.

The lot at 1257 W. Roosevelt Rd., Wednesday afternoon, March 10, 2021.
Mengshin Lin/Sun-Times

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), whose ward is home to most of Roosevelt Square, and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward includes about a quarter of the area, will be at the meeting hosted by Related Midwest, which in partnership with the city, has been building and managing Roosevelt Square for the past several years.

“We are really, really excited about finally building again at Roosevelt Square since this is a critically important development for our company, neighborhood and for the city of Chicago,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “Building as many units as we can that works for the area will only drive action on along Taylor Street and Roosevelt [Road].”

Construction of a new building at 1002 S. Racine Ave. will replace a parking lot with 67 housing units and 12,000 square feet of retail space. About 50 of those units will be market-rate housing while the rest will be public housing for low-income residents. It will feature a 1,000 square-foot entertainment space on the fourth floor with a 1,400 square foot terrace. This location was awarded a federal low-income housing tax credit last year.

A rendering of 1257 W. Roosevelt Road.
Design Bridge

The buildings at 1257 W. and 1357 W. Roosevelt Rd. will each have 70 units of mixed-income housing and also offer amenities like a fitness center. At each location, 29 units will be designated as low-income, while 21 will be deemed affordable and 20 will be market rate.

Affordable units will be available for people who earn 60-80% of the area median income (AMI), or $54,600-$72,800 for a family of four. CHA units are available to low-income residents and price at 30% of income.

Also, 184 apartments that were created under Roosevelt Square’s first phase will undergo rehabilitation and renovations.

The long-stalled National Public Housing Museum, which is slated to open in a renovated ABLA building at 925 S. Ada St., will include 15 mixed-income units under this phase of the project, officials said.

That building is across the street from the Little Italy Branch Library, at 1336 W. Taylor St., which opened in 2019 with 73 units that were largely low-income or affordable. Some community members were critical of that makeup after they said they believed there would be more market-rate housing in the building.

Once completed, officials said the entire Roosevelt Square project will feature a total of 2,441 units. About 40% of those units will be market rate, 31% will be set aside for CHA and 29% will be affordable.

“It’s time for us to continue moving forward with the development of Roosevelt Square, but we need to make sure it’s in a community-centric way,” Ervin said. “We still need to talk to the community to get their feel for it and this will be a good chance for them to share their thoughts.”

The development will also eventually include single-family homes for sale, which Ervin hopes to discuss at the meeting even though that’s not part of this phase.

“We really need to be looking toward for-sale units in the area,” Ervin said. “I know that people want to be homeowners.”

Another view of the proposed building at 1002 S. Racine.
Moody Nolan

Ervin acknowledged that original plans called for dividing the number of units equally between low-income, affordable and market-rate housing. But he said having a slightly higher percentage of market-rate housing could ultimately benefit the neighborhood.

Sigcho-Lopez, however, is concerned about that loss in lower-cost units.

“The need for affordable housing and public housing continues to grow and this is a major concern that I have,” he said. “My focus is to assure affordability is truly affordable and the original plan had the number of market rate units at 33%, but now it’s 40%. Why?”

Sigcho-Lopez also believes the income cutoff for affordable units is too high.

“We know that many who live in ABLA won’t meet that 60% AMI, which will leave a lot of people out of this,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We need to make affordable housing truly affordable.”

Sigcho-Lopez said to really be affordable affordable units should be for those earning 20-50% of the area median income.

A parking lot at 1201 W. Taylor St. would become a new building with retail and housing under the Roosevelt Square plan, Wednesday afternoon, March 10, 2021.
Mengshin Lin/Sun-Times