Roosevelt Square's Next Phase Pushed by Aldermen

By Darryl Holliday on February 26, 2013 8:44am 

 A planned development on land once occupied by public housing drew skepticism from neighbors at a community meeting Monday night.
A planned development on land once occupied by public housing drew skepticism from neighbors at a community meeting Monday night.
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DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday

NEAR WEST SIDE — A planned development on land once occupied by public housing drew skepticism from neighbors at a community meeting Monday night.

The second phase of the Roosevelt Square development would include two apartment buildings at 1255 and 1355 W. Roosevelt Road, the former location of the Chicago Housing Authority's ABLA Homes — but a Tax Increment Financing District extension will be necessary to complete the project, according to city politicians and developer Related Midwest.

Aldermen Danny Solis (25th) and Jason Ervin (28th) were on hand to assuage some residents' fear that the development wouldn't be built in their best interests.

Out of the 120 apartments in the development, reportedly only 20 percent will be set aside as public housing, with the remaining 80 percent sold at market rate.

But Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest, disputed that report Monday, and said the amount of affordable housing in the development is already "much higher" than the one-third affordable rate set by the CHA's Plan For Transformation, which stipulates that all replacement housing should be one-third market-rate, one-third affordable, one-third public housing.

"We're bound by as much as we can build, then as much as we can sell and rent out," he said.

In answer to one resident's "frustration," Bailey said "in the end, what we're trying to do is drive your property value up — so we're completely aligned in that."

Other residents voiced concerns that the development would not have adequate recreation space and that developers wouldn't heed local input.

"You talk about vacant lots, but you need to clean up what's here now," neighbor Tracy Smith said. "We need outreach — and can't nobody tell you better than us."

Solis and Ervin, whose wards contain the Roosevelt Square development, later renewed the call for a extension of the TIF district in the area to move the project forward.

"We want to make sure the development is an enhancement to the community and not a barrier," Ervin said, noting that between Solis, a Latino alderman, and himself, a black alderman, security for minority participation would be ensured in the development.

"I want to look at the big picture," Solis said. "This type of development will be a big plus for our community."

"We need to move ahead."

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