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Logan Square's 'Twin Towers' Plan Moving Too Fast For Some Neighbors

By Darryl Holliday | April 6, 2015 7:43am

LOGAN SQUARE — A hearing for Logan Square's large "Twin Towers" development is on the agenda for city approval, but at least two neighborhood groups want the process slowed down.

Despite being met with resistance since the day it was introduced to the Logan Square community in October 2014, the "Twin Towers" proposal is set to appear before city representatives next week. The connected towers planned for 2293 N. Milwaukee Ave. have been downsized — settling at 11 and 12 stories — but while they've gained support from some in the neighborhood, many still find the large development out of scale with the area.

Though two community groups have called for a third public discussion on the proposal before it moves forward, a public hearing before the Chicago Plan Commission has been set for April 16.

“That’s the appropriate step for it to take,” Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) said Friday. “Unless something drastic were to change with the plan, right now we have no plans to change [the date].”

The transit-oriented development has gained the backing of the Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and LUCHA, the Latin United Community Housing Association, which applauded the development’s inclusion of affordable and workforce housing in a March 30 letter of support.  

But, in a letter sent two days after the second community meeting for the towers, members of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Logan Square Preservation urged Moreno "to schedule one additional public meeting, if not several, where community residents and merchants can see and hear the presentation, ask questions and make comments.”

The letter cites short notice, an over-crowded meeting space, poor planning of translation service for Spanish speakers and a time conflict with a community meeting hosted by Logan Square resident State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), scheduled for the same night.

“We believe there are many more local residents who would like an opportunity to learn about the revised proposal and provide their input,” the joint LSNA/LSP letter, signed by LSP president Andrew Schneider and LSNA housing and land use director John McDermott, continued.

If approved by the Chicago Plan Commission April 16, the dual tower development planned for the former Max Gerber lot near California and Milwaukee avenues will proceed to the city zoning committee, then go on to a full City Council vote — leaving many wondering if the development is a done deal despite calls for further community debate.

The project is “on schedule,” according to Moreno, who downplayed the contentious nature of the two community meetings. He added that, once up and running, the Twin Towers will generate a net $280,000 annually, much of which will return to the community while not taking any dollars from the local Tax Increment Financing fund.

The entire meeting can be viewed here and slides presented to residents at the same meeting can be found here.

“I’ve been through this rodeo before. It’s been nothing but a grand success,” Moreno said, comparing another TOD building in Wicker Park, also from Twin Towers developer Rob Buono, to the large set of buildings planned for the California Blue Line in Logan Square.

“This is a fantastic and one-of-a-kind development,” he said.

Though the alderman has noted support for the proposal from the Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association, GGNA president Sally Hamann has said that the proposal was approved by GGNA’s zoning committee, not the neighborhood organization at large.

“The alderman has called for and run the community meetings and has not taken any votes,” Hamann said in an email urging residents to send any comments on the proposal Moreno's office at ward01@cityofchicago.org.

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