PILSEN — Plans for a new 500-unit rental development in Pilsen are moving forward, an alderman said Wednesday, even as a community group says it's furious the plans on a site now owned by the Midwest Jesuits haven't been more public.
Ald. Danny Solis (25th) met with New York-based Property Markets Group, the firm that plans to develop 500 rental units on a vacant 7.85-acre site between 16th and 18th streets and Newberry Avenue and Peoria Street, earlier this week.
The developer, who is planning a mix of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units, will next meet with a Pilsen development committee in the next two weeks, the alderman said.
That development committee is composed of representatives from the Resurrection Project, the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, 18th Street Development Corporation and Alivio Medical Center, Solis said. If the development committee approves the project, the developer will next meet with the entire community about the plan, he said.
While the alderman is concerned that 500 units may be too many, Solis said he does like that the plan calls for about 1.5 acres of green space at the site.
"They're pushing a lot of bikes, art, murals and sculptures — there's a few things that I like," Solis said Wednesday. "I want to see what the community wants first."
Solis said he has also asked that 21 percent of the development be affordable housing units.
"That's something we agreed on years back," he said.
According to the group's website, Property Markets Group plans to develop a "one-of-a-kind project strategically located within the city of Chicago, steps from thriving retail, public transportation and several major highway corridors."
Pilsen group 'outraged'
But at least one group is already furious over the potential sale.
In a letter to the Midwest Jesuits, the Roman Catholic order that owns the property, Pilsen Alliance members write that they are "outraged" that the pending land sale has not been discussed with the Pilsen community.
Byron Sigcho, a Pilsen Alliance board member and former 25th Ward aldermanic candidate, said that the group has been trying to reach Midwest Jesuits to discuss plans for the lot — which will affect the neighborhood’s "most vulnerable communities" — for years.
“As a Catholic parishioner in Pilsen and someone who was educated in the Jesuit spirit of social justice, I am extremely disappointed in your lack of response to even meet with the community, with the poor and those of us who will be affected by this plan,” Sigcho wrote.
Jeremy Langford, director of communications for the Midwest Jesuits, declined to answer questions about the land sale, except to say that the property "has been under a contract of sale for two years."
"Therefore, it would be improper for us to discuss further details with other parties at this time," Langford said in a statement.
The Midwest Jesuits bought the vacant property in 2009, according to records.
Property Markets Group's Chicago office did not return calls. The development group also lists ReVerb UC, a 16-unit luxury apartment development near the United Center on the Near West Side, as one of the firm's properties.
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