LOGAN SQUARE — The first of several large-scale residential developments coming to Logan Square attracted protest from affordable housing and anti-gentrification advocates Wednesday, setting the stage for a series of similar efforts on the bustling Milwaukee Avenue strip.
A group of around 40 residents and neighbors gathered at the future “L” building, 2211 N. Milwaukee Ave., which broke ground in April touting 120 new luxury units (including 12 affordable units), LEED certification and monthly rents starting at around $1,500.
“This is not improvement, this is displacement. This is greed not need,” Northeastern Illinois University professor and Logan Square resident Jesse Mumm told the crowd. “We did not ask for it and we can’t afford it.”
Members of Somos Logan Square and Grassroots Illinois Action organized around the early stages of construction underway at the site, which has doubled as an outdoor art exhibit since January, when a large glowing “L” appeared in the vacant lot overnight.
Mumm acknowledged the developer's attention to environmental sustainability and art, including 300 feet of community art painted on the building’s construction fence at the same location the day before. But, he said, developers have “forgotten about the human environment” in order to “generate [property] speculation and make massive profits.”
“This is not improvement, this is displacement,” Northern Illinois University professor and Logan Square resident Jesse Mumm told the crowd. (DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday)
Protesters posted a 30-foot banner beside a Property Markets Group construction fence that read “Logan Square is a community, not a property market.”
They then walked less than a single block north on Milwaukee Ave. to a vacant lot that will provide a foundation for Logan Square’s so-called Twin Towers, because, they said, the towers, the “L” project and similar developments coming to the neighborhood represent a trend of gentrification and eventual displacement.
But, according to longtime Logan Square resident Gareth Newfield, the protesters “are protesting the wrong thing.”
Newfield was on his way home via the Milwaukee Ave. bike lane when the group drew his attention. “This is absurd,” he said.
Developments that take advantage of nearby mass transit and dense residential construction help increase housing supply and ease demand, Newfield said.
At the "L" site, longtime resident and “L” protestor Robert Castillo pointed out his childhood home, located directly behind the construction site. And 54-year Logan Square resident Joe Kopera noted that his own home is two blocks away.
“I’m not anti-development or pro-development, I’m for responsible development,” Kopera told the crowd, arguing that the "L" building was greenlit with little community input. Kopera said he worries a string of similar projects could “cause people to move away from this family-oriented neighborhood.”
Property Markets Group principal Noah Gottlieb declined to comment on the protest.
Protesters posted a 30-foot banner beside the spray painted Property Markets Group construction fence that read “Logan Square is a community, not a property market.” (DNAinfo/Darryl Holliday)
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