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Neighbors Hope $750,000 Logan Square Townhomes Push Gang Problem Away

By Paul Biasco | September 29, 2015 8:53am | Updated on September 29, 2015 8:59am
 A rendering of the proposed townhome development.
A rendering of the proposed townhome development.
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Guardian Capital

LOGAN SQUARE — A developer is proposing a significant townhome project in Logan Square that some community members hope will reduce gang activity near the site of a vacant factory.

The plan calls for 50 townhomes on a 2.25 acre plot located one block west of the Western Blue Line stop.

Guardian Capital's proposal calls for 50 townhomes on two adjacent plots of land at 2501 W. Homer St. and 2502 W. Cortland St.

The land at the Cortland address is vacant and the Homer address is the site of the former Phoenix Fastener Co.

Paul Biasco says some wanted a denser development near the Blue Line:

"This property has been a source of angst for some people in the community as well as our office," said Raymond Valadez, chief of staff to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st).

The developer's original proposal for the project included more than 200 rental units in a six-story building on Homer and 20 row houses on Cortland.

The West Bucktown Neighborhood Association argued that plan did not keep in balance with surrounding properties.

"That was a little bit too much density for us," said Rodney Gansho, chairman of the neighborhood association and a resident of the neighborhood since 2003.

Rolando Acosta, a zoning attorney representing the development team, said the city was pushing for greater density on the city, but he thought the new proposal was a good compromise between the developers and neighborhood.

The majority of the townhomes will be four stories, but a portion will be three stories. All of them will include a two-car garage and a rooftop deck.

The townhomes would be priced at between $640,000 and $740,000, according to the developer.

The smaller units would be about 1,800 square feet and the larger 2,400 square feet. About half will be two bedrooms and half will have three bedrooms.

All of the garages for the units are accessed via the public alley or down two private "car courts" that act as alleyways that would be accessible off Campbell Avenue.

Moreno's staff hosted a community meeting at his office Monday night to discuss the plans.

"It's been empty for such a long period of time and so gang infested, but I'm concerned about traffic," said Joe Kopera, a Logan Square resident who lives near the site.

The proposed development requires a zoning change from commercial to a planned development for this specific use.

If the zoning request goes smoothly, the developer hopes to begin construction in the spring.

The construction could be split into multiple phases depending on how quickly units are sold, according to the developer.

The developer has chosen not to provide on-site affordable housing units as required by the city's affordable requirements ordinance, but instead is looking to offer those units in the nearby vicinity of the project.

The developer is currently looking to purchase a building nearby and turn those units into affordable units in order to meet the requirements of the ordinance, according to Acosta, the zoning attorney.

Jennifer Arons, a member of the Guardian Capital development team, said the proposal to include the required five affordable housing units on-site was too expensive for the project.

Moreno's position on affordable housing has been to require developers to include affordable units rather than pay the required $100,000-per-unit fee to the city's affordable housing fund.

"The alderman's expectation is that they be in the West Bucktown neighborhood or close to it," Valadez, Moreno's chief of staff, said.

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