EAST VILLAGE — If everything goes as planned, 34 transit-oriented apartments will open in an Art Deco church along Ashland Avenue in the summer of 2017, according to a developer who is finalizing a contract to buy the 1920s-era brick and limestone building for $1.58 million.
Earlier this month, members of the City Council approved Mark Sutherland's requested zoning change to allow for the construction of East Village Lofts, which will offer studio, one and two-bedroom apartments at 1056-1100 N. Ashland Ave., about a 2-minute walk from the CTA Blue Line Division "L" stop in nearby Wicker Park.
Eight parking spots will be allocated to the residents of the 5-story building, which will also offer a bike storage room, according to plans by architect Brian Milbury.
"I am sure that some of the residents will have cars but probably less than half. Young people, now, they want to take Ubers, bike," said Sutherland, founder of Wicker Park Apartments, Inc. which owns and manages 31 apartment buildings in the Wicker Park, Noble Square, East Village and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods.
On Monday, Sutherland said the revised Transit-Oriented Ordinance, which allows new residential developments as far as 1320 feet or one-quarter mile way from hard rail public transit to offer no parking spots, paved the way for the project.
Sutherland, who has a pending contract with the church's owners to buy the building, said he was waiting for the zoning to get approved and for the plan to pass muster with members of East Village Association, who wanted to ensure that the church's facade was preserved.
The Church of God for North Central Spanish District, which has no website or email address, is owned by pastor Silverio Hechavarria. An online church directory as well as a real estate sales listing both put the property at 1062 N. Ashland Ave.
Hechavarria could not be reached on Tuesday but his grandson who answered the church's phone confirmed the upcoming sale.
Milbury said that designing apartments around the existing church made it a challenge.
"You still want the existing church to be the highlight of the project if you are to save it. Only the front of the church will be preserved; not a lot was salvageable inside," Milbury said.
Sutherland said East Village Lofts will feature "top-of-the-line finishes" and adhere to green building standards, including the use of recycled building materials. Energy efficient lighting, mechanical, sound and thermal insulation systems will also be installed.
East Village Loft's four studio apartments will range between 530 to 658 square feet; 18 one-bedroom dwellings will range from 667 to 721 square feet; and 12 two-bedroom apartments will range from 880 to 1,140 square feet.
Based on current market rates, which Sutherland said will likely change by summer 2017, rents on studios will be $1,500; one-bedrooms will be $1,800; two bedroom one-bathroom will ask $2,500, while larger 2-bedroom and 2-bathroom units will rent for $2,700 monthly.
Under terms of the new Affordable Requirements Ordinance, 10 percent of the building's units must be dedicated to affordable housing. One-fourth of that 10 percent needs to be onsite, so Sutherland said that one studio apartment will rent for $746 monthly, which is the current rate for folks who earn 60-percent or less of the city's current median income.
The other two required affordable housing units, both two-bedroom apartments, will be offered in a building near Western Avenue and Augusta Boulevard that Sutherland also owns.
Elsewhere in the area, Sutherland developed the Wicker Park Lofts, a 40-unit transit-oriented apartment building at 1515 W. Haddon Ave. that is expected to open this summer.
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