The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Rat-Infested Bucktown Lot Being Replaced By 46 Apartments

By Alisa Hauser | April 11, 2016 9:50am | Updated on April 11, 2016 10:32am
 The proposed site of a 6-story, 46-unit apartment building anchored by two storefronts.
The proposed site of a 6-story, 46-unit apartment building anchored by two storefronts.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

BUCKTOWN — An empty field that's attracted rodents and garbage since a plan to build a parking garage fell through five years ago could see its next chapter:  a 46-unit apartment building anchored by retail.

Michael Cordaro, the new owner of the empty lots at 1858 -1868 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Bucktown, says he wants to build a six-story, 46-unit apartment building with two ground-level retail storefronts.

"It will be a high-end building with nice condo quality finishes, a rooftop deck for tenants and balconies facing Milwaukee," Cordaro said.

Residents have been complaining that the empty field is home to rats.

"They are completely infested with rats...fearless rats that have taken to milling about the sidewalk in broad daylight," one person wrote on Everyblock.

The project would be Transit-Oriented Development, requiring less parking. Located about a block south of the CTA Western Blue Line "L" station and just north of an entry/exit ramp to the elevated Bloomingdale Trail, the building would offer 33 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom, and two three-bedroom apartments.

RELATED: Chicago Has a Real Problem With Rats, Rahm Says

RELATED: Are Feral Cats the Solution to City's Rat Problem?

Twenty-one parking spaces would be allocated to the residents of the building along with another nine for the retail storefronts, according to renderings by architect Bill Kokalias of Axios Architects.

The masonry structure with wood paneling and glass accents was described by Cordaro as "modern with a traditional feel."

Since Cordaro is seeking a zoning change, his request will be voted on by members of the Bucktown Community Organization at its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the neighborhood group's latest e-newsletter.

If the plan gets the green light by the neighborhood group and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), construction would begin by late summer or early fall and the building would be completed in summer 2017, Cordaro said.

The proposed building would be neighbored to the south by H.A.S., a drug treatment rehabilitation center.  To the north, there is a four-story condo building anchored by a dance studio and Bucktown Music, a  children's lesson center.

"We've been working hard on getting this zoning approved and hope it's well received by the community on Thursday. All the feedback so far has been positive," Cordaro said.

Cordaro said that he has developed a few single-family homes and owns rental properties in Chicago but that the current project, to be built under his River North-based entity Peerless Development, will be his first entry into creating a larger, mixed-use building.

"It's a good site for a building with some stature and it will help to revitalize that stretch of Milwaukee," Cordaro said. 

Cordaro plans to comply with the city's Affordable Requirements Ordinance and allocate 10 percent of the rentals, or five apartments, to those who qualify for affordable housing.

"I felt it was the most appropriate thing to do," he said.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: