PILSEN — After the Pilsen Land Use Committee nixed a plan to build 500 apartments at a vacant 7.85-acre site, the developer now plans to develop the property without a zoning change.
The property's current zoning won't allow for 500 units to be built at the site, but New York-based Property Markets Group will still buy the site between 16th and 18th streets and Newberry Avenue and Peoria Street. Instead of 500 apartments, a smaller mixed-use project will be developed that meets the site's current zoning rules, developer Noah Gottlieb confirmed this week.
Now that a zoning change is off the table, the development could include apartments, townhomes, offices and commercial space, Gottlieb said. He declined to say how many residential units the developer plans to build on the property, but said the project would be completed in phases.
"Most likely it will be a combination" of uses, Gottlieb said.
The property's current zoning allows for up to 300 residential units to be developed on the site, according to a source familiar with the Pilsen site.
The developer's latest move comes after the Pilsen Land Use Committee recommended the project be rejected in February. Subsequently, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said he would not support the plan to rezone the property, effectively killing plans to build 500 apartments there. Solis also serves as chairman of City Council's Committee on Zoning.
At the time, the Pilsen Land Use Committee and the developer couldn't agree on how much affordable housing should be built on the site.
Solis said that the developer has not approached him with its latest plan for the site. While a zoning change is not necessary, the alderman noted that the developer might need other city approvals to get the project off the ground.
In Spring 2015, PMG revealed plans to develop 500 apartments on the vacant Pilsen property. The developer wanted a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units at the site.
The proposed development site is owned by The Midwest Jesuits, who bought the land for $6.5 million in 2009.
In May 2015, Pilsen Alliance protested the Midwest Jesuits' planned sale of property in front of the Roman Catholic order's headquarters, calling the plan "gentrification on steroids."
Meanwhile, some University Village members who live nearby are pushing for the long-vacant site to be developed soon.
Affordable housing Pilsen project
In a separate deal, Property Markets Group also plans to develop about 50 affordable housing units for families in Pilsen.
The property sale is currently under contract, Gottlieb confirmed, but he declined to say where the site is located.
The affordable housing project is a "good faith gesture" to show the Pilsen Land Use Committee that the developer is interested in addressing community's concerns, Gottlieb said.
"This has absolutely nothing to do with the other project," he said. "They are two completely separate deals based on my future desire to be doing business in Pilsen."
Solis said Gottlieb has not discussed the affordable project with him.
"There's not a lot of empty land in Pilsen," he said. "If there is a property that big, [the developer] will probably need a zoning change."
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