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Mixed-Income Project Adds Just Over 100 Units To Cabrini-Green Area

By Mina Bloom | May 4, 2016 3:37pm
 Deidre Brewster, Cabrini-Green activist, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel, current tenant Armesha Jones and Congressman Danny Davis cut the ribbon at the Parkside of Old Town, 459 W. Division St.
Deidre Brewster, Cabrini-Green activist, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel, current tenant Armesha Jones and Congressman Danny Davis cut the ribbon at the Parkside of Old Town, 459 W. Division St.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

NEAR NORTH SIDE — The third phase of the Parkside of Old Town, a mixed-income housing development, is complete.

The project added just over 100 rental units to Cabrini-Green, bringing the total number of public housing units in the area to 470, according to the city.

Public officials and community leaders convened Wednesday morning at Terrace 459 at Parkside of Old Town, 459 W. Division St., to unveil the $41 million project. The project includes 43 market-rate units, 27 affordable units and 36 public housing units at two Cabrini-Green locations: 459 W. Division St. and 1151 N. Cleveland Ave.

"For me, it's a long time coming. We've been working real hard on this," said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), who was joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), Cabrini-Green activist Deidre Brewster and developer Peter Holsten of Holsten Real Estate.

"I want to thank residents of Cabrini-Green for allowing others to move in and going along with the Plan For Transformation, Burnett said, referring to the city's longterm effort to redevelop public housing.

"It has changed the character and raised the bar of where public housing folks should live," Burnett added. 

Armesha Jones now lives in the mixed-income building after living in a Cabrini-Green row house for eight years in the early 2000s. 

"I can remember when Division Street was very scary to walk down," Jones said. "Back then, there were no parks, no stores. The streets were covered with drug battles with the neighborhood gangs. I made sure I was home before dark. That was the life I lived on a daily basis."

After Jones moved out in 2007, she wondered why developers weren't rebuilding the area then. Public officials, including Emanuel, blame the economic downturn for the lack of activity in the Cabrini-Green area between 2007 to 2012. A lawsuit over the future of the row houses between the Chicago Housing Authority and a tenant group also held up redevelopment. They have since reached a settlement agreement.

Jones said it wasn't until Holsten began redeveloping the area that she started to feel like she was part of the process.

"Now I feel more included. At some point, I wasn't part of the conversation," she said. "I gained more than housing. I have safety and security."

The CHA's 2000 "Plan For Transformation" calls for a total of 2,800 units of mixed-income housing in the Cabrini-Green area. So far, 470 public housing units, 180 affordable units and 157 market-rate units have been built, according to the city. 

The former Cabrini-Green housing development offered more than 3,000 public housing units when it was standing.

Developers are currently bidding on the first three parcels of land: the first site is eight acres bounded by Clybourn Avenue, Larrabee Avenue to the east, the Clybourn Medical Center to the south and the former Blackhawk right-of-way to the north.

The second is seven acres bounded by Halsted Street on the west, the former Scott Street right-of-way on the north, a Target store on the east and Division Street on the south. The third incudes 1.6 acres bounded by Larrabee Street to the west, Oak Street to the north, Cambridge Avenue to the east and residential buildings to the south.

Burnett said officials expect to review three bids next month. He has said that there will be community meetings once officials review the proposals.

 

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