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LGBTQ-Friendly Affordable Development In Logan Square Details Revealed

By Paul Biasco | May 22, 2016 10:29am | Updated on May 23, 2016 9:14am
 John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza
John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza
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LOGAN SQUARE — The LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing development that was announced earlier this week will be a split between reasonably priced apartments and Chicago Housing Authority units.

The details of the proposal, which calls for paying for a portion of the project with tax increment financing dollars, were presented during a community open house Saturday afternoon.

While the $18 million project is in the very early stages and will require the collaboration of a number of agencies, Ald. Proco Joe Moreno (1st) said he is optimistic and that the developer plans to present the proposal to the City in June.

"All the financing, that's all pretty much in line," Moreno said. "We are going to start a very thorough community process."

Paul Biasco shares the latest details on the development.

The transit-oriented development project will be a collaboration between the developer, Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation, the CHA, La Casa Norte, Latin United Community Housing Association and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

The seven-story development will replace Congress Pizzeria at 2031 N. Milwaukee Ave. and will be named in honor of longtime Logan Square LGBTQ rights and affordable housing activists John Pennycuff and Robert Castillo.

Pennycuff died in 2012, but is survived by his husband Castillo.

"Obviously it’s bittersweet," Castillo said. "A lot of friends posted that they wished John were here to see this, but I think it's a nice legacy to all the work that he's done not only in the LGBT community, but the Logan Square community."

The development will include a total of 88 apartments, 43 will be restricted to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income and 45 public housing units.

There will be approximately 24 parking spaces.

Moreno said he expects $2 million to $2.5 million of tax increment financing dollars will be used to finance the project along with private funding, tax credits and CHA funds.

“I’m very proud. We have been working on this for two and a half years and you want to talk about this, but it’s not done and once you start saying things… I wanted to make sure it was done," Moreno said.

The LGBTQ aspect of the project will not restrict the building to only LGBTQ residents, but instead will be marketed to that community.

The project will be modeled after the Town Hall Apartments in Lakeview, which was the first LGBTQ senior housing complex when it opened in 2014.

"What you are saying is this is an LGBTQ-friendly safe place to live, whether you are LGBTQ or straight," Moreno said. "It's really needed."

Castillo, whom the project is named after, said he was humbled and added that this was only the first step.

"I know a lot of people really want this to happen," he said. "But, I also know that Logan Square is an engaged community. I'm looking forward to healthy, hearty dialogue."

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