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Ald. Arena Backs 16 Apartments Proposed Near Montrose And Cicero

 A long-vacant lot near Montrose and Cicero avenues would be transformed into a 16-unit apartment building.
A long-vacant lot near Montrose and Cicero avenues would be transformed into a 16-unit apartment building.
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45th Ward Office

PORTAGE PARK — Ald. John Arena (45th) will back a 16-unit apartment building set to be built near Montrose and Cicero avenues, despite neighbors’ concerns about traffic and parking.

At a community meeting in May, neighbors said they were concerned about access from the alley and the configuration of the parking lot at 4812-18 W. Montrose Ave. They urged Arena to withhold his support for the project until it was redesigned. Others said it was too dense.

The project is expected to move forward at the next meeting of the City Council, which is set for Sept. 14, said Owen Brugh, the alderman's chief of staff.

The project requires a zoning change, which needs the support of Arena and the approval of the Chicago Plan Commission.

Several neighbors said they were concerned it would snarl traffic in the alley behind the property, which many people use to bypass gridlocked Montrose and Cicero avenues.

While Arena asked developer Dominic McGee to consider the suggestions made at the meeting, he decided after surveying parking and traffic in the area that no changes needed to be made, Brugh said.

However, Arena monitored the alley a couple of times during rush hour and did not see any cut through traffic, Brugh said.

"We don't believe the configuration will be an issue," Brugh said.

A three-story apartment building is directly west of the 14,200-square-foot parcel, and a Citgo gas station is directly east. The Montrose stop on the CTA Blue Line is a short walk, as is the Mayfair station on Metra's Milwaukee District North Line. Both the Montrose and Cicero avenue buses stop nearby.

Arena often has touted his support for projects that give people a chance to live near mass transit hubs and business districts. But his policy is not to take a position on the development until after the community meeting.

Existing rules would allow eight apartments or condominiums to be built on the site, along with four storefronts, officials said.

The project includes 16 parking spots. If approved, two of the apartments would be set aside for low-income residents under the city's affordable housing ordinance.

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