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Maryville Academy Demolition 'To Occur Soon,' Alderman Says

By Josh McGhee | September 29, 2016 5:54am
 JDL Development plans to close the deal on the site Friday, Ald. James Cappleman (46th).
JDL Development plans to close the deal on the site Friday, Ald. James Cappleman (46th).
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — JDL Development plans to close the deal on its luxury apartment complex slated for the Clarendon Montrose Tax Increment Finance TIF District this week, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said.

The deal is expected to close Friday and "demolition is expected to occur soon after, but no set date is in place," Cappleman said in a newsletter to the ward last week.

The proposal has been a hot-button issue because it would use $15.8 million in TIF funds for luxury apartments, but supporters have argued the prime lakefront property isn't collecting taxes because Maryville Academy, which is set to be demolished, is tax exempt.

The Clarendon Montrose TIF District was created in 2010 to foster development near Clarendon Park. The 31-acre district "is characterized by vacant institutional buildings, public open spaces and community facilities" with no tax-generating properties in the district when it was formed, according to the City of Chicago website.

In June, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) was one of two aldermen who voiced opposition to the development before it easily passed through the City Council Finance Committee.

"If a developer wants to develop luxury units on the lakefront, albeit a tough corner, we should not be extending TIF funds. I don't see this as being in the public's interest," Osterman said at the meeting.

The proposal passed the City Council on a 37-13 vote the next day with Osterman dissenting again.

The project is being developed by Montrose Clarendon Partners LLC, which was created specifically for the project. The LLC is owned James Letchinger, of JDL Development, and Harlem Irving Companies.

The approved proposal includes redevelopment of the property on the west side of Clarendon Avenue into a 26-story mixed-use building with 381 apartments, a grocery store and 278 parking spaces.

Five percent of the units in the building — amounting to 20 total units — will be affordable units, with half of those units reserved for households earning less than 50 percent of the area median income, according to a report from the Department of Planning and Development.

The number of affordable units in the proposal has also come under fire by housing activists.

The property on the east side of Clarendon Avenue would include a one-story building with retail space with 11 outdoor parking spaces. The total project would cost an estimated $125 million, and the TIF financing would make up about 12.7 percent of the total cost, the report said.

Market-rate studio apartments would cost $1,688, one-bedroom apartments would cost $2,079 and two-bedroom apartments would cost $2,637. The project is estimated to created 550-675 construction jobs, according to the report.

Proposals for the site have been debated since 2012.

"During the Process JDL made numerous revisions to address the concerns of neighbors. Over the years since, residents have continued to communicate their desire to see the proposal move forward," Cappleman said in June.

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