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Logan's LGBTQ-Friendly Apartment Complex Gets One Step Closer To Approval

By  Mina Bloom and Heather Cherone | December 12, 2016 3:43pm 

 The latest rendering (left) compared to the rendering proposed in May (right).
The latest rendering (left) compared to the rendering proposed in May (right).
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom; Provided

LOGAN SQUARE — Funding for an LGBTQ-friendly affordable housing complex in Logan Square got the green light from the City Council's Finance Committee Monday.

The panel unanimously approved borrowing $16 million to fund the complex, bringing it a step closer to fruition. The project still needs approval from the full City Council on Wednesday.

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), whose ward includes the proposed development, wasn't at the committee meeting, but he has expressed unequivocal support throughout the public approval process.

"I think it's incredibly necessary, forward-thinking, and it's the right size," Moreno said at the last community meeting in late November.

First announced in May, the project calls for a seven-story building at the site of Congress Pizzeria, 2033 N. Milwaukee Ave., with 88 affordable housing units, 18 parking spaces and 2,400 square feet of retail space.

The housing would be a mix of reasonably priced units restricted to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income and public housing units — all marketed toward the LGBTQ community. Of the 88 units, 28 would be studios, 48 would be one-bedroom units and 12 would be two-bedroom units.

The project would 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 Castillo, who has said the project is a "desperately needed resource" in Logan Square. Many residents at the last meeting shared Castillo's enthusiasm, saying the affordable units are a welcome change in a neighborhood that continues to see rent hikes. 

In all, the project costs about $23 million, including $6 million in equity, $4 million in TIF funds and CHA capital improvement funds. 

If all goes according to plan, construction will start next summer, according to Moreno.

Community partners in the development include the Metropolitan Housing Development Corp., La Casa Norte, Latin United Community Housing Association and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

The development team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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