ROGERS PARK — A plan to build a mini-Target and 111 apartments on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park got slammed Monday night by seniors who live next door to the proposed site.
Seniors living at the CHA-owned Caroline Hedger Apartments high-rise held a press conference before a community meeting to speak out against the project.
Immediately after the news conference, 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore and representatives from the CHA, Three Corners Development and Target presented their proposal to a packed house at Loyola University — garnering mixed reaction from the crowd.
The project includes a seven-story development on Sheridan Road with 111 apartment units, underground parking, 6,200 square feet of leasable retail space and a 23,200-square-foot mini-Target — about a tenth the size of the full-scale Uptown location.
Of the apartment units, about 60 percent would be set aside for CHA renters, while the remaining 40 percent could be leased at market rate.
Called the "Concord at Sheridan," the development is slated for a plot of land just north of the Caroline Hedger Apartments at 6400 N. Sheridan Road that is now a parking lot and community center used by the seniors.
The senior apartments and the site where the proposed development would sit are owned by the CHA.
While some at the meeting said the Concord was an "extremely excit[ing]" prospect and a "slam dunk," seniors who would see the building put on a portion of the property their building currently sits on opposed it.
The proposed Target. [Provided]
Seniors not on board
Before the meeting to discuss the project, a group of about 20 seniors from the Caroline Hedger Apartments joined local business owners, housing activists and representatives from the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce to denounce the development.
Seniors said the proposal would better serve the community as a "satellite senior center." After the rally, the group took its message to the community meeting.
Though the Target proposal also includes a new community room with a rooftop terrace for the more than 400 residents at the seniors building, some said what they really want is to be left alone.
"Let us live the rest of our lives in peace," said CHA resident Stephanie Hayes.
Christopher Woods, president of Three Corners Development, said the project was meant to enhance the neighborhood, in particular the experience of the Caroline Hedger residents.
However, seniors at Monday night's meetings heckled Woods as he spoke about his group's vision for how the development would benefit the neighborhood.
A statement released last week from CHA Chief Executive Eugene Jones Jr. suggested Caroline Hedger residents supported the project, though Monday residents said many still did not. The seniors recently voted to reject the proposal.
"CHA is mistaken that they have a mandate for approval from residents. We voted to reject this proposal and prefer one that builds a satellite senior center, gardens, parking and affordable housing,” said John Quirk, resident and officer of the Caroline Hedger Tenant Association.
Some of the buildings' residents previously spoke out against the project at a CHA meeting.
If the plan goes through, seniors said they prefer a ground-level garden with real soil instead of the decorative planters proposed for the rooftop.
Seniors also said they were afraid of becoming victims of crime while using the 136 underground parking spaces that will become their new parking lot, shared with Target customers and residents of the proposed development.
"The people are afraid," Hayes said.
Lori Jones, a Target representative, said there would be an on-site security person from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. and that Target would work with local police and the property's management to help keep the area safe.
Stephanie Hayes said she and other seniors just want to be happy and are opposed to the Target. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
About the project
The proposed Target store is smaller than full-size locations and is part of a new concept called "flexible format" stores that can be more tailored to the needs of each neighborhood. Three are already in Hyde Park, Streeterville and Lincoln Park.
Jones said Target had been "focused on [the] neighborhood for a while" and hoped to help fill a gap in one-stop shopping needs, like quick access to linens, clothes and grocery items.
The store is meant for people who live in the neighborhood, as an alternative to Target stores on Peterson and Wilson avenues and on Howard Street in Evanston.
The Rogers Park target would have a selection of food, apparel, home products and decor, heath and beauty products, items for kids and babies, wine and spirits, a Starbucks kiosk and in-store CVS pharmacy, Jones said.
Some residents questioned if those amenities were really necessary with two CVS stores just blocks away and a Starbucks across the street.
The store would hire about 40 people, possibly from nearby, she added.
The storefronts would be topped off with another six floors filled with 111 residential units ranging from 800-square-foot one-bedrooms with a single bathroom, to 1,000-square-foot two-bedrooms with two bathrooms.
The seniors' space that would be demolished and replaced if a Target is built. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
More groups speak out; mixed reaction
Seniors weren't the only group to speak out against the development Monday night.
Several groups came together to form a "united" coalition against the project.
Shaul Basa, co-owner of Devon Market, said though relatively few large chain retailers are found in the area, the few that have opened have negatively affected his independent business — including a full-size Target store 1½ miles away.
“I've been here, and the market's been here for close to 20 years, and the Target that opened on Peterson hurt us already," Basa said. "If it opened closer, it would kill us completely."
However Keith Lord, a longtime Rogers Park resident, said he supported the Target and didn't think there would be much of a crossover of items.
"I wish it could open tomorrow. It can't come fast enough," he said.
Amy Miller, of the Magnolia Block Club, said aside from the noise, construction and traffic she and her neighbors feared, her group also stood with the seniors.
Bill Morton, president of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, said his group opposed the Target and more money would stay in the community if spent at locally owned businesses instead of large corporations.
Some residents asked why there weren't more affordable housing units if the land was owned by the CHA, while others applauded the notion that more of the 32,000 families on the CHA's waiting list would have access to affordable housing.
Before the project becomes a reality, Three Corners must get approval from the city's Plan Commission and the City Council.
Diana Liu of the CHA spoke with residents at Monday's meeting. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]