ROGERS PARK — Tensions erupted Downtown at a CHA board meeting Tuesday in which officials approved $1.25 million in funds for an apartment complex and mini-Target store slated for Sheridan Road and Devon Avenue in Rogers Park.
The funds go toward a "public-private partnership" between the CHA and 1300 W. Devon Partners LLC — a corporation managed by Madison Construction CEO Robert Ferrino. Madison has been tapped as the general contractor for the mixed-use development.
Christopher Woods, president of developer Three Corners Development, said the passionate opposition was "understandable" but he told the board the proposal will ultimately benefit the seniors and the community at large.
"The goal of this flexible Target is to create an enhancement of the community, a localization of what currently is not present in the community in terms of retail," Woods said.
Woods and Lori Jones, a Target representative who also spoke at the meeting, both said Target would not hurt small neighborhood businesses. Jones said the store was meant to be for a "quick trip, versus a stock-up trip."
Opponents of the development — including community members, religious and business leaders, Loyola students and seniors at the Caroline Hedger Apartments, who use the space where the project is proposed to go — called the measure "shameful" after it was unanimously approved by the board.
Protesters chanted, "People over profit!"
One yelled, "F--- you!" to the board of commissioners as about a dozen were ushered out of the room by security.
Bill Morton, president of Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, said some businesses, like Devon Market, worried about Target's grocery department — which will account for about 25 percent of the store.
Christopher Woods, president of Three Corners Development, said the Target is meant to "enhance" the neighborhood, not take away from it. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
John Quirk, a resident at the senior housing building, said he was "disappointed" but not deterred by the outcome.
Stopping the development, in particular the Target, is an "impossible dream," he said.
The group has held numerous news conferences to publicly speak out against the venture, including on Tuesday outside the CHA building before the meeting.
"We'll persevere," Quirk said.
Vivien Tsou, an organizer with ONE Northside, said her organization planned to regroup in a week when it's set to meet with 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore to discuss the future of the project.
Before the project becomes a reality, Three Corners must get approval from the city's Plan Commission and the City Council.
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 "flexible format" Target — about a tenth of 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.
Opponents said they were in favor of more affordable housing in the neighborhood, as did the majority of 49th Ward residents who spoke at a recent community meeting on the project, but they did not believe there was a need for the Target.
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.
Stephanie Hayes, a senior at the Caroline Hedger Apartments, spoke out against the development at a Board of Commissioners meeting for the Chicago Housing Authority Tuesday morning. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
Among the biggest concerns from opponents have been the noise and congestion of construction, worries over limited alley access for residents who live behind the development, the safety and convenience of underground parking, private corporations utilizing CHA-owned land and the new community center Caroline Hedger residents will get as part of the plan.
Residents have advocated for a ground-floor garden similar to what they once had at the building. The new proposal offers a rooftop space with planters.
Stephanie Hayes said residents who lived at the building were scared of being underground in the parking garage, which will be shared by apartment tenants, Target customers and Caroline Hedger seniors.
Woods said a security guard will be on patrol, and the garage will help shelter drivers from the elements, such as snow in the winter. It will also provide more parking than now exist for seniors, Woods said.
Morton said he and others felt the point has been made that they are opposed to the Target despite the board's ruling.
Before the meeting, Morton said a man passed out pro-development fliers from Moore's office that separated "rumor vs. reality" when it came to information on the project.
In that flier, Moore said he is "still considering" whether or not to support the project at City Hall — a decision that will carry strong weight with Council.
"They must be afraid we have some momentum," Morton said.