LOGAN SQUARE — Plans to build a controversial "micro-apartment" luxury development near the California Blue Line are moving forward after the developer closed on the properties this week.
Enrico Plati, founding principal of Savoy Development, officially bought the properties, 2342-48 N. California Ave., Tuesday, which means work on the long-stalled project can finally begin, according to Plati and the landlord, Francisco Macias.
The developer said crews will start the cleanup process within the next few days before demolishing everything on the site, including the shuttered car wash and six-unit apartment building, and then begin construction in late May or June.
It's welcome news for both Plati and Macias, who were tangled in a conflict with the tenants who were being evicted and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), who at one point threatened to pull his support for the development if the conflict did not get resolved.
"It feels outstanding. I thought this day would never come," Macias said.
Plati agreed, saying "I think everybody is satisfied with the solution, including the tenants I hope. I think it's good for everybody."
Macias said he is planing to use the money from the sale — a figure both he and Plati declined to disclose — on investment properties in the neighborhood. He's currently eyeing three properties that he plans to fix up and rent out for "mid-range" rents.
Plati's project calls for 138 "micro-apartments," including $1,200 studios offering an average of 439 square feet of space and $1,400 one-bedrooms offering an average of 537 square feet of space.
The original plan for the site was to build 52 units, but after receiving approval by the city's Plan Commission in March 2015, the developer came back to the community with an expanded plan for the now 138-unit project.
The eviction battle started in September 2016, when the remaining three families living on the site vowed to fight the project, arguing that it's impossible to find replacement affordable housing in the neighborhood.
It dragged on when tenant organizers took issue with the move-out date and Macias refused to comply with their demands. Moreno then stepped in and said he would block the development from happening if an agreement was not reached.
Later that month, the tenants and Macias reached a final agreement and Moreno withdrew his threat.
Reflecting on the years-long struggle, Macias said, "I'm sad about how everything took place. My intention was never to make families suffer."