LOGAN SQUARE — The owner of the old Pierre's Bakery on Milwaukee Avenue wants to redevelop the site and build a mixed-use development in its place.
But Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) is prepared to block the project if the developer doesn't agree to reserve some apartments as affordable housing.
Mike Fox of R.P. Fox & Associates, the developer who is responsible for renovating the Goldblatt's building at Milwaukee, Diversey and Kimball avenues, owns the site at 2747 N. Milwaukee Ave.
His proposal calls for 60 apartments, a mix of one- and two-bedrooms, as well as ground-floor retail, Ramirez-Rosa said. It's unclear how much rents would be. Ramirez-Rosa deferred further questions to Fox, who didn't immediately return a message late Thursday.
The pastel pink building has sat mostly empty since Pierre's closed in 2013. Over the last few years, it has become the home of the Logan Square Farmers Market during winter months.
Fox is planning to build within current zoning parameters, which means the project doesn't require the support of Ramirez-Rosa or the community.
But the alderman, driven by what he described as a desire to "keep Logan Square eclectic and diverse," recently introduced an ordinance that would change the zoning on the site and essentially block the project.
The alderman is hoping it doesn't come to that. He said he's met with the developer twice and the two have had "good conversations." But as of their last meeting, the developer still hadn't reserved any apartments as affordable housing.
Fox isn't required to include affordable housing: The city's affordable requirements ordinance doesn't apply to his project because it's not on city land and doesn't require new zoning or financial assistance from the city.
"Even with the existing zoning, I'm hopeful he'll do the right thing," the alderman said.
When asked if he was sending a message to Fox by changing the zoning on the property he said, "You could say that, yeah."
Ramirez-Rosa also recently introduced an ordinance that would change the zoning of the 2700 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, an entire block of commercial real estate that is now up for sale and ripe for development.
The block, which has been owned by Barbara and Victor Diaz for 30 years, could fetch $30 million, according to Crain's.
Ramirez-Rosa said he decided to change the zoning of the block after receiving feedback from influential neighborhood groups — Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Logan Square Preservation and United Neighbors of the 35th Ward — not because there's a specific development proposal in the works.
In fact, he said he's received zero proposals from developers looking to redevelop the block.
When asked what he'd like to see built there, Ramirez-Rosa said the process would be "governed by a community process" that puts the community first.