AVONDALE — Controversial plans to turn the residential portion of "The Fields" development into a high-density studio project received unanimous approval from Plan Commission Thursday.
The apartments are part of the massive development taking over the old Marshall Field's warehouse at 4000 W. Diversey Ave. Other components of the project, including the Cermak Fresh Market grocery store, are finished. The apartment proposal will next be considered by the full City Council.
It's the second Plan Commission go-around for developer Paul Fishbein of 4K Diversey Partners. Fishbein's new proposal is more dense and more studio-heavy than the original plan, which called for 84 live/work apartments with a more diverse mix of apartment sizes.
Under the new proposal, the project will offer 120 apartments, including 63 studios, 39 one-bedrooms and 18 two-bedrooms. The average apartment will be 750 square feet, down from an average of 1,100 square feet. The smallest apartments will be 550 square feet.
"There is no demand in the market for two- and three-bedroom units. Whoever is saying that's what they're looking for ... that's not factual," Fishbein previously said.
The comment sparked outcry from some neighbors who argue the tiny units won't cater to the many families who need housing in Avondale and the surrounding communities. Youth leaders with the neighborhood group Logan Square Neighborhood Association led a march through the streets, calling for more transparency in the 31st Ward.
Ald. Milly Santiago (31st) told DNAinfo Chicago that she supported the new proposal, mainly because the developer agreed to meet the city's requirement for affordable housing — and build all of the units on site.
Of the 120 apartments, 12 will be reserved as on-site affordable housing, which Santiago called a "victory."
"I would support it because, after all, I was able to get the units I had demanded," the alderman previously said. "One-hundred twenty new apartments in the ward is better than zero. This is just the beginning."