LAKEVIEW — The CTA released new renderings of how a series of properties could look after the initial phase of the Red and Purple Modernization project is completed.
The CTA held a meeting Monday to discuss the renderings — which provide guidelines for development — as well as other details of the project that will modernize tracks and stations on both lines.
Here is what was discussed:
1. What is the Red and Purple Modernization project?
RPM Phase One, announced in 2014, will rebuild the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr rail stations and more than a mile of adjacent tracks as part of a long-term plan to rebuild the Red and Purple lines and stations between Belmont and Linden.
The project also includes the construction of a Red-Purple flyover where the Red, Brown and Purple lines intersect north of the Belmont station. The project is designed to improve reliability and increase capacity.
To make this project possible, CTA will acquire 16 buildings and a handful of vacant lots surrounding the flyover area. Some of these buildings and lots will become transit-oriented developments after the modernization project is completed.
Because of their proximity to public transportation, transit-oriented developments are allowed to offer far fewer parking spaces than the city would otherwise require for projects of their size.
The CTA received a $1.25 million federal grant as part of the Federal Transit Administration's pilot program for transit-oriented developments. The CTA matched the grant to the tune of $312,500.
From now through next year, preliminary work like engineering, utility relocation and property acquisition will be completed for phase one of the modernization project. Groundbreaking will take place at the end of next year, and construction will continue through the mid-2020s. After that, the nearby developments would get underway.
4. Development sites
The meeting covered various areas where redevelopment will occur. Based on feedback from the CTA's first community meeting in May, a list of principles and guidelines were created for each site. These guidelines will be shared with potential developers to encourage them to create projects the community wants to see.
Here's what's proposed:
Clark and Newport:
The CTA proposed wider sidewalks for the property at Clark and Newport, which is about a quarter-mile from Wrigley Field. If the Vautravers building, at 947-949 W. Newport Ave., is deemed sound enough, the historic building will be picked up and moved over to make room for the CTA work and subsequent development, which the CTA proposed to be a six-story building with about 30 residential units. It was suggested an emphasis be placed on developing within the scale and character of other nearby buildings.
3300 N. Clark St.
For the 3300 block of Clark, the proposal was to replace three parcels with one 200-foot-wide development with 30-35 residential units. The CTA recommended the development itself should not look like one monolithic structure.
The area at Roscoe Street could be one of the most unique development projects of the bunch, with suggestions from the CTA to transform multiple buildings into one structure. The tracks being built at this site will reduce the amount of space overall for the development, so it seems most likely that one building will be developed. But because the building is right against multiple tracks, the CTA suggested a bar, civic institution or cultural center rather than residential units. If homes are pursued, however, they should be built higher up to offer unobstructed views of Wrigleyville.
The focus at Wilton Avenue, a residential street, should be on building structures at least three stories high to block the planned flyover at the Belmont station, according to the CTA. The suggestion is to plan for a mix of residential options, including multifamily buildings, stacked flats and town homes.
Common themes for all residential developments are no on-site parking and the inclusion of affordable housing units.
5. The CTA's pull
The CTA does not have the final say over what happens to the sites, but the agency is creating a plan to encourage developers to propose projects that meet the community's goals.
One purpose of these meetings so early on is to get development projects off the ground as soon as possible after the first phase of the modernization project is complete, so lots and buildings don't sit empty for an extended period of time. The plans and guidelines will be shared with developers so they can get a head start on tackling the projects.
6. The next meeting
The third in this series of three community meetings on the project will take place in the spring or summer. During this meeting, the CTA will reveal final plan recommendations and discuss the next steps of the project.