AVONDALE — At least three developers are vying for city approval to build projects along a 1-mile stretch of Elston Avenue in Avondale.
Richard Norton of Reinventive Real Estate is behind the largest proposal: A 40-unit apartment complex with ground-floor retail at 2820 N. Elston Ave.
The site is home to a one-story warehouse and two vacant lots. Visceral Dance Center was operating out of the warehouse for several years, but has found a new location and plans to move out, Norton said. Visceral Dance Center’s owner didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
“I consider that Elston, Diversey and Western corner to be a transition point between a number of different neighborhoods … it’s a great opportunity to create a project that can, at some level, say, ‘Welcome to Avondale,'” Norton said.
Norton’s proposal is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments renting for $1,670 to $3,155 a month, according to 33rd Ward planning documents. Of the 40 apartments, 25 percent would be reserved as affordable, slightly more than the 20 percent required under the city’s transit-oriented development ordinance.
Norton said he plans to incorporate a mural on the south-facing wall of the building, along with a vertical garden. Retail rents would be half the market value so as to attract mom-and-pop shops and nonprofits — businesses that typically can’t afford higher rents, Norton said.
“There’s an opportunity to really have something valuable, rather than a top price commercial space that may or may not attract anyone for months or years,” the developer said.
Norton needs a zoning change from Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez (33rd) to make the project a reality. The developer is in the process of setting up a community meeting with Rodríguez-Sánchez’s office, where neighbors can weigh in. Neighbors are encouraged to submit feedback online. More information about the project can be found here.
A few blocks north, developer Seth Halpern with 907 Capital LLC wants to rehab an industrial building at 3319 N. Elston Ave. and bring in new retail tenants. The project also calls for 51 parking spots.
Halpern declined comment, but wrote in planning documents the project is meant to “make better use of existing space” and “continue revitalization of Elston Avenue in Avondale.”
Halpern is seeking a zoning change that allows for commercial use. The site is currently zoned for manufacturing. For more details on the project, go here. Neighbors can provide feedback on the project online ahead of a community meeting.
The third developer — Karolina Bak of 46 Beacon, LLC — is aiming to build a four-unit condo project at 3219 N. Elston Ave. Condos would be priced at $300,000, according to information provided to the alderperson’s office.
The condos would replace an “abandoned” two-story building that suffers from leaks, Bak told the alderman’s office. Bak didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. For more information on the project, go here.
The three Elston Avenue projects are the latest development proposals to hit Avondale, which is continuing to attract condos, apartments and retail projects, many on the smaller side. Some of those projects have drawn pushback from neighbors who worry they will accelerate gentrification-fueled displacement in the neighborhood.
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