PILSEN — As construction crews work to finish a parking garage for the Mural Park development in Pilsen, some neighbors say are worried an influx of workers will cause more traffic and parking issues in the neighborhood.
Developers Condor Partners, Transwestern and Chicago Development Partners are rehabbing two warehouses at South Peoria and West Cullerton streets into offices and retail space. Construction on the second building at 920 W. Cullerton St. finished in October, according to Chicago YIMBY. Developers are now working to build a four-story parking garage on a vacant lot between South Peoria Street and South Jourdan Court.
The parking garage construction, which started last month, surprised some residents on the block, they said.
Michael McLean, principal at Condor Partners, said tenants in buildings neighboring the project were notified of the impending construction by mail.
But Dan Tollefson, who has lived in the area for two years, said he didn’t know about the project behind his home until he asked a construction worker about it.
“And we have no idea what the design might be,” said Tollefson, who said he’s concerned about the garage being an “eyesore.”
Alma Mora, who’s lived in her home on Peoria Street for nearly 22 years, said she also didn’t know about the construction project.
“It’s frustrating because [we feel like] there’s no one to talk to,” said Mora, whose home backs into the construction site.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward covers the Mural Park buildings but not the site of the proposed 38-foot-tall parking garage, said his office has received calls from some residents asking about the garage project.
The parking garage site on Jourdan Court is located in 11th Ward, formerly run by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, who resigned from his post after being convicted of federal tax fraud charges. Since there’s no alderman managing the ward at the moment, Sigcho-Lopez said he hasn’t been able to coordinate with the office to address constituent complaints.
Residents also said they’re unsure who will be able to use the parking garage as well as whether it will fit all the cars the two warehouses will bring.
Mora said it’s been difficult enough finding parking on her street lately with all the construction, and said she’s worried the Mural Park project will bring an influx of drivers who will take up street parking and cause congestion. She said Peoria Street doesn’t have permit parking for residents.
McLean confirmed Blue Cross Blue Shield’s parent company is leasing in Mural Park and plans to move in 400 employees, but the company hasn’t moved in yet. The 200-spot parking garage will be exclusively for them, McLean said.
“Without the garage, we couldn’t bring that type of investment to the community,” McLean said. “We believe it’ll be an asset to the neighborhood.”
McLean said he understands neighbors’ concerns about potential issues for traffic flow, and the developers worked with the Chicago Department of Transportation to study how a new traffic pattern could help the situation.
As a result, Jourdan Court will become a one-way street going south from 19th Street to Cullerton Street to direct drivers coming into the parking garage only from 19th Street, McLean said. He also said there will be a sidewalk with public street parking and a loading zone on South Jourdan Court.
In addition to the parking garage, Mural Park will have a shuttle bus that runs from nearby public transit stations to bring commuters to the building without them needing to find a place to park on the street, McLean said.
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