PORTAGE PARK — A plan to include senior housing in a development that will replace the huge Bank of America building in the historic Six Corners area is drawing criticism from some neighbors who claim seniors don’t have the income to revive the business district.
“A senior building in this location would not spur economic development in this area or attract the type of retailers we wish to bring here,” reads a Facebook event page created by an organization called Six Corners Neighbors. “We support Senior Citizen housing but this is the wrong time and place for this.”
The development, dubbed The Point at Six Corners, has been an empty hole in the ground since 2016. Residents will be able to review and comment on the latest plans for the space on at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Owen Brugh, chief of staff for Ald. Arena, wants to dispel the idea that there’s no disposable income among seniors. He also pointed out that the residential part of the development plan would provide 100 full time-equivalent jobs, which will lead to people buying lunch and breakfast in the area.
“And this proposal is just one small piece of what’s happening around Six Corners,” Brugh said. “We also have the Sears parcel and the People’s Gas site—which they’re moving out of in the next two to three years. Both are large sites and have a large potential to do a variety of things in the next few years.”
The latest proposal that will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting comes from Ryan Companies US and Clark Street Real Estate. It includes 50,000 square feet of retail space along Milwaukee and Irving Park, 265 market rate senior units and 237 parking spaces, according to Ald. Arena’s 45th Ward Facebook page. The north end of the development would be 10 stories tall and the south end would be one story tall, according to plans.
The proposal also includes a public plaza along Milwaukee Avenue and a “pedestrian connection” between Milwaukee and Irving Park. An Aldi grocery store will anchor the building.
The senior living community will offer amenities and programs for residents, and will offer three residential care levels: independent living, assisted living, and memory care.
In 2014, Clark Street Development paid more than $10 million for both the 140,000-square-foot triangular property that at the time was the location of a Bank of America building and the one-acre parking lot in the 3900 block of Milwaukee Avenue.
The redevelopment was part of a 2013 master plan to make the Six Corners Shopping District more dense and included a push to make the area more pedestrian friendly and the creation of a four- or five-story building at the former Bank of America site.
A petition against the plan started by resident Mark Johnson says senior housing is the wrong move.
“In areas that are struggling with economic development, you bring in younger generations who have disposable income and no children; who will also walk to the trains and use public transportation; who will shop, eat and play in our community and then hopefully years later plant their roots in a nearby home to raise their families,” the petition reads.