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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

606 Luxury Apartment Plan Shrinks, But Neighbors Still Worry About Packed Trains, Lack Of Parking

Seven more parking spaces isn't enough for some residents, who said the Blue Line is already at capacity and parking is impossible.

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LOGAN SQUARE — The developer behind a proposed luxury apartment project along The 606 at the Logan Square/Bucktown border has made slight changes to the proposal in response to community feedback — but some residents said the changes aren’t enough to win their support.

Mitch Goltz, principal of GW Properties, pitched the amended development to about 25 neighbors at the second community meeting held Wednesday evening at The Joinery, 2533 W. Homer St.

Goltz and his team need a zoning change to build the project, which calls for a seven-story building at 1750 N. Western Ave. — currently the site of a car wash, gas station and a small strip mall. The plan calls for 123 luxury apartments, a 42-spot parking garage on the first floor and retail on the second floor.

Of the 123 apartments, 15 of them would be reserved as affordable housing units, as required by the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance Milwaukee Avenue pilot program. Several town houses would be built on the Artesian Avenue side to the west.

Goltz and his team made slight changes to the project, since it was first announced in March. They added seven parking spots, subtracted four apartments and modified the facade so the building is more set back from the street.

“I love density and we live in the city, but I don’t think it’s responsible if we don’t have the infrastructure to support it.”

resident bridget ryan

But the overall idea — that it would be the first development “integrated” into the trail — hasn’t changed. If built, trail users would be able to access the building’s public bathroom and retail shops from a ramp off The 606.

“We think this is a great time to be offering these type of amenities off the trail,” Goltz told neighbors. “We believe [these types of amenities] will continue, especially with discussions about extending the trail east.”

Most neighbors who spoke during public comment opposed the project, saying it lacks enough parking spots to accommodate for the influx of new residents and existing ones.

Credit: Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
Before (left) and after (right) renderings of the proposed project, at 1750 N. Western Ave.

“I work there everyday. There’s no parking,” said Denise Zaccardi, who runs the nonprofit Community TV Network in a building near the site.

“You’re just adding so many people and so many things,” she said, adding that her son and his friends live nearby and each of them has their own car.

Another resident, who declined to provide his name, posed a question to the development team that elicited some laughs.

“We’re now adding 120 potential households. … That means we’re still going to be short over 50 spots. It would be fantastic if you guys could meet me out there, maybe 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m., and show me those 50 spots,” he said.

“That would be great. And if not … I don’t want to ask anything unreasonable of you. But then, isn’t it unreasonable to ask us to look for those 50 spots every night for the rest of our lives?”

Bridget Ryan, 30, who lives across the street from the site, said she’s worried about the impact the project — and others like it — will have on the already-congested Blue Line.

“Is it a reasonable development, given the fact that God knows what the [Blue Line] projections are?” Ryan asked.

“There’s nothing more frustrating when you can’t get on the Blue Line. I love density and we live in the city, but I don’t think it’s responsible if we don’t have the infrastructure to support it,” she added.

Sara Barnes, zoning attorney for the development team, acknowledged that the Blue Line crush is real, but said the CTA is looking to make improvements to the line in 2020, which is when the project would be complete.

“I’m confident in the city that they’ll make accommodations for added density,” Barnes said.

Raymond Valadez, chief of staff for Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), whose ward includes the site, said his office is talking with community groups about imposing a moratorium on transit-oriented developments in the 1st Ward specifically because of the Blue Line congestion.

A couple residents at the meeting spoke in favor of the project. One of them called it a “forward-looking” proposal — not just because of the integration into the trail, but also because it’s designed for people who primarily get around by public transit or bike.

As is the case with every community review process, Valadez said he will take the feedback back to the alderman, who will then decide whether to grant his support for the zoning change. The project is still several steps away from approval.