LOGAN SQUARE — A plan to build a 100-percent affordable housing project and a public park on a massive site at the westernmost end of The 606 has emerged.
The Trust for Public Land, the private partner tapped by the Chicago Park District to help oversee The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail, owns the four-and-half-acre Magid Glove Factory site at 1800 N. Ridgeway Ave., which is situated next to the westernmost trail head.
The agency is looking to sell the land to the city with the goal of building at least 150 units of affordable housing and a park there, according Ald. Roberto Maldonado, whose 26th Ward includes the site. That number could go up if it’s determined the site can handle more density, he added.
If realized, the project would be a partnership between the Trust for Public Land and the city.
“The Trust for Public Land is working to create a neighborhood park at the west gateway to The 606, which will fulfill a commitment that we made along with our partners at the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District,” a spokesman for the Trust for Public Land said in a written statement.
“The Trust for Public Land seeks to address concerns about neighborhood displacement and bring more affordable housing to the area. We are excited to work with the community to create a great project that brings both much-needed public park space and affordable housing to the Logan Square community.”
The project has the unwavering support of Maldonado, whose backing is needed to build the project.
“All we see around The 606, in terms of new construction, is construction of market-rate housing,” he said. “Don’t working families have the right to also enjoy living in new affordable units near The 606?”
He added: “This project, along with other affordable housing initiatives — that will be my legacy as alderman.”
Maldonado said the Trust for Public Land approached him about the plan about eight months ago.
Prior to that, Maldonado said there was a plan, drawn up by the Chicago Park District and a private donor, to build an indoor soccer field on the land, but he rejected the idea, saying the area already has a soccer field at Marine Leadership Academy. The aldermen said he then pushed for an indoor baseball field to be built instead, but the conversations ended up fizzling out.
The current plan is still a long way from coming to fruition.
The next step, Maldonado said, is for the city to buy the land. The sale agreement needs approval from the Community Development Commission and the full City Council, which is expected to happen in the coming months. Then the city needs to secure financing. Maldonado said public money like tax credits and Tax Increment Finance dollars will likely make up a lot of the funding. The land sits in the Pulaski Corridor TIF district, he said.
TIF districts capture all growth in the property tax base in a designated area for a set period of time, usually 20 years or more, and divert it into a special fund for projects designed to spur redevelopment and eradicate blight.
Maldonado said he’s “super committed” to seeing the project through.
The factory buildings, which Maldonado said have been vacant for at least a decade, sit in the middle of four gentrifying communities: Logan Square, Humboldt Park, West Humboldt Park and Hermosa.
“This [project] could be a huge stabilizer,” he said, adding that it would allow “150 families to stay in our community, in a community that they have called home for so many decades.”
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