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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Heartland Cafe Apartment Project Won’t Get Zoning Change — So Developer Is Killing Affordable Units

New Ald. Maria Hadden said she won't support a request to allow a larger building than the current zoning calls for. The developer, as a result, said he can't afford to put affordable units in it.

A rendering of the apartment building proposed for the site of the now demolished Heartland Cafe, right.
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ROGERS PARK — New Rogers Park Ald. Maria Hadden said Wednesday she won’t support a zoning change for a six-story building at the site of the old Heartland Cafe, a decision that doesn’t stop the project but will kill a plan to add affordable housing in the building, the developer told Block Club Chicago.

Hadden (49th) said she decided to oppose the zoning change based on community feedback. Allowing the developer to build a taller building than the site currently allows would change the character of the area too much for too little in return, she said.

“After several meetings with the developer, our community input process, and much consultation with local and city zoning and planning experts, I have decided not to support the zoning change request for the development at 7000 N. Glenwood,” Hadden said in a statement Thursday.

Developer Sam Goldman proposed building a 70-foot-high, six-story apartment building with 60 units at 7000 N. Glenwood Ave. Without a zoning change, he said he can only build a 65-foot building with a smaller footprint, allowing for 30-40 units to be built at the site.

The initial plan called for six of the units to be affordable housing units. That’s the minimum required under the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which calls for 10 percent affordable units. Goldman could have built four units off site, but committed to doing all six in the building and keeping them affordable for 30 years.

But without a zoning change, he won’t be required by the city to build affordable housing. Facing decreased density, Goldman said he’s now removing the affordable units from the plan so the project can remain profitable.

Goldman bought the property in January after the Heartland Cafe, a beloved neighborhood institution, closed for good. The cafe was demolished in April.

Goldman requested a zoning change that would have allowed him to increase the height of the proposed building and increase the number of required parking spaces on site.

At a community meeting, some neighbors spoke out against the building’s proposed height and wanted the building to include more affordable units.

After speaking with officials in the city’s planning department, Hadden and her team determined that allowing the zoning change would set a precedent that could alter the character of the area, said Leslie Perkins, Hadden’s chief of staff.

Perkins said Hadden is working on developing a plan to address affordable housing in the ward in a sustainable way that “would look at the issue more holistically.”

Read Hadden’s full statement here:

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