CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday that Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) “overstates his ability” to block The Point at Six Corners, a huge development proposed for the busy intersection of Cicero Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road.
Gardiner announced Friday that he opposed the updated plans for the Point at Six Corners development, which would include a 10-story complex with 103 independent living apartments, 148 assisted living and memory care apartment, 10 on-site affordable housing apartments and 215 off-street parking spaces.
“Based upon community feedback received through a multitude of forums over the course of several months, I am unable to support the current proposal,” Gardiner said in a Friday afternoon newsletter. “Going forward, I am eager to work towards identifying compromises that bring in new investments to Six Corners and better resemble guidelines set forth by the Six Corners Economic Development Master Plan.”
Lightfoot’s brief remarks indicate that the brewing dispute over the $130 million project in the heart of what was once the city’s premiere shopping district, but is now pockmarked with empty storefronts, may become the latest flashpoint in the mayor’s battle to roll back so-called “aldermanic prerogative” and build more affordable housing.
During her campaign, Lightfoot vowed to end the practice of allowing aldermen the final say on projects in their ward as part of an effort to root out corruption and make Chicago more equitable.
Critics of the largely unwritten policy contend it has fostered racism and gentrification in Chicago.
Lightfoot, whose first act as mayor was to issue an executive order rolling back aldermanic prerogative when it comes to licenses and permits, has also promised changes to the city’s zoning code — which would strike at the heart of aldermanic power over developments like the one at Six Corners.
In April, former Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) blocked a vote by the City Council’s Zoning Committee by calling for quorum vote at the request of Gardiner, who was then the alderman-elect after defeating Ald. John Arena (45th).
Arena had championed the project, proposed by the developer Ryan Companies, which also includes an Aldi grocery store and public plaza.
During that meeting, Gardiner sat with opponents of the project who told aldermen it needed to be made more affordable for residents of Portage Park.
Ryan Companies had not initially planned to set aside units as part of the development for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans, but the firm did so at Gardiner’s request when he asked them to revise the plans.
Gardiner did not return a phone message from The Daily Line seeking a response to Lightfoot’s comments.
Block Club Chicago’s Alex V. Hernandez contributed to this report.
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