LINCON SQUARE — An affordable housing development proposed for the city-owned parking lot across from the Western Avenue Brown Line stop was not awarded $1.5 million in tax credits it hoped to use for the project.
But developers say they’ll try again amid some pushback from Lincoln Square neighbors who say they don’t want to lose valuable parking in the typically bustling retail district.
The Community Builders, a nonprofit development and property management firm, wants to build a six-story building at 4715 N. Western Ave., the parking lot that sits on the bend of Lincoln Avenue between Leland and Western.
The new building would include 42 to 44 affordable apartments and retail space.
Some neighbors who say they are fearful of losing parking near the heart of Lincoln Square have been posting flyers around the neighborhood and buying advertising space in local newspapers to spread information about the development for months. But some of the information isn’t accurate, including that the parking spots on the site will be lost for good.
“There has been a lot of misinformation out there,” said Will Woodley, Community Builders’ director of development. “But our current design concept has a one-for-one replacement of all public metered parking in that parking lot.”
The sustained misinformation campaign against the project has gotten so bad, Ald. Matt Martin (47th) released a statement last month both clarifying what the developer wants to build while also decrying the “falsehoods” being circulated to “mislead community members” about it.
Now, in addition to fighting that campaign, the developer’s timeline for the project has also been delayed. Community Builders found out Monday their application for the city’s highly competitive low-income housing tax credits was not approved.
“These tax credits are really scarce resources. We wish we’d been chosen this round but we plan to reapply once applications are open again next year,” Woodley said. “I’m optimistic we’ll eventually get the credits because our concept for that corner aligns with the city’s goals and the Lincoln Square Master Plan to increase density and ensure great neighborhoods remain affordable in Chicago.”
Josh Mark, director of development for Martin, said his office looks forward to getting feedback from the ward’s zoning advisory council, businesses, neighborhood associations and the public at community meetings once the developer applies for a zoning change.
“Developments like these are complex and typically require us to compete for those tax credits more than once,” Woodley said. “For example, Our Southbridge project had to apply twice. It’s now under construction. Our Aurora Arts Center project also had to apply twice and we successfully completed it last year.”
Below are a breakdown of the estimated rents and floor plans for the current version of the project.
• One third of the apartments, or 13 to 14 units, would be affordable to households earning between $50,000 and $71,000 in annual income. Rents for these apartments are estimated at $1,250 to $1,550 a month.
• One third of the apartments, or 15 to 16 units, would be affordable to households earning between $37,500 to $53,500 in annual income. Rents for these apartments are estimated at $950 to $1,150 a month.
• One third of the apartments, or 14 15 units, would be affordable to households earning between $19,000 to $27,000 in annual income. Rents for these apartments are estimated at between $450 and $550 a month.
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