LOGAN SQUARE — A plan to build an affordable housing complex and a park on a large site off The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail was recently awarded $1.5 million in federal tax credits.
It’s a step forward for the development proposal, but with so many facets of local government shut down amid the coronavirus crisis, it may take longer to get off the ground.
Latin United Community Housing, or LUCHA, is partnering with Evergreen Real Estate Group on the complex, which has been dubbed Encuentro Square.
The developers want to build a majority-affordable 74-apartment building with retail and a park on the four-and-half-acre Magid Glove Factory site at 3745 W. Cortland St., situated next to the westernmost trail head. Half of the site would be used for the complex, according to a city news release. The other half would be used for a park.
The Encuentro Square project was one of 11 projects to receive federal tax credits last week out of a pool of 43 applicants, according to the news release. If realized, the developments will create a total of 1,083 affordable housing units in neighborhoods across the city, from Woodlawn to Pilsen.
The city chose the Encuentro Square project because it sits in the middle of gentrifying neighborhoods — Logan Square, Humboldt Park, West Humboldt Park and Hermosa — in need of affordable housing. The Northwest Side project beat out projects like one proposed for the city-owned parking lot across from the Western Avenue Brown Line stop.
Charlene Andreas, LUCHA’s director of affordable housing, declined to provide more information. In an emailed statement, Andreas said while they are “honored” to receive tax credits, “the current situation has made it difficult for us to coordinate effectively with all of all our community partners, including the alderman’s office.”
“It is important to us to engage our community partners first and foremost in regards to this project. We expect to be sharing more information about the project once we have had an opportunity to begin that process with all of these partners.”
Ald. Roberto Maldonado, whose 26th Ward includes the site, didn’t respond to requests for comment. But in January 2019 the alderman told Block Club the project had his full support.
He said the project would be a “huge stabilizer” and allow “families to stay in our community, in a community that they have called home for so many decades.”
At that time, the project called for 150 apartments, all of them affordable. The current proposal calls for 74 apartments, 54 of them affordable, according to the city’s department of housing.
The project would replace the old glove factory buildings, which have sat vacant for at least a decade, according to Maldonado.
The site was being considered for an indoor soccer field and then an indoor baseball field, but neither plan materialized.
In February 2019, city commissioners approved the sale of the land to the city for redevelopment. The site was previously owned by the Trust for Public Land, the private partner tapped by the Chicago Park District to help oversee The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail.
The current plan is a long way from reality. The developers still need to secure more funding, including Tax Increment Finance (TIF) dollars. The land sits in the Pulaski Corridor TIF district.
The developers also need to win layers of approval in City Council. Under normal circumstances, affordable housing projects are difficult to pull off because they require a patchwork of funding. The pandemic and the economic fallout may make the process even more difficult.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.