LOGAN SQUARE — The parking lot next to the Logan Square Blue Line station is closing at the end of the month to make way for an all-affordable housing complex, a project that prevailed despite years of obstacles, including a neighbor-led lawsuit.
Nonprofit developer Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. has taken over the lot at 2602-38 N. Emmett St., which was previously owned by the city, and is building an 100-unit, seven-story affordable housing complex in its place. The complex will include about 4,300 square feet of retail space facing Kedzie Avenue.
The lot will permanently close Aug. 31. Construction on the housing complex is expected to begin on or after Sept. 10 and will last through Jan. 2022 at the earliest, according to Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who has championed the project. More construction details can be found in a FAQ posted to the alderman’s website.
Joy Aruguete, CEO of Bickerdike, said closing the parking lot “is the next step in making [the project] a reality.”
“This development project has faced many obstacles along the way, but we’re excited that this transit-oriented development will allow 100 families to live near public transportation, and call Logan Square home,” Aruguete said in an emailed statement.
The project has sparked fiery debates in the neighborhood since at least 2014, when the Metropolitan Planning Council led a “participatory planning process” to find better uses for the under-utilized parking lot.
Supporters have long seen the project as as an opportunity to bring much-needed affordable housing to the gentrifying neighborhood, while opponents have argued the lot should be used for a public amenity like a market.
This past spring, a group of Logan Square property owners filed a lawsuit against the developer and the city, arguing that replacing a parking lot with 100 subsidized apartments would cause them “irreparable injury.” But the lawsuit was dismissed in mid-June after a Cook County Circuit judge ruled that it lacked standing.
Amid the debates, Bickerdike embarked on a months-long, multi-layered approval process to secure the public funding needed to build the complex on city-owned land. The developer wound up unlocking $10.1 in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) dollars and $24 million in tax exempt bonds. It also received financing from the Chicago Housing Authority.
In total, the project is estimated to cost $40.1 million.
Under Bickerdike’s plan, about half of the units in the complex will be earmarked for Chicago Housing Authority voucher holders, and the other half will be targeted to people making less than 60 percent of area median income.
Leasing is expected to begin in late 2021, Aruguete said.
The area surrounding the Logan Square Blue Line station will be seeing a lot of construction in the months and years ahead. Not only is the complex being built on the parking lot site, but the station itself is undergoing a renovation as part of the massive square redesign project, another project that has been years in the making.
“CDOT has worked closely with Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation to coordinate planned construction and ensure there will be no conflicts,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
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