NOBLE SQUARE — City Council approved a 14-unit, 4-story apartment building in Noble Square on Wednesday, placing another high-density residential project within close proximity to the Division Blue Line CTA stop.
The complex at 1162-64 N. Milwaukee Ave. will include 18 bike parking spaces but no parking lot for cars.
Because of its proximity to public transportation, the project qualified for transit-oriented development status. That means developer Mark Sutherland can forego the typically required on-site parking.
Neighborhood leaders with the Eckhart Park Community Council approved the proposal in early 2019, 2nd Ward staffer John Geahan said. City Council first reviewed the project last summer.
Sutherland is also the developer behind the 40-unit Wicker Park Apartments, 1515-17 W. Haddon Ave. He owns 36 buildings with more than 300 residential units and 20 retail storefronts across Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, East Ukrainian Village and Noble Square, according to the company’s website.
While this project received approval from Noble Square neighbors, Wicker Park neighbors on the west side of Ashland Avenue have been leery to approve transit-oriented developments.
Neighbors have asked leaders to slow or halt the approval of these projects, saying they are a major factor in overcrowding on the CTA Blue Line, something the city has been working to address.
A 2017 analysis of average weekday Blue Line ridership between July 2002 and July 2017 found ridership skyrocketed; ridership increased by 29 percent at the Damen Avenue stop and 54 percent at the Division Avenue stop. The CTA is pursuing system upgrades to help boost service.
Passed in 2015, the city’s transit-oriented development ordinance encourages developers to construct housing near CTA and Metra rail stations by allowing taller and denser projects requiring fewer parking spaces than buildings not located near rail stations.
Such projects can lower the cost of living and help the environment by reducing people’s reliance on cars. But historically, transit-oriented development has benefited more affluent communities.
The Division CTA Blue Line stop has recently attracted a 33-unit building at 1624 W. Division St., a 15-story, 140-unit tower art 1640 W. Division St. and a 43-condo and 12-townhome project at 1650 W. Division St.
Another building, a 16-story, 168-unit development at 1624 W. Division St., has yet to be built. Neighbors have asked Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) to kill the project before developer Robert Mosky could begin construction.
Neighbor Andrew Wasserman, who had lived near the Division stop for seven years, told Block Club last year his commute downtown was “unrecognizable” compared to before the construction of these big projects.
“Either I get up and go to work at 7:20 a.m., or I wait and go in after 10,” he said. “Sometimes the most stressful time of my day [will] be getting on the train”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.