ALBANY PARK — The fallout from a developer’s Facebook post saying “we need to recruit snipers” amid looting and social unrest in Chicago continued this week as an alderman said she is rejecting his brother’s plans to build in Albany Park.
Last week, developer Armand Candea abruptly withdrew plans for an apartment building with a clock tower in Andersonville. The retreat came soon after neighbors opposed to the project circulated Candea’s Facebook post, which has since been edited.
Now, Candea’s brother, Alan, is being turned away by a different alderman. Alan and Armand Candea work for Candea Development.
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) issued a letter Thursday denying Alan Candea’s request to build a five-story apartment building in Albany Park.
Rodriguez’s denial came after neighbors complained about the project and four days after news of the controversial Facebook posts spread.
Alan Candea needed a zoning change to build a transit-oriented development featuring 6,100 square feet of first floor retail space, 59 studio and one-bedroom apartments and a 31-space parking garage at 2924 W. Montrose Ave., according to plans submitted to Rodriguez’s office for review.
More than 80 percent of the feedback from over 200 neighbors who contacted Rodriguez’s office complained the proposed building was too tall, didn’t have enough parking and didn’t have enough affordable units, among other things, according to the alderman’s office.
This was enough for Rodriguez to deny the project — but then she learned about Armand Candea’s online behavior from Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
“Later, of course, we learned about what happened in Andersonville with the developer and it, of course, was really concerning that we would be going through a zoning process and in a relationship with that particular developer,” Rodriguez said during Monday’s Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association meeting.
The withdrawal of Armand Candea’s Andersonville plan followed a contentious online public meeting where Armand Candea sparred with residents who demanded more affordable units in his proposed clock tower building.
During that meeting, a participant posted a Facebook post from Armand Candea that shows a photo of Chicago Police in riot gear with a caption that reads: “The city needs to unite. We need to recruit snipers. These people are from Joliet and Indiana. You aren’t even from here. F— you!”
Osterman said Armand Candea’s post about recruiting snipers amid the city’s civil unrest does “not reflect my own views, nor the values of” Andersonville and that he was “angered and appalled” by the posts.
Rodriguez said she spoke to Alan Candea about his brother’s online behavior after it was brought to her attention.
“He said the person engaged in all that behavior and language was his brother and that they were trying to break up,” Rodriguez said. “But, you know, at that point there is already a reputation for the business and I felt really uncomfortable with the whole proposal, so we decided to deny the zoning change.”
Alan Candea owns the property at 2924 W. Montrose Ave., which consists of a parking lot and Paradise Spa & Sauna.
Rodriguez told neighbors she did not yet know what the developer planned to do with the property now that the zoning request was denied.
Alan Candea told Block Club his brother is not involved with the project on Montrose and the proposal Rodriguez denied is one he and his wife, Colette Candea, are working on independently of Candea Development.
“As for Armand Candea, he is not and never has been a part of the Montrose project. I have read his statements on social media and I do not agree or condone with what he posted,” Alan Candea said.
Armand Candea confirmed to Block Club he’s not involved in his brother’s Albany Park project and Alan Candea is not involved in any way with the Andersonville project he withdrew last week.
Armand Candea said he made his online comments when he was “caught up in the moment” but apologized and admitted that’s not an excuse for what he said.
“It has been disheartening to see my private conduct taken out on [Alan]. I hope everyone can understand that while we share a last name, we are individuals with our own beliefs, stances and expressions,” Armand Candea said.
Alan Candea said he is going back to the drawing board on his plans for the 2924 W. Montrose Ave. property now that the proposal was denied.
Rob Lott, a neighbor who attended Monday’s meeting, said he understands why Rodriguez denied Candea’s application but was worried about losing out on this project’s potential to add density to the neighborhood.
“We definitely are not running low on people who are wanting to come to our ward, and there are several projects that we will be posting soon,” Rodriguez said.
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