HUMBOLDT PARK — A plan to bring an arts building with 45 units of affordable housing and a ground-floor theater to Humboldt Park’s Paseo Boricua got one step closer to reality Monday.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an ordinance to allocate an additional $6 million in tax-exempt housing bonds toward the long-discussed project at 2709-15 W. Division St., according to a city news release.
The previous ordinance capped borrowing at $6 million. This new ordinance essentially doubles that, meaning the developer will be eligible to borrow up to $12 million to build the project.
It’s welcome news to Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), who has been championing the project for years. The building will be called the Nancy Y. Franco Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building after Maldonado’s late wife, Nancy.
Maldonado said in a statement his wife conceived of the project and envisioned it as “not only creative space, but needed housing for artists and their families.”
“Our arts and culture are vital aspects of our community, and our local artists have been long anticipating the realization of this arts building,” the alderman said.
Maldonado’s chief of staff, Kathleen Oskandy, said the alderman declined further comment beyond the prepared statement. Oskandy did not answer a follow-up question regarding next steps.
The project will bring a five-story mixed-use building to Paseo Boricua, a stretch of Division Street known as the heart of Humboldt Park’s Puerto Rican community.
The ground floor will house two commercial/retail spaces and a theater that will be leased by a local theater group, according to the city.
Twenty-four apartments — all reserved for people earning 30-60 percent of the area median income — will take up the three upper floors, the city said. The apartments will be marketed toward artists and their families.
It’s unclear when construction might begin. The developer behind the project, suburban-based Brinshore, didn’t return a message seeking comment Monday.
In 2018, the city’s Community Development Commission approved allocating $4.25 million in tax-increment finance dollars toward the project.
But the project first surfaced years earlier in 2014 as part of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s plan to preserve and support the Puerto Rican community in Humboldt Park.
The site was previously home to the Ashland Sausage Company.
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