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A New Housing Complex Could Be Coming To Auburn Gresham. Here’s How To Weigh In With Feedback

The $20 million development, part of the city's INVEST South/West program, would bring 56 units of affordable housing to 79th Street.

An artist's rendering of the community garden for Auburn Gardens, an affordable housing development in the works for Auburn Gresham.
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AUBURN GRESHAM — Developers want to bring 56 units of affordable housing along 79th Street in Auburn Gresham, and city leaders want public input.

Auburn Gardens is a $20 million, retail and residential development planned for city-owned vacant land at 838-58 W. 79th St. It would be across the street from a healthy living center currently under construction. That project won the $10 million Chicago Prize last year.

Evergreen Imagine JV, LLC, a joint venture between the Imagine Group and Evergreen Redevelopment, is behind the project and presented details at a community meeting Thursday.

The project is part of the city’s INVEST South/West initiative. In Auburn Gresham, the city’s efforts are focused on revitalizing the 79th Street Corridor. The city put out a request for proposals for the 23,000-square-foot site near 79th and Halsted last fall.

The team behind Auburn Gardens was the only group to submit a proposal, city officials confirmed.

An online survey is available now through Jan. 29 to allow residents to vote on aspects of the proposal and share feedback.

An aerial shot of the parcel of land where Auburn Gardens would be built.

The building would be a combination of street-level retail and 56 rental units, with 16 one-bedroom apartments and 40 two- and three- bedroom apartments. The plans also include a parking lot, a children’s playground and community garden.

The apartments would be for renters who earn at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Single adults with an annual income of $38,000 and families making less than $49,000 would qualify.

Developers said they hope the affordable housing could capitalize on the healthy living hub, which also received funding through INVEST South/West, and spur more development along 79th.

“We propose that these homes are the first phase of a larger initiative to provide quality retail, office and live/work spaces as well as housing on the available parcels on 79th,” said Carol Ross Barney, founding principal of Ross Barney Architects, which is part of the development team.

An artist’s rendering of the community garden for Auburn Gardens, an affordable housing development in the works for Auburn Gresham.

M Lounge Owners Reginald and MaryAnn Marsh and The Sports Shed — a nonprofit sports equipment reseller — have both expressed interest in opening locations on site, said Imagine Group Founder and Principal Tony Barrett.

Auburn Gardens is designed with equity and inclusion in mind, with several minority- and women-owned companies involved at every stage, including Ross Barney Architects, Nia Architects and CMA Construction Group. And there will be opportunities for other business owners and entrepreneurs in the area to get involved as well, Barrett said.

The city will announce a decision on the bid Feb. 25.

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