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12-Story Affordable Apartment Building In Edgewater Would Bring Family-Sized Units To North Side, Developer Says

Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation wants to turn a city-owned part of Edgewater into an all-affordable apartment complex.

Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation is seeking to build an all-affordable development at the Streets & San depot at 5853 N. Broadway.
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EDGEWATER — Plans for an all-affordable apartment development in Edgewater are coming into focus, with the developer and local alderman hoping the project addresses a lack of affordable units for families on the North Side.

Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation laid out on Tuesday its plans to turn a Streets and Sanitation depot at 5853 N. Broadway into a housing complex.

The proposal calls for a 12-story building holding as many as 94 apartments, with roughly an equal amount of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, said Bickerdike CEO Joy Aruguete.

The units would be earmarked for people making about 50-60 percent of the area’s median income, which for a family of four is about $46,600-$60,000, Aruguete said. One-bedrooms would start around $810 per month and three-bedrooms would max out at just less than $1,300 per month.

There would be 35 parking spaces. The development would be considered an equitable transit-oriented development due to its proximity to the Red Line, allowing for a reduction of the usual one-parking-spot-per-unit requirement.

Plans for the project are preliminary. Bickerdike is in the process of negotiating the sale of the depot with the city, said Ald. Harry Osterman (48th). The sale and city approval of the project could take a year, followed by another year to year-and-a-half for construction, he said.

The Bickerdike project would be the first all-affordable housing development in Edgewater in 40 years, Osterman said. It could help the city reduce the amount of land it owns while adding much-needed affordable and family-sized units to an area that’s seen increased development.

“I believe strongly in this project,” Osterman said at a community meeting Tuesday. “This will be an asset to our community and will be a solid development that will really provide needed housing for our community.”

Funding for the project has not yet been secured but will likely involve tax increment financing and low income housing tax credits, Aruguete said.

The development is the culmination of years of work to get more affordable housing in Edgewater, Osterman said.

The city in recent years has looked to sell off property as a means of generating revenue. At the same time, operations at the Streets and Sanitation depot on Broadway have been reduced and moved to other ward yards, including one on Ravenswood Avenue.

Those combination of factors made the property a good fit for an affordable development, Osterman, the chair of the city’s housing committee, said in a note to constituents.

Osterman reached out to Bickerdike to gauge its interest in the property. Bickerdike, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, is wrapping up construction on the Emmett Street Apartments, an all-affordable project built on a formerly city-owned parking lot near the Logan Square Blue Line station.

Recently, Bickerdike’s board voted to expand its service area from the larger Logan Square area to encompass much of the North Side as it seeks to help more communities battle issues like displacement.

“A lot of what’s being developed are smaller studio and one-bedroom units not for families,” Aruguete said at the meeting. “People [are] feeling increasingly squeezed in their neighborhoods.”

Around 90 community members came to a community meeting on the proposed development Tuesday, many of them involved in political or housing advocacy groups. Everyone who spoke at the meeting was in favor of the project and some asked that it include more units for extremely low income earners.

“Thank you for bringing this to our community,” Edgewater resident Rohini Dsilva said. “Denser housing like this also drives foot traffic which is great for retail and makes for vibrant neighborhoods.”

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