NORTH LAWNDALE — A West Side police station parking lot will become dozens of affordable apartments.
City Council signed off Wednesday on the plans for a six-story affordable apartment building at 3201-3423 W. Ogden Ave. The Grace Manor Apartments development would include 65 units of apartments affordable at 60 percent of the area median income, as well as ground-level retail space.
The Ogden Avenue site is an underused parking lot for the nearby 10th District police station.
The apartments will be developed through a partnership between East Lake Management Corporation and Grace Memorial Church, which is based in the K-Town neighborhood of Lawndale.
The apartments were originally planned for a city-owned lot at 13th Street and Kedvale Avenue, near Grace Memorial Church in the K-Town neighborhood of Lawndale. Developers shifted their plans since the affordable apartments would benefit from other significant investments along the Ogden Avenue corridor, a historic economic engine of the West Side that has been a focal point for Lawndale’s recovery.
“For the last 20 years we’ve also lost a significant amount of property. We’re doing all we can to bring back affordability and bring back people into the ward,” said Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th).
Nearby amenities that could boost the impact of the affordable apartments include the Central Park CTA Pink Line station, the Farm on Ogden and the upcoming Lawndale Redefined development.
Building the Grace Manor apartments near the Lawndale Redefined project will “cluster developments that would be transformative and catalytic,” Scott said.
Lawndale Redefined is a $31 million plan to build a community arts and tech center, an affordable housing project and a grocery store with a rooftop bistro on vacant land at 3400 W. Ogden Ave. The project is part of the mayor’s INVEST South/West initiative to guide public and private dollars toward Black and Latino areas that haven’t historically gotten their fair share of investment.
“[The Grace Manor project] is right across the street from another INVEST South/West development and it is right around all the housing we are doing as it relates to Invest South/West,” Scott said.
There is a significant need for affordable and quality housing in Lawndale, Scott said. The lack of affordability has caused many legacy residents to leave the city in the past 25 years “because there were not affordable places to live,” Scott said.
Developers and city officials said the apartments match up with key priorities in the North Lawndale Quality of Life Plan, a community-driven blueprint to improve housing, education, safety and other issues in the neighborhood, said Brian Hacker, a planner for the city’s development department.
“This aligns nicely with the recommendations of [the Quality of Life Plan] to expand retail amenities, to develop affordable housing and to improve the pedestrian experience along Ogden,” Hacker said.
Maruice Cox, Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development, praised the project.
“There are many, many strategically located police facilities that also have parking lots that are perhaps undersubscribed. Maybe this can be a model for how we can transition from parking lots to development,” Cox said.
The Grace Manor apartments will be designed by architecture firm JGMA. The building will be designed to emphasize views of the city’s skyline visible all along Ogden Avenue, as well as the historic legacy of Route 66, which spans the country from Chicago to the West Coast.
The apartment complex will have broad windows on each level, a landscaped roof , balconies and terraces to showcase the “unbelievable vistas of the city,” said lead architect Juan Moreno.
“This area is the alpha of Route 66. You think about the energy and nostalgia. … It has a lot of beautiful things, and we’re really trying to highlight the positives,” Moreno said.
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