UPTOWN — Plans to build a senior living tower and redevelop a historical Uptown school campus into apartments have won the approval of a neighborhood advisory board.
Ald. James Cappleman’s 46th ward zoning and development advisory committee voted Tuesday to support a development that would bring 437 apartments to the neighborhood, including 192 units in a 22-story senior building.
Developers K Giles LLC and CA Ventures want to redevelop the home of American Islamic College at the corner of Irving Park Road and Marine Drive.
The latest version of the project calls for a 22-story senior living high-rise with 192 units to be built on the college’s parking lot. The existing school building — designated a city landmark in 1983 — will be converted into 245 apartments.
Twenty percent of the residences, or 69 apartments, would be earmarked as affordable units. The base of the senior living building would hold 96 parking spaces, while an existing lot off Irving Park Road will have 22 spaces.
Previously, the project was pitched as a 27-story building with 495 units. Five stories were shaved from the high rise and 58 apartments were removed from the project, which was approved Tuesday by Cappleman’s zoning advisory committee.
Those plans garnered the support of the Buena Park Neighbors group and the zoning board despite a number of Uptown and Lakeview neighbors uniting against the project.
More than 50 Uptown and Lakeview neighbors rallied against the project Monday, saying the new high-rise would overcrowd the already built-up area and put further strain on traffic and utilities.
Some of the opposition comes from residents of neighboring high-rises. The rally was held during rush hour during a Cubs game on Irving Park Road.
“We purposefully held this on a night of a Cubs game to show everybody how bad the situation is,” said Judi Kahn, a representative of the Triangle Neighborhood Coalition, a group of 19 condo buildings near the development.
Other neighbors said they want the school campus preserved but think the high-rise is overkill.
“While we agree with preserving the landmark, we don’t want them to put up a tower that doesn’t fit the landscape and the neighborhood,” said Suzi Hunter, president of the area’s largest condo building, Park Place Tower.
Other neighbors said the American Islamic College campus, built in the 1920s as Immaculata High School, would not be preserved without some kind of added development. American Islamic College is seeking a buyer for the property as it doesn’t have the funds for upkeep.
“Either the land will be developed or fall to ruin,” Jessica Eanes, vice president of Buena Park Neighbors, said at the board meeting. “This project presents real benefits to the neighborhood. The few notable deficits presented by the project would likely be inevitable with any future plausible alternative.”
The school facility would hold 245 units with a mix of mostly studios and one-bedrooms, plus five two-bedroom apartments. Historical features including an auditorium would be preserved.
The new senior living complex will have a mix of independent living, assisted living and memory care units. Of the 69 affordable units, 49 would be in the redeveloped school campus buildings, while 20 would be in the senior living building.
Building the tower as senior residences would help reduce car traffic emanating from the development while meeting what the development team says is a need for senior living facilities around Uptown.
“The development team is very comfortable there is a demand for this,” said Rolando Acosta, attorney for the development team.
The development needs the city’s approval to allow for residential uses on the school campus.
Cappleman said he will weigh the endorsement of the project from his zoning advisory board before announcing whether to support the proposal.
If Cappleman signals his support, the project would need City Council’s approval.
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