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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Old Logan Square Blue Line Terminal Still On Track To Become Affordable Housing

Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., the nonprofit developer behind The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, has taken over the project and has secured a 99-year lease for the CTA-owned land.

City Lit Books at 2525 N. Kedzie Boulevard. The site, home to the old CTA Logan Square station, is one step closer to becoming home to an affordable housing development.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — Long-discussed plans to redevelop the old Logan Square Blue Line terminal are inching forward, with a well-known affordable housing developer taking the reins of the project.

CTA board members approved a 99-year ground lease of the agency-owned site at 2525 N. Kedzie Blvd. on Wednesday to nonprofit developer Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., setting the stage for redevelopment.

Bickerdike is seeking funding and city approval to build an 105-unit affordable housing and retail complex on the Kedzie Boulevard site. If realized, the project would be the developer’s second affordable housing development in the heart of gentrifying Logan Square.

Bickerdike also is behind the all-affordable Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, which opened next to the Logan Square Blue Line station earlier this summer.

The Kedzie Boulevard site, situated next to the Logan Square Auditorium, is the original home of the Logan Square Blue Line terminal dating back to 1895. It is currently occupied by the City Lit Books building and a rear parking lot.

CTA and city officials have been pushing for redevelopment of the 43,000-square-foot site for several years, inviting developers to submit bids for projects that address mounting displacement pressures in Logan Square.

Logan Square’s Latino population has plummeted in recent years as the neighborhood has gentrified.

Credit: Logan Square Preservation
The old Logan Square Blue Line terminal at 2525 N. Kedzie Blvd. over the years. The top two photos were taken in 1924. The bottom left photo was taken in 1971, and the bottom right photo was taken in 1983.

A 2018 proposal from developer Farpoint for an 150-unit development, mostly a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments, fizzled out after community pushback. It was submitted before the CTA explicitly asked for affordable housing.

Evergreen Real Estate Group proposed an 80-unit development for the site last year that called for 64 affordable units.

But Evergreen was outbid by Bickerdike, according to Evergreen’s director development David Block, and now CTA officials are working exclusively with the nonprofit developer to bring the affordable housing project to life after years of planning.

Bickerdike’s proposal calls for 105 apartments, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, spread out across two buildings, including a multi-story building with ground-floor retail on Kedzie Boulevard, according to a CTA spokesperson. All of the apartments would be affordable, Bickerdike’s communications manager Libby Julia-Vazquez said.

The plans will “likely evolve as it goes through design, community engagement, zoning [and] planned development” phases, the CTA spokesperson said in an email.

The affordable housing project has the support of Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), who worked closely with Bickerdike on The Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments.

The site was previously located in Ald. Scott Waguespack’s 32nd Ward, but it will soon be in Ramirez-Rosa’s 35th Ward with the city’s remap.

“Logan Square has seen so much displacement of working-class people, and the redevelopment of 2525 N. Kedzie as an affordable housing development will be a significant advancement in making sure people can stay in their neighborhood,” Ramirez-Rosa said during the CTA’s board meeting.

The CTA board’s vote on Wednesday is the first step in what will likely be a lengthy redevelopment process.

Like the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, the Kedzie Boulevard project requires a mix of public and private funding, as well as layers of City Council approval, which means it could take years to come to fruition.

Because the site is within 600 feet of the Logan Square Blue Line station, the project falls under the city’s transit-oriented development ordinance, which allows for more density and fewer parking spots.

The building is also subject to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s equitable transit-oriented development policy, which aims to spur affordable, accessible housing and resources near public transportation without displacing longtime residents.

The Kedzie Boulevard building served as the entrance to the Logan Square Blue Line station from 1895 until the late ’60s, when the CTA built the current station.

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