Uptown workers seize development site for luxury housing

A group of affordable housing advocates have been occupying the planned site of a luxury apartment tower in Uptown all week, in a last-ditch effort to halt the construction of a controversial development.

Developer Lincoln Property Company has located 4600 N. There are plans to build a 12-story, 314-unit building on Marine Drive, a former parking lot for Weiss Memorial Hospital, located just to the north.

Derailing the project seems impossible, as Lincoln received the green light for its plan from city officials last year, and began moving building materials and concrete barriers to the site. The protesters are standing.

“We’re still here, and we’re going to be here until we win or are out,” said Mark Kaplan, an Uptown resident and board member of Northside Action for Justice.

But his action is about more than one development, he said. The group, which also includes One Northside, an Uptown non-profit, wants to draw attention to the pitfalls of affordable housing throughout the neighborhood, and they plan to keep pressure on city officials and developers on the issue.

“If we lose this battle, and Lincoln starts construction, our next battle will be to demand the company provide more affordable housing in its new building,” Kaplan said.

Lincoln Property Company officials did not respond to requests for comment.

According to the developer’s written responses published by 46th Ward Eld, rent for the new building will range from $1,700 to $2,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,900 to $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom. James Kapelman after a community meeting held last year to discuss Lincoln’s plan.

Lincoln agreed to provide eight affordable units in its new apartment tower, which is less than 3% of the total. This is also less than the 10% typically required by the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance, but the company took advantage of a loophole that allows developers to meet their affordable housing commitment by paying a fee in return to the city’s affordable housing fund. Is.

In 2021, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration changed the ordinance, increasing the affordable housing requirement to 20% for many new developments, and in turn lowering the use fee. Lincoln’s Uptown project was finalized before the changes took effect.

City planners agreed that the developer’s $3.1 million return payment would help fund the new housing being developed by Sarah Circle, an Uptown nonprofit that provides housing and other services to hundreds of homeless women. provides.

Capelman, who backed Lincoln’s proposal for a 314-unit tower, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman said the deal would ultimately boost the neighborhood’s affordable housing portfolio.

“Eld. Kappelman feels fortunate that Sarah’s Circle was able to provide an in-leu fee of $3.1 million to build 28 units of 100% affordable housing for women at high risk of becoming homeless or homeless,” he said in an email.

Sarah’s Circle executive director Catherine Ragnar said she hopes to begin development of the new 28-unit, five-story building at the corner of Sheridan Road and Lakeside Place by the end of October, which will also receive funding from state and private donors. Happened. Said to be at Sarah’s Lakeside, it will be the group’s third facility in Uptown, giving it a total of 101 apartments.

“There is a great need for such housing as 2,000 women are homeless on any given night,” Ragnar said.

Kaplan said he supports the mission of Sarah Circle, but expanding the service provider may not fully address the impact of gentrification over the past decade on Uptown, a diverse neighborhood that has over the years been home to thousands of new immigrants to Chicago. Offers low cost alternatives. ,

“We’ve lost about 1,000 units of affordable housing, most of which are single-occupancy hotels, and what we got in return is about 2,000 new units, and pretty much all luxury apartments,” Kaplan said. “It puts a real crisis on renters, weeds out low-income people and middle-income people.”

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