Affordable apartments and units, part of the Peoples Gas website proposal

Revised popular gas proposal

by Brian Nadig

A revised retail and residential proposal, including dozens of affordable condos, for the former Peoples Gas site at Irving Park Road and Kilpatrick Avenue, will be presented at a community meeting this month.

A total of 348 housing units have been proposed, and typically 20 percent of them must meet the city’s affordable housing criteria (reducing rents for those earning 60 percent or less of the area median income).

However, the proposal is said to be designed to take advantage of the city’s Connected Communities Ordinance, which allows developers to reduce parking requirements by building more affordable housing. Normally one parking space per apartment is required, but this can be reduced by law, which encourages pedestrian, wheelchair and bicycle friendly construction near public transport.

The number of affordable units and proposed parking spaces was not available, but a partial acquisition, which could reduce the number of affordable units from 70 to 35, seems unlikely to be underway in light of plans to further the goals of Connected Communities, and More than 70 affordable units possible. Housing advocates argue that there is a desperate need for more affordable units on the Northwest Side for families.

Several community groups and the city’s Department of Planning and Development criticized previous proposals for the site as car-centric, claiming that there was too much parking and not enough housing.

Previous proposals also called for an Amazon Fresh grocery store, but Amazon is no longer part of the plan. The latest proposal increases the number of housing units from one of the previous plans by more than three times.

GW Properties will hold the meeting jointly with Alderman James Gardiner (45th St.) at 6 pm on Wednesday, September 20, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W Lawrence Avenue.

“We look forward to an enthusiastic conversation with people in the community so that we can better serve the needs of our residents,” said Gardiner.

In a letter to residents, project attorney Sarah Barnes described the proposal as follows:

With this proposal, (developer GW Properties) seeks to redevelop the property in question with five new buildings, which will be dedicated to a diverse mix of free uses, including: retail, office, restaurant and residential.

“The amended proposal calls for four independent (divisible, single or multiple) one-story commercial and retail buildings which will generally make up the northern half of the placed site – with three of the buildings facing Irving Park Road and one building facing Kilpatrick Street.

“Revised programming also includes a new four-and-a-half story full-fledged apartment building (apartment rental), which will house up to 348 residences, ranging in size and function – from studios to one- and two-bedroom simplex units, as well as A three bedroom duplex, part of which will also be rated affordable.

“Off-street parking for residents will be located entirely within the proposed new multi-storey building, thus furthering the policies and intentions of the City’s Connected Communities Ordinance. Surface parking for additional vehicles will be placed within the site, which will exclusively service the four retail buildings and their respective tenants, with additional parking stalls It is located along the eastern end of the site which will serve the guests of the apartment building.

“As a highlight of the proposed new development complex, the programming calls for an abundance of occupable open green spaces, including several landscaped community socializing areas (parks/gardens), as well as outdoor dining and entertainment areas.

“In order to permit this proposal, (GW) will seek to amend the zoning map from a single-unit residential (detached house) RS-3 area to a mixed-use area in neighborhood B2-3 and then to a planned residential and commercial development area, through and through Chicago City Council, with review and recommendations from the Chicago Plan Commission and the Chicago Zoning Commission.

If approved, the project, along with the large Clarendale building at 4715 W Irving Park Road and the redevelopment of Sears at 4730 W Irving Park Road, will bring approximately 800 new apartments to the Six Corners business district. The Sears project includes a partial purchase of affordable housing requirements.

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