Upscale Six Corners project would not include on-site affordable units for low-income seniors
by BRIAN NADIG
Rental costs for the proposed 265-unit senior living complex at Six Corners would start at $4,400, while the developer plans to comply with affordable housing rules by building the project’s required nine apartments for low-income residents at an off-site location.
Ryan Companies vice president Dan Walsh said that the “upscale” complex at 4747 W. Irving Park Road would be similar to a “cruise ship on land” due to its array of amenities, including a terrace, a library, community outings and a club room. He added that there are few senior living options within a 10- to 12-minute drive of Six Corners.
“Seniors want to stay in the community. They have a network of friends,” Walsh said at June 21 community meeting on the proposal. Monthly rentals would cost $4,400 for the independent living units, $6,000 for the assisted living units and $7,200 for the memory care units. One to three meals per day would be included, and a shuttle service would be available for the tenants.
Project officials said that while the project is on the high end of senior living, studies indicate that the demand in the area for these units is 500, almost double of what the project would provide.
“Is Clarendale for everyone? No, it’s not,” Walsh said. Comparatively, independent living rents at the newly-opened Carrington of Lincolnwood start at $2,888 and assisted living rents start at $4,975, according to the Carrington’s Web site. A national study concluded that senior living rents can vary from $1,000 to $10,000 due to differing amenities and location.
A woman said that she found the projected rents for the Six Corners project “appalling,” while others expressed concern that the project would not include on-site affordable housing units, which are intended for those households earning 60 percent of the area’s median income.
Arena said that Ryan would become the first developer in the ward to take advantage of a relatively new law that allows developers to meet affordable housing requirements by building the below-market rate units at an off-site location instead of part of the main development. The off-site units must be located within 2 miles of the project.
The convent at Saint Cornelius Church, 5430 W. Foster Ave., where a senior living proposal a few years ago failed to materialize, has been considered for the development’s nine off-site units, Arena said.
Rents for the affordable apartments would be about $800 per month and would not include meals and concierge-style amenities, Walsh said. He added that the location for the affordable units, which would be for seniors, has not been finalized.
“That seems completely contradictory … by saying we’re going to move them somewhere else and not give them the same experience as the affluent people,” one resident said of the off-site apartments.
Under the city ordinance some amenities for the off-site units would have to be provided, and the city would be making that determination, Arena said. He added that he would push for extra on-site affordable housing for the other “massive” residential developments that could be coming to Six Corners in the next few years.
Developers also can buy out of the requirement by paying $125,000 per affordable unit into the city’s housing fund, but Arena does no allow buyouts in the ward.
“That’s off the table,” Arena said. The alderman has sought increases in affordable housing requirements on Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park and Jefferson Park and signed a pledge to bring more Chicago Housing Authority units to the ward to help desegregate the area.
The city requires developers to designate 10 percent of units as affordable housing. For senior complexes, the requirement applies only to independent living.