More independent senior units for 6 Corners plan; still no on-site affordable
by BRIAN NADIG
The planned 10-story senior housing complex at southeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road has been revised to include 19 more independent living units and fewer assisted living apartments, while there reportedly are no still no plans to include on-site affordable housing.
The developer, Ryan Companies, recently reported on its Web site that the overall number of apartments would be reduced from 265 to 248, but with the number of independent living units increasing from 83 to 102. The number of assisted living units, which include 38 for memory care patients, is being reduced to allow for the changes.
The company states that the changes are in response to community concerns and following discussions with Alderman John Arena (45th). In 2017 plans called for 40 independent living units.
Some residents have said that more independent units would be better for the economy of the Six Corners business district since those tenants may be more likely to dine and shop in the area than those requiring assisted living.
The additional independent living units also means that the project’s affordable housing requirement would increase from nine to 10 units. The city requires developers to set aside at least 10 percent of their proposed residential units for affordable housing, which is offered at below-market rates to those earning about 60 percent of the area’s median income. The affordable requirement does not apply to assisted living units.
To meet those requirements, Ryan plans to build the required 10 affordable units for seniors at an off-site location within two miles of the project’s main development site at 4747 W. Irving Park Road, which has been left a hole in the ground since a former bank there was demolished about 2 years ago. The off-site option for affordable housing requirements only recently came into effect in Chicago.
In June it was reported that the convent at Saint Cornelius Church, 5430 W. Foster Ave. was under consideration for the project’s affordable units but that no decision has been made. It also was reported that the affordable units may be rented for as low as $800 a month compared to the projected monthly rents of $4,400 to $7,200 in the main building on Irving Park Road, where the amenities would be comparable to a cruise ship, according to Ryan.
Arena, who has been critical of aldermen who do not require on-site affordable housing, has said that his only exception will be for senior housing projects and that he does not allow the city’s third option, which permits developers to buy out of the requirement by paying about $125,000 into the city’s housing fund for each affordable unit.
In response to concerns that the senior project would not include on-site affordable units, Arena has said that he would push the developers of the formers Sears site at 4730 W. Irving Park Road to designate more than 10 percent of the apartments in that project as affordable. A conceptional plan for the project called for more than 550 apartments, but a formal proposal for the Sears site has not been submitted to the city.
Arena has sought for the city to increase the affordable requirement on Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park and Jefferson Park from 10 to 20 percent. He argues that more efforts are needed to curb the effects of gentrification, which can lead to higher housing costs and force families to move.
The senior housing development also would include 50,000 square feet of commercial space, including a planned Aldi’s grocery store on the ground floor. There also would be 237 parking places which would be accessible from Kilpatrick Avenue, and the removal of the dedicated bike lane on Milwaukee in front of the development site is being considered to allow vehicles to pull up in front of the building.
Meanwhile, the Six Corners Master Plan calls for a four- or five-story building on the site. Arena has said that the unusual shape of the parcel necessitated the design of a taller building, adding that a portion of the complex would only be one-story tall.
Initial plans had called for only a one-story retail center with rooftop parking on the site, but project officials say that planis no longer feasible. Arena has said that he does not plan to allow the Sears site redevelopment to be as tall as 10 stories.
Arena reported in his recent ward newsletter that the senior housing project would generate about $1.5 million a year in property taxes.