Six Corners senior plan revised for fewer units
by BRIAN NADIG
The proposed 10-story senior housing complex at Six Corners has been revised to include fewer assisted living apartments and 19 more independent living units, while there are still no plans to include on-site affordable housing.
Developer Ryan Companies recently reported on its Web site that the overall number of apartments for the project at the southeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road 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 would still include 38 units for memory care patients, is being reduced to allow for the changes.
The company states that the changes were implemented in response to community concerns and following discussions with Alderman John Arena (45th). In 2017 the proposal included 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 units also means that the affordable housing requirement would increase from nine to 10 apartments for seniors. 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 60 percent of the area’s median income.
The affordable requirements ordinance does not apply to assisted living units, and zoning projects with nine or fewer residential units are exempt.
Ryan is planning to provide 10 affordable units at an off-site location within 2 miles of the main development at 4747 W. Irving Park Road, which has been left a hole in the ground since a former bank was demolished about 2 years ago. The off-site option for affordable housing requirements only recently took effect.
In June it was reported that the convent at Saint Cornelius Church, 5430 W. Foster Ave. was under consideration for the 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 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 would be for senior housing and that he does not allow the city’s third option, which permits developers to buy out of the requirement by paying $125,000 into the city’s housing fund for each affordable unit.
In response to concerns that the senior complex would not include on-site affordable units, Arena has said that he would push the developers of the former Sears site at 4730 W. Irving Park Road to designate more than 10 percent of the apartments there as affordable. A conceptional plan calls for more than 550 apartments, but a formal proposal for the Sears site has not been submitted to the city.
Arena has fought to have the city increase its affordable requirements on Milwaukee Avenue in Portage Park and Jefferson Park from 10 to 20 percent. He argues that more efforts are needed to curb gentrification, which can lead to higher housing costs and force families to move.
The senior housing development also would include 48,000 square feet of commercial space, including an Aldi grocery store on the ground floor. There also would be 237 parking spaces that would be accessible from Kilpatrick Avenue. Removal of the dedicated bike lane on Milwaukee is being considered to allow vehicles to pull up in front of the proposed 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, although a portion of the complex would only be one-story tall.
Initial plans had called for a one-story retail center with no housing on the site, but project officials say that that plan is 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 tax revenue.
"The plans also include two public plazas along Milwaukee and a pedestrian connection between Milwaukee and Irving Park," Arena wrote.
PLANS for a 10-story senior housing complex at the southeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Irving Park Road have been revised to include more independent units and fewer assisted living units.
The complex would be located at 4747 W. Irving Park Road, on a site at Six Corners which has been vacant since a former bank was demolished there 2 years ago.
(Photos by Kevin Gross)