For a 2nd time, commission okays 10-story Six Corners senior living project; on-site affordable units now included
by BRIAN NADIG
For the second time in 13 months the Chicago Plan Commission approved a proposed 10-story senior housing development for a former bank site at 4747 W. Irving park Road.
Each time the proposal called for about 260 living units and an Aldi grocery store, but the most recent plan includes 11 on-site affordable apartments for seniors. The previous proposal called for the required affordable units, which would not have been restricted to seniors only, to be built at an undetermined location within two miles of the development site.
The projected monthly rents for the complex are expected to start at $4,100, but the affordable units would be about $1,200. The affordable units would include one meal a day, housekeeping twice a month and other amenities.
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) told the commission that the on-site-the affordable units would give seniors making up to $42,000 a year access to “upscale senior living … at a fraction of the cost, (and) otherwise they’d have no opportunity to live there.”
Gardiner inherited the project from his predecessor, former alderman John Arena, and Gardiner has been critical of the high rents projected for the building, up to $7,700 for some units. The proposal calls for 114 independent living units and 144 assisted living/memory care units.
In February, Gardiner announced that the developers, Ryan Companies and Clark Street Real Estate, would be making a one-time donation of $100,000 for a scholarship to a Schurz High School student and had agreed to use all-union labor in the building’s construction. In addition, veterans who sign up to live in the building would be eligible for a waiver of the complex’s community fee, around $4,000 for new tenants.
The development of the site, which currently is a large hole where water collects, has been the center of controversy for several years.
Arena waited until his final weeks in office to have the project approved by the City Council, but a scheduled hearing on the matter by a council committee never occurred due to a lack of a quorum. The subsequent adjournment left the decision on the proposal to Gardiner, who sought changes.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th), who also serves on the commission, praised Gardiner for “bringing the project to the finish line.” He added that “bringing this type of project to the area was much needed.”
City planning commissioner Maurice Cox also praised the project and said that it apparently took a while for the community to accept the density and height of the proposal.
“It leaves me scratching my head about what all the controversy was,” Cox said. “It was 10 stories before this, and it is a 10-story building now.”
At one time Arena had expressed concern about the project’s height, but he later said that the height was appropriate due to the odd configuration of the parcel, which is similar to a triangle. The building which would house the Aldi would be one-story tall.
The Six Corners Master Plan suggests a building of up to five stories on the site.