Community meeting set on senior housing project at Six Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th) will hold a community meeting on the proposed 10-story senior housing complex at Six Corners at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
Gardiner has been holding private meetings with small groups of residents and merchants this summer to get more feedback on the stalled plan. Gardiner said a few weeks ago that he would hold a larger community meeting later this year.
The $120 million project would include about 248 apartments, most of which would be for seniors requiring assisted living or memory care, and the ground floor would include retail space, including a possible Aldi grocery store.
The senior proposal has been in the works for about 3 years, and it is believed that the only change in the plan since last year calls for the project’s 10 affordable housing apartments to now be included on-site. The earlier proposal called for the required affordable units to be constructed off site within 2 miles of the development parcel, whose address is 3973 N. Milwaukee Ave.
In the past, developer Ryan Companies, has said it would not be financially feasible to include affordable units at $900 a month rent in the same building in which the other rents would range from $4,400 to $7,200 a month. The developer has compared the building’s amenities to those of a cruise ship, but is is not clear if the seniors in the on-site affordable units would be receiving the same amenities as those tenants paying the market-rate rents.
Gardiner has been critical of the project, noting that the height would not conform with the four- or five-story recommendation in the Six Corners Master Plan. He also has said that the apartments targeted for young professionals may be better suited for the heart of the business district and that the rents would be too high for the average senior in the area.
Former alderman John Arena supported the project, but waited almost 2 years to seek its approval from the City Council. Plans in 2016 had called for only a one-story retail complex with rooftop parking on the former Bank of America site, which currently is a large hole that collects water, but the one-story project was later determined not to be financially feasible.
In April, the project stalled in the City Council Zoning Committee due to a lack of quorum. Gardiner, who took office on May 20, had been pushing for the delay, and several committee members left the meeting before the proposal could be heard.
Project supporters have said that the development would bring much-needed investment to the area, where Sears Department Store and Portage Theater closed last year.