Senior housing project at 6 Corners revised; Gardiner sets Feb. 18 meeting
by BRIAN NADIG
The stalled senior housing proposal for the former Bank of America site at 4747 W. Irving Park Road may be moving forward after revisions to the plan were made at the request of Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th).
“I have taken what the former alderman of the area had left behind and made that development more conducive for our community,” Gardiner said. “I feel this is the most productive agreement that could be made regarding this development.”
Details of the revisions will not be announced until a community meeting which Gardiner will hold at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. “Some of the issues have been addressed,” Gardiner said.
Last year Gardiner raised objections to the planned 10-story height of the proposed housing development, citing the four- or five-story recommendation for the site in the Six Corners Master Plan. “One of the first things (I heard from residents) is 10 stories is too big,” Gardiner said last year.
Former alderman John Arena also initially objected to the proposed height but later said that the triangular shape of the parcel created design challenges and that he would support 10 stories there but not for other nearby development parcels.
In comparison, the maximum height of the eight-story, mixed-use proposal for the former Sears Department Store site at 4730 W. Irving Park Road would be 90 feet, about 45 feet less than the height of the senior housing project as proposed last fall. The developers for the Sears project had earlier proposed 121 feet for the height, but Gardiner refused to support that.
Initial plans for the former bank site had called for a one-story retail center, but by early 2017 the development team, Clark Street Real Estate and Ryan Companies, dropped those plans and proposed an upscale senior housing complex with an Aldi grocery store on the ground floor. The site has been marked by a large hole where water collects since the 2016 demolition of the bank, which featured an ornate and historic-looking lobby.
Gardiner also has expressed concern that the typical senior in the community would be unable to afford the projected $4,000 to $,7,800 monthly rents.
Most of the approximately 260 apartments would be for seniors seeking assistant living or memory care. The complex would not be Medicaid-eligible, and seniors would be forced to move out once they ran out of money, Gardiner said.
Another concern which Gardiner addressed last year was that plans had once called for the required 10 affordable housing units to be built off-site, within two miles of the Six Corners intersection. The developers later agreed to include the affordable units, which would be leased at about $1,000 a month, as part of the complex.