348 apartments, including dozens of affordable housing units, part of Peoples Gas site proposal for Old Irving Park/6 Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
A revised retail and residential proposal, which includes dozens of affordable housing apartments, for the former Peoples Gas site at Irving Park Road and Kilpatrick Avenue will be presented at a community meeting this month.
In all 348 residential units are being proposed, and normally 20 percent have to meet the city’s affordable housing criteria (reduce rents for those earning 60 percent or less of the area’s median income).
However, the proposal reportedly is being designed to take advantage of the city’s Connected Communities Ordinance, which allows developers to reduce parking requirements by building more affordable housing. Normally one parking space is required per apartment, but that can be reduced under the ordinance, which encourages pedestrian, wheelchair and bicycle-friendly construction near public transit.
The number of affordable units and parking spaces being proposed was not available, but it appears unlikely that a partial buyout, which could reduce the number of affordable units from 70 to 35 is in the works given plans to advance the goals of connected communities, and more than 70 affordable units is possible. Housing advocates argue that more affordable units on the Northwest Side are desperately needed for families.
Several community groups and the city Department of Planning and Development criticized previous proposals for the site as car-centric, claiming there was too much parking and not enough residential.
Earlier proposals also called for an Amazon Fresh grocery store, but an Amazon is no longer part of the plan. The latest proposal more than triples the number of residential units from one of the previous plans.
GW Properties will be holding the meeting in conjunction with Alderman James Gardiner (45th) at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
“We look forward to a spirited conversation with people in the community so we can better serve the needs of our residents,” Gardiner said.
In a letter to residents, project attorney Sara Barnes described the proposal as the following:
“By and through this proposal, the (developer GW Properties) is seeking to redevelop the subject property with five new buildings, which will be dedicated to a diverse mix of complimentary uses, including: retail, office, restaurants and residential.
“The revised proposal calls for the erection of four independent (divisible, single or multi-tenant) one-story commercial-retail buildings that will generally comprise the north-half of the subject site – with three of the buildings fronting on Irving Park Road and one building fronting on Kilpatrick Avenue.
“The revised programming also includes a new four-and-half-story full-amenity residential (apartment-rental) building, that will feature up to 348 dwelling units, ranging in size and function – from studios to one-bedroom and two-bedroom simplex units, as well as three-bedroom duplex units, a portion of which such units will also be designated as affordable.
“Off-street parking for residents will be situated wholly within the proposed new multi-story building, thereby advancing the policies and intentions of the city’s Connected Communities Ordinance. Surface parking for additional vehicles will be located on the interior of the site, which will exclusively service the four commercial-retail buildings and the respective tenants thereto, with extra parking stalls situated along the east end of the site that will serve guests of the residential building.
“As a highlight to the proposed new Development Complex, the programming calls for the provision of an abundance of occupiable open-green space, including multiple landscaped communal socialization areas (pocket-parks/gardens), as well as outdoor dining and recreational areas.
“In order to permit the proposal, (GW) will be seeking a Zoning Map Amendment from an RS-3 Residential Single-Unit (Detached House) District to a B2-3 Neighborhood Mixed-Use District then to a Residential-Business Planned Development, by and through the Chicago City Council, with review and recommendations from the Chicago Plan Commission and the Chicago Committee on Zoning.”
If approved, the project along with the Clarendale senior building at 4715 W. Irving Park Road and the Sears redevelopment at 4730 W. Irving Park Road will bring about 800 new apartments to the Six Corners commercial district. The Sears project includes a partial buyout of affordable housing requirements.