Alderman Gardiner, Six Corners developers to meet
by BRIAN NADIG
Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th) and the developers of the 10-story Point at Six Corners senior housing proposal are scheduled to meet for the first time since a Sept. 17 community meeting on the project at the Copernicus Center.
Gardiner said that he wants to work with developers on a revised plan that would address height, density and traffic concerns about the nearly 3-year-old senior housing proposal for the former bank site at 3973 N. Milwaukee Ave. The meeting is set for later this week.
“I will continue to fight for the interests of the community. I’ll do what hasn’t been done for quite some time,” Gardiner said. “Ultimately it’s not about me. It is what’s best for the community.”
Gardiner said that the project’s development team of Clark Street Real Estate and Ryan Companies had canceled a Sept. 27 meeting and until a few days ago did not get back with a new date.
A spokeswoman for Ryan Companies said that travel schedules made it difficult to confirm a meeting but that the developers “are looking forward to discussing the project with” Gardiner.
“We are currently evaluating all of our options for the property,” the developers said on Oct. 4.
Current plans call for 261 apartments, most of which would be for assisted living and memory care, with monthly rents ranging from $4,000 to $7,800, and for a ground-floor Aldi grocery store.
Project supporters have said that a clear majority at the community meeting supported the proposal.
Gardiner contends that the meeting was one of several mechanisms, including block parties, which provided feedback on the proposal and that he heard too many concerns for him to support the current plan.
“One of the first things (I heard) is 10 stories is too big,” Gardiner said.
Gardiner noted that his predecessor, former alderman John Arena, expressed a similar concern to the developers in a 2017 e-mail, writing that the community would take issue with the height. Arena later voiced support for the project.
In 2016 Clark Street planned to build a one-story retail building on the site but that plan was dropped after the former bank there was demolished. Historical and preservation groups were able to remove some of the decorative elements in the atrium lobby prior to demolition.
The Six Corners Master Plan calls for a four- or five-story building on the site. However, Gardiner said that the recommendation serves as a guideline and that he would not rule out a taller building.
“I’m willing and want to hear what options are available,” Gardiner said. “When I go to a negotiating table, I entertain all options.”
Other concerns about the project include the impact it would have on traffic on Kilpatrick Avenue, where the site’s parking would be accessed from, Gardiner said. “There’s a lot of traffic on Kilpatrick already,” he said. The area’s “pedestrian street” designation prohibits new curb cuts on Irving Park Road and Milwaukee Avenue.
Supporters of the proposal argue that the project’s $130 investment could help jumpstart the area’s revitalization.
“Six Corners is in desperate need of revitalization, with an abundance of opportunities for future development of all types of housing, retail and entertainment options; however the area currently struggles with empty storefronts and business closers,” organizers of an Oct. 4 rally in support of the project said in a news release.
Gardiner said that the Point will set the tone for other large developments in the area and he wants to make sure it is appropriate in terms of its size and scope for the neighborhood. “Future development, including Sears, is waiting to see on what goes on at (the Point),” Gardiner said.