I invite you to attend a community meeting to review and provide your opinion on a proposal for a four-story residential apartment building with street-level retail space in the vacant lot at 7070 N. Clark (southwest corner of Clark and Estes–see photo on right).
The meeting will take place on Thursday, October 27th, 7:00 p.m., at the Chicago Math and Science Academy, 7212 N. Clark (just south of the firehouse).
I approved a different mixed-use development for the site in 2007 after an extensive community process. The developer at the time began work on the site by laying a foundation, but was unable to secure financing for the second phase of the development due to the “Great Recession” of 2008-09 and eventually lost the property to foreclosure. A subsequent owner purchased the property, but did nothing to develop it, though he was compelled by the City and my office to fill the hole in the ground left by the previous developer.
Douglas Ross, of Ross Real Estate Services, recently entered into a contract with the current owner to purchase the property contingent upon receiving City zoning approval and tax credits from the State.
Mr. Ross proposes a development containing 54-units of affordable housing on top of 3,300 square feet of retail storefront space, enough to accommodate up to three businesses. He has agreed to add black iron to the retail space to allow for a new restaurant if demand for such a business exists.
A property management office, social coordinator office and an activity room for residential tenants will also occupy the first floor. Residents will be able to access their units through a separate, fully accessible secure entrance on Estes Avenue. The proposed project will have an elevator accessed in the main lobby to reach the residential floors.
The residential portion of the development will include a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom units. Of the 54 residential units, 42 will be reserved for residents at or below 60% of area median income ($32,340 a year for a single person, $46,140 a year for a family of four) and 11 units will be reserved for residents with incomes at or below 30% of area median income ($16,170 a year for a single person, $24,070 for a family of four).
The entire project will be “Universally Designed,” so any unit can be easily changed to accommodate people with disabilities. The project will seek the Enterprise Green Communities certification which will include Energy Star appliances, windows and light fixtures.
The proposed project will include 20 parking spaces for residential tenants and will also have a bike storage area to accommodate and encourage bicycle use. The secured parking will be accessed off of Ravenswood on the west side of the building and will provide six handicapped parking spaces closest to the lobby.
Finally, the proposed project calls for a green courtyard space on the south side of the site that will include a tot lot and patio area next to the building adjacent to the residential lobby.
The property currently is zoned B3-2, with the number before the dash representing intensity of use and the other representing density. In order to build the proposed building, Mr. Ross must receive a zoning change to B2-3 from the Chicago City Council and two administrative adjustments from the City’s Zoning Administrator–one to reduce the rear yard setback along Ravenswood from 30 feet to 15 feet, and the other to reduce the required 20% first floor commercial square footage to approximately 16%.
In addition, the developer is requesting a reduction in the required on-site parking under the City’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ordinance, which gives the Zoning Administrator discretion to reduce the City’s parking requirement. Ordinarily, City Code requires one parking space for each unit of housing. When a development is within 600 feet of a transit stop, however, the City Zoning Administrator has the discretion to reduce the parking requirement to encourage transit ridership while dissuading the ownership of automobiles.
The proposed development is within 600 feet of the Rogers Park Metra station and the developer is requesting a reduction of the parking requirement to 20 spaces.
I informed the developer that if I were to approve the zoning change, I would do so only if it were a “Type 1 Zoning Amendment.”
A Type 1 Amendment is a relatively recent addition to the City’s Zoning Code. It essentially provides the community with a guarantee that if the zoning change is granted, only the proposed project can be built regardless of whether the underlying zoning allows for a different development.
Under a Type 1 amendment, no permits can be issued except those that are in strict compliance with the density shown on the development plan approved by the City Council and in substantial compliance with the setbacks, floor area ratio, parking and building height shown on the development plan that was approved by the City Council. If the developer wishes to make substantial modifications to the approved development plan, he must reapply for the zoning change.
Mr. Ross’s purchase of this property is not only contingent on receiving the zoning relief just described, but also on obtaining low income housing tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), which would allow him to attract investors who would purchase the tax credits. IHDA requires such projects to provide rents affordable to people earning at or below 60% area median income, with a portion reserved for extremely low income residents.
The tax credit application process is very competitive with only the best projects selected for funding. The application for the next round of tax credits is due in February 2017 and obtaining the required zoning is a mandatory part of the application process.
To view the floor plans and elevations for the proposed development, click on the attachments below::
I urge you to attend the community meeting to learn more about the proposal, ask questions and provide me with your opinion of the proposed development. If you are unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to share your questions and comments by replying to this email.