In an effort to build upon the progress we’ve made on Howard Street, the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Developmentand I are asking responsible developers tosubmit proposals for the development of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development at the southeast corner of Howard and Ashland (see photo on right courtesy of DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard).
Late last month, the City issued a “request for proposals” for the 1.05 acre parcel at 7519-33 N Ashland Avenue, between Howard and Rogers Avenue, and asked specifically for transit-friendly and walkable development proposals. The site (see photo below) is zoned B3-5, which allows for up to 229,310 square feet of business and residential development, enough to fit about 200 apartments and a small supermarket-sized store.
The request for proposals seeks creative proposals for a mixed-use development that would provide:
- An active street presence with engaging ground-level retail that enlivens pedestrian experience in proximity to the site;
- A use or mix of uses that enhance neighborhood diversity and activity along Howard Street;
- One or more uses that takes advantage of the proximity to the Howard Street rapid transit station;
- An appropriately designed parking component to serve on-site uses; and
- An innovative and environmentally-sustainable design that meets the City’s Sustainable Development Policy requirements.
Because the property is owned by the City, any development proposal would need City Council approval and hence would be subject to my rigorous community review process, regardless of the current zoning.
The Request for Proposals is the latest step in my efforts to put the property to a productive use. A previous development plan fell victim in 2008 to the “Great Recession” and the site remained vacant and eventually fell into foreclosure. To ensure that any future development of the site would meet the needs of the community, the City Council at my request authorized the City in 2011 to enter into negoatiations with the owner and lender to purchase the property. The sale was consummated in late 2012, using funds from the Howard Paulina TIF.
The Department of Planning and Development then spent the last year working closely with my office, the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee and theRogers Park Business Alliance to craft a Request for Proposals that we hope will lead to a development that will help to spur the continued economic development of the street.
Howard Street has witnessed many improvements over the last few years, including new businesses, a redesigned streetscape, a new park district fieldhouse and a fully renovated train station. A new development at Howard and Ashland of the magnitude sought by the City and me would accelerate the revitalization of the neighborhood already taking place.
Any new development of the Howard and Ashland site is still a few years away. As an interim measure to bring life and vitality to the site, I worked closely with the Business Alliance to reach an agreement with the Peterson Garden Projectfor a community garden and gathering place. With my encouragement and support, the Garden Project entered into a two-year lease with the City with the understanding that at the expiration of the lease, the property may be turned over to a developer.
A copy of the RFP is available at the office of the City of Chicago Department of Planning, 121 N. LaSalle, Room 1000. The proposals are due no later than Friday, August 29th at 5:00 p.m. A pre-submission conference is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24th, 2:00 p.m., at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 1003A.
I urge any and all responsible developers to consider submitting a proposal.