I invite you to join me as we celebrate the groundbreaking of a development that will bring 54 new quality affordable apartment units and street-level retail to the neighborhood and remove an eyesore on Clark Street.
The groundbreaking of Clark-Estes Apartments takes place tomorrow (Friday, October 12th), 3:30 p.m., at the southwest corner of Clark and Estes.
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 ($35,580 a year for a single person, $50,760 a year for a family of four) and 12 units will be reserved for residents with incomes at or below 30% of area median income ($17,790 a year for a single person, $25,380 for a family of four).
The development will also contain 3,300 square feet of retail storefront space, enough to accommodate up to three businesses. The retail space will include black iron to allow for a restaurant.
I held a community meeting on the proposal in October, 2016. After receiving input from the community members attending the meeting or sharing their thoughts in correspondence with my office, I decided to support the zoning change on the condition that the developer, Doug Ross of Ross Real Estate Services, install a second elevator in the building. Though it involved considerable additional expense, Mr. Ross agreed to do so.
The zoning change, however, was only the first hurdle faced by the developer. In order to finance the development and keep it affordable, the developer needed Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which are tax incentives, written into the Internal Revenue Code, to encourage developers to create affordable housing. The federal government provides a certain amount of tax credits to both the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, who in turn distribute the tax credits to qualified developers.
The developer first applied to the State of Illinois for tax credits. Competition for scarce tax credits is fierce, so it was no surprise when the Illinois Housing Development Authority denied the developer’s application.
The developer then applied to the City. Though competition for City tax credits is equally fierce, I prevailed upon the City’s Department of Planning and Development to award some of its tax credits to the Clark-Estes project. I want to thank Mayor Emanuel and Planning Department Commissioner David Reifman for their support of affordable housing in Rogers Park.
The site where the development rests has a troubled past. It originally was the location of the Adelphi Movie Theater, which went out of business in 2002 due to competition from the multiplexes. Despite my best efforts, I could not interest anyone in purchasing and restoring the Adelphi and it fell into disrepair.
In 2006, a developer acquired the property for the purpose of constructing a five-story mixed-use condominium and retail store development on the site. The old theater building was demolished and foundation work began on the new project. Unfortunately, the condo development fell victim to the “Great Recession” and the property was foreclosed upon. The site has remained a vacant eyesore ever since.
A subsequent owner purchased the property in 2009, 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.
In 2016, developer Ross purchased the property and began the long process of obtaining zoning approval and financing for his proposed development.
The site is already fenced off in anticipation of construction work, which is scheduled to begin shortly. The sidewalk on the south side of Estes and the parking lanes on the south side of Estes and the east side of Ravenswood will be closed during construction.
My office staff and I will be working closely with the development team to minimize disruption to neighbors as much as possible.
I have asked the contractor to provide a “Construction Hotline” in the event you see any problems at the site that need immediate resolution. The developer’s contact is Jim Weglarz. His email address is email@example.com. The hotline number is 847-498-4848 x 117
Of course, also feel free to contact my Ward Service Office with any questions or concerns. You can reach my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-338-5796.
The building is scheduled to be completed and occupied by the end of next year.
Though construction inevitably creates some inconvenience and headaches for the neighborhood, we can be very happy that this project is finally underway. The end result for the community–new affordable housing and the removal of a neighborhood eyesore–will be well-worth the transition.