Around Rogers Park: Howard-Ashland Site Development Unveiled


 

The Alden Foundation and ArtSpace unveiled plans for a mixed-income, LGBTQ-friendly senior housing and live/work development at the long-vacant corner of Ashland Avenue and Howard Street. The site originally housed the Lerner Building which was torn down in 2007. The site was later acquired by the city under former Alderman Joe Moore in an attempt to spur development. Despite several previous attempts, the site has not been developed and remains vacant, except for community garden plots which are used during warm-weather months.

The proposed development would include a total of 81 units. Sixty-five would be targeted to LGBTQ seniors; 15 would be live/work spaces for artists; and one would be for an on-site engineer. Only four of the 81 units would be priced at market rate rents. The remaining units would be affordable to households earning 30%, 50% and 60% of area median income (AMI). The plan also contemplates reserving twelve of the affordable units for CHA tenants. If the CHA application is approved, these 12 units would be governed by a 30-year, Section 8 HAP contract and serve residents earning no more than 30% of AMI.

The unveiling took place on November 12th at a community meeting at Willye B. White Park with the participation of Alderwoman Maria Hadden. The development will reportedly cost $30 million dollars to build and would contain 96,600 square feet of space in a five-story building. One wing would house the seniors, and another would house the live/work units for artists. The building would also contain 3,500 square feet of first floor commercial space and garage parking for 34 cars, more than meeting the City’s TOD requirements.

At a follow-up meeting, held February 1 at the Rogers Park Public Library on Clark Street, Alderwoman Hadden stated that she will make a decision regarding whether or not to support this plan once the proposed development has obtained the tax credits it needs to move forward, and once the Department of Planning and Development has determined the best use for this city-owned site. The tax credit approval, the DPD decision, and the Alderwoman’s support are all hurdles the proposed development must still overcome in order to proceed.

The Alden Foundation is the mission-driven arm of the Alden Network, a Chicago area developer of senior living facilities. ArtSpace is the Minneapolis-based developer that has created ArtSpace properties around the country. The Rogers Park Business Alliance has been working closely with ArtSpace for a number of years to bring a development to the Rogers Park community. RPBG has also been involved as a donor, contributing $6,000 toward a feasibility study in 2015.