Developer Rob Buono has proposed two towers for a vacant property 400 feet away (walking distance) from the Chicago Transit Authority’s California Blue Line station. It has caused quite a stir in Logan Square about how much development is the right amount, and brings into question residents’ understanding of how the neighborhood demographics have changed.
It has also brought “TOD” into the local conversation. Buono will get some relief from exceptional car parking requirements because of the land’s proximity to the ‘L’ rapid transit station.
The process will be a long one. The first meeting, called by Alderman Moreno, was held on Thursday night. I counted over 70 people on the sign-in sheet when I came in, and many people arrive after so saying 100 people were there isn’t a stretch. Moreno described his development policy: whenever they need a zoning change they must present their proposal to the community so Moreno can get their feedback.
Before Buono spoke, though, Moreno asked Daniel Hertz to briefly talk about transit-oriented development and why the development (or at least the number of units and car parking spaces it proposes) is a good project for this place, and in this neighborhood. In balancing concerns about car traffic, keeping people close to the services and products they need, and making it easy to get around, it makes the most sense to put the highest number of housing units in close proximity to high-capacity transit versus anywhere else.
Essentially, Logan Square has lost residents – 10,000 people since 2000 – concentrating the burden of patronizing local businesses, seen as a distinguishing asset in the neighborhood, on fewer people. Additionally, adding housing is the best way to combat rising home prices (and unaffordable rents) by offering more supply which reduces demand on richer people buying, converting, or tearing down existing buildings.
While no building permits will be issued for the towers until Ald. Moreno, Plan Commission, and City Council approve the zoning change, you can track what other kinds of buildings developers are building in the area surrounding 2293 N Milwaukee on Chicago Cityscape.
You’ll see quickly that a majority of the projects permitted this year are for single-family houses. Some of these are built on vacant parcels while at least one is being built where there was previously a multi-family house.
In 2014, within 1/8 mile of the site:
- +0 units in multi-unit buildings
- -1 deconversion, turning two units into one unit
- -1 teardown, turning a two-unit property into a single-family property
- +17 single-familiy homes
- Net gain of a maximum of 15 units
At this rate, Logan Square may grow at an extremely low rate – these homes will likely be filled with small families. The decreasing household size is another factor in Logan Square’s population loss.
Read about people’s reactions to the towers on other sites: