The Chicago City Council has approved the acquisition of various vacant city lots in Pilsen for the creation of affordable housing. The lots are located at the intersection of S Peoria Street and W 18th Street and represent the largest developable property in the neighborhood and future construction would continue the vibrant street wall along 18th Street. The $12 million purchase of the 6.3 acres by the city brings the tally of money spent towards affordable housing up to $1 billion, a major investment in many changing communities.
The continuous 19 parcels comprising 28 individual lots are currently owned by PMG Investments LLC who in 2015 proposed a brick-clad mixed-use development that would have brought 500 residential units; this plan was later scrapped due to a zoning change in 2016. The now approved acquisition of the land, which includes direct access to the proposed Pilsen Paseo trail, is in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) who will now fund and perform a $1.5 million environmental clean-up on the site to prepare for future construction.
That future construction will be led by a winning developer in collaboration with the city as it prepares to launch a Request For Proposals (RFP) with the DOH to decide the future of the land. Although still being determined, the RFP framework plan would call for multiple mixed-use projects that could include more than 280 affordable residential units. This will be guided through community engagement efforts that will begin later this year asking locals about their vision on the design, unit sizes, rental rates, amenities, and connection to the urban landscape.
The funds for the purchase of the property come from the Pilsen Industrial Corridor Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district and mark the end of a multi-year battle on the prime land’s utilization. The aforementioned clean-up work is set to begin later this year while the RFP effort pushes forward, with work on the winning projects potentially beginning in phases by the fall of 2023.