City Council Approves Land Purchase For Affordable Housing In Pilsen

Current view onto site via Google Maps

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.

Site context view via Google Maps

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.

Rendering of previously proposed 500-unit mixed-use concept via Curbed Chicago

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.

Image of Pilsen Paseo Garden nearby via El Paseo Community Garden

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.

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2 Comments on "City Council Approves Land Purchase For Affordable Housing In Pilsen"

  1. Such a shame the previous plan for 500 units didn’t happen. If I remember right, the alderman flippantly downzoned the property because the developer wouldn’t kiss his ring. In the meantime, we’ve lost years of property tax revenue on 500 units and we’ll continue to miss out with the new plan. Cheers!

  2. That previous project probably looks much better than whatever medium density, low-rise/open-space banality they will be building on this site. However, a city on Chicago’s tier should have been thinking a level above that previous plan. This site could potentially house a mixed-use destination type of development with mid and high-rise buildings that create a “downtown Pilsen” environment. It’s a matter of priorities and ambition which the city and developers both largely lack today.

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