The Chicago Housing Authority and Department of Planning and Development have revealed initial details for its upcoming Request For Proposal (RFP) for affordable housing in Woodlawn. The plan centers around 13 city-owned lots located along E 63rd Street between S Ingleside Avenue and S University Avenue, which are part of a larger plan that includes a total of 52 lots mainly south of 63rd Street. The goal of developing this first phase of multi-unit buildings is to be able to gather further funding for the remainder of the lots.
Although there are no concrete design plans, the city has been looking at similar affordable mixed-use projects in the city and understand the final designs may be mostly pre-fabricated and utilize all of the lot. They also hope to join the wave of development in the area including projects like Woodlawn Station and Park Station just down the road, while also combating the out-pricing of locals that is starting to be felt due to the ongoing construction of the nearby Obama Presidential Center.
The first 13 lots in phase one could create up to 350 affordable apartments, of those 100 could be what they consider ‘deeply affordable’ for residents making less than 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or roughly $46,000 for a family of four according to Block Club. However local residents feel like this change won’t come fast enough, or be enough to balance out the displacement already being seen, they are urging the city to include all 23 high-density lots of the 52, with the remaining being zoned for low density, in this first phase of the project.
The worries of not enough come from the city being able to convert any remaining lots after the initial 13 into low-density, leading to far fewer affordable units than the area requires. A timeline for future phases is also worrisome as things slowly progress through the necessary bureaucracy, leading to others calling for the full commitment to all 52 lots even if construction is phased. Part of the expanded program would also be to offer attainable home ownership in the area through various city grants for first-time homeowners up to $6,000 in order to help grow sustainable family wealth.
With the lots being sold for $1 to developers, the worry for long term maintenance and upkeep has also been brought to the table. With everything on the table, the working group will further determine what can be done in the area though it seems like the 13 lots in first phase may already be set, however they will begin working with the local community to develop the RFP, which will function similar to that of Invest South/West, in hopes of getting the projects going soon.