A six-story affordable housing project in Humboldt Park is displaying signs of pre-construction activity at 1237 N California Avenue, the site of the former La Casa Puertorriqueña Puerto Rican community center. The Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit developer, is spearheading the six-story, 40-unit residential building designed for working families and seniors in need of affordable housing options.
The new building will feature a mix of 10 one-bedroom units, 25 two-bedroom units, and five three-bedroom units. Designbridge, the architect, has planned a dual-tone brick facade with a dynamic, pleated street wall facing California Avenue. The first floor will feature floor-to-ceiling storefront windows and decorative mural art.
Demolished in 2019, La Casa Puertorriqueña was a key gathering place for the local Puerto Rican community, hosting events, games, and celebrations over the years. According to an article by Block Club Chicago, the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation acquired the property for about $1 million in January 2019, after the Puerto Rican Parade Committee of Chicago decided to sell the property to pay off debts. Hopes for a new venue as part of the project scope have not materialized, as the currently processing permit indicates that the new construction will be entirely residential. For now, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is located an eight-minute walk southeast at 2531 W Division.
The new building will provide a total of 21 parking spaces, comprising 14 garage and seven outdoor spots. Bus service for Route 94 is less than a block north at California & Potomac, while Route 70 is a two-minute walk south. No CTA lines are available within walking distance; however, Division Street’s bike lanes offer an alternative mode of transit, with numerous Divvy Bike stations nearby. The project is also situated directly across from the Humboldt Park grounds, which offer residents access to green spaces, walking paths, playgrounds, and various recreational facilities.
As for the project’s current status, the building permit continues to progress through the filing phase. In photos, a concrete contractor has been spotted on site, indicating that preparatory site work is advancing alongside the permit. At present, an anticipated completion timeline has not been specified, but a groundbreaking could potentially occur this summer, given the current momentum.