City Council Approves Ordinances Supporting Affordable housing, Business Improvements, Landmarks and Recreational Activities

June 8, 2011

Molly Sullivan    312.744.2976

The Chicago City Council today approved 12 ordinances supporting affordable housing, business improvements, the preservation of historic buildings, the development of open space and recreational activities.

“Improving our communities by investing in affordable housing and businesses is an effective way to help build a strong local economy,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Working with developers and local agencies, we are continuing to support the development of viable neighborhoods with programs and services that benefit families and seniors.”

Laramie Holdings, LLC
The first ordinance authorizes the sale of seven acres of City-owned land and a redevelopment agreement for the construction of a SOS Children’s Village for foster families in the City’s Austin community.

The proposed project to be built in the 1800 block of North Laramie Ave. will feature homes and apartment buildings for foster families with long-term family-based care and education for children and young adults.  Each of the 24 buildings will be operated by SOS Children’s Village Illinois, bringing youth together in permanent homes headed by professional foster parents.

The developer, Laramie Holdings, LLC, will construct a family home, 12 safe homes and 11 for-sale two-flat buildings for moderate-income families on the site in the 37th Ward.  The City will convey the parcels for $1.

SBIF Refunds
The next four ordinances authorize the refunding of four existing Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) programs, providing additional funding to help owners of commercial and industrial properties make improvements to their buildings.

The existing SBIF program in the 35th/Halsted TIF district will be funded with an additional $500,000 and include parts of the 11th and 12th Wards; the SBIF in the 47th/King TIF district will receive $1 million and include parts of the 3rd and 4th Wards; the SBIF in the North Branch South TIF district will be funded with $500,000 for parts of the 27th, 32nd and 45th Wards; and, the SBIF in the Portage Park TIF will get $500,000 more for business improvements in the 30th, 38th and 45th Wards.

The SBIF program encourages commercial and industrial business owners to invest in their properties by making TIF funds available for building improvements.

Applicants can receive reimbursements grants of up to $150,000 for both exterior and interior improvements such as new windows, floors, green and conventional roofs, heating and air conditioning systems and other energy-saving or green improvements

Goldblatt’s Senior Living
Also approved was an ordinance that authorizes up to $18 million in bonds, $1 million in loans and $2.9 million in TIF funds for the rehabilitation of a former Goldblatt’s department store into a 101-unit supportive living facility for seniors in the City’s New City neighborhood. 

The developer, Goldblatt’s of Chicago LP, plans to renovate the upper floors of the former store at 47th and South Ashland Ave. (southwest corner), which will be converted into 27 one-bedroom and 74 studio units with kitchenettes for low-income seniors in the 20th Ward.  Three units will have no income restrictions.

Other amenities in the $20.3 million development will include a dining room, commercial kitchen and common area space for tenant activities.  An adjacent parcel will also be developed for parking.

The ordinance also amends the land use designation in the TIF plan from commercial to residential use.

In April 2011, the City Council approved an increase to the TIF budget to support the proposed Goldblatt’s Senior Living project.

Lots of Love Community Center
The next ordinance authorizes the sale of two City-owned parcels at 1001-11 W. 79th St. to Lots of Love Community Center for parking and a play lot  in the Auburn Gresham community.

Lots of Love operates two daycare centers in the area.  The parcels adjacent to the daycare center, located at 1015 W. 79th St., will be redeveloped into two fenced-in play areas and a parking lot with 19 spaces to provide for client and employee parking.

The City will sell the parcels for $110,000 for the expansion in the 17th Ward.  The daycare center with convenient parking and play areas will ensure that children in the community have a safe and nurturing environment where they can develop socially, intellectually, emotionally, and physically during one of the most important periods of their lives.

Park Boulevard Phase IIA
Approved also was an ordinance authorizing $15.3 million in loans, up to $26 million in bonds and fee waivers for the construction of Park Boulevard Phase IIA in the City’s Douglas community.

The planned $41.9 million development will provide 128 units of rental housing in four buildings located in the 3600 block of South State St. and West 36th St. and is part of the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. 

The developer, Stateway Associates, LLC, plans to construct four mixed-income buildings with a mix of one to three bedroom apartments.  The buildings will offer 29 market-rate, 53 affordable and 46 replacement units for former CHA residents.  The building types will range from six- to 80-unit structures.

Other funding for the project will come from the CHA and tax credits.

Landmark Designation for Schlitz Brewery Tied Houses and Brewery Stable
The next introduced ordinance designates five former Schlitz Brewery tied houses and one former Schlitz stable as Chicago Landmarks.

The buildings built by the Milwaukee-based Schlitz Brewing Co. between 1898 and 1906 represent a distinctive building type with various styles of revival architecture and prominent street corner locations found in many Chicago neighborhoods.  Features include high-quality masonry construction with alternating face bricks in different patterns and styles.

The five commercial buildings that used to contain taverns owned by Schlitz are located at 958 W. 69th St. in Englewood, 3456 S. Western Ave. in McKinley Park, 2159 W. Belmont Ave in North Center, 3159 N. Southport Ave. in Lakeview and 11400 S. Front Ave. in Roseland.  The former stable building is located at 11314 S. Front Ave. also in Roseland.

The Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. was the most prolific builder of tied houses in Chicago.  Most feature a distinctive relief of the belted Schlitz beer globe insignia embedded in the brickwork that is still visible on the buildings’ façades. 

Like other brewery tied houses, Schlitz tied houses were essentially taverns that sold only the brand of beer that they were “tied” to ensure exclusive placement of their products.  Though not a tied house, the stable building represents the brewery’s direct control over distribution and the exclusive sale of its products. 

These buildings are part of a group of nine Schlitz buildings that are being considered for landmark status.

Comer Foundation Land Sale
Two more ordinances authorize the negotiated sale of City-owned parcels to the Comer Science and Education Foundation for open space and a community garden in the Greater Grand Crossing community.

Property located at 7301-19 and 7369 S. South Chicago Ave. and 1031-35 E. 73rd St. will be sold for the appraised value of $156,500 to be used for open space for the Comer Foundation’s proposed south campus.

The City will also enter into an agreement for negotiated sale of four City-owned vacant parcels at 7230-44 and 7296 S. South Chicago Ave. to help create a community garden at the Gary Comer Youth Center in the 5th Ward.  The City is selling the land to the foundation for $1.  The Comer Foundation will assemble the land with property it owns to create the youth garden.

The garden will be an extension of the center’s roof top-garden program where teens have been growing plants and produce as part of an education program that emphasizes healthy eating and cooking.  Teenagers from the center will help convert the 1.7 acre site into a community garden as part of the first phase of the project. 

IGA with CPD for Skate Park
The next ordinance approves the transfer of four City-owned parcels at 1600-1752 S. Clark St. to the Chicago Park District for future development as an indoor skate board park in the Near South community area.

Plans call for rehabbing an existing building on the site into a skate park complex that includes a lobby, locker rooms, a skate area and a viewing area with seating.  Improvements will also be made to the building’s exterior and parking lot and landscaping will be added.

The $3 million skate park will occupy 27,000 square feet and include traditional skate elements and structures such as stairs, ramps, ledges and paths with unique obstacles.  It will be the City’s first indoor skate park.