City of Chicago Releases Final Development Plan for Pilsen Site

May 10, 2023

The framework advances a vision for the redevelopment of approximately six acres of vacant City-owned land in the heart of the Lower West Side.

The final draft of a four-phase framework for the redevelopment of Pilsen’s largest development site will be presented for adoption by the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday, May 18, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) and Planning and Development (DPD) announced today.

Created through a seven-month public engagement process, the "18th & Peoria Development Framework Plan” is intended to guide mixed-use housing construction on nearly six acres of vacant land approximately bounded by 16th Street, Newberry Avenue, 18th Street, and a former BNSF railroad right-of-way. The site was purchased by the City for $12 million in 2022 to ensure that future improvements align with local goals.

"This community-driven plan ensures the size, scale and density of future improvements are aligned with the neighborhood's expectations and needs," DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said.

The 18th & Peoria Development Framework Plan features a buildout scenario that identifies multiple phases of affordable rental and for-sale housing, new streets and alleys, public open spaces, connections to transit, and community-serving retail uses. It also incorporates an analysis of the existing conditions, financial estimates, development scenarios, and recommendations informed by land use, zoning, and other needs. The plan aims to create approximately 430 housing units, 330 parking spaces, 10,700 square feet for commercial space, and 150,000 square feet for open space.

The plan reflects a range of residents’ goals involving massing and height while maximizing design and affordability: Phase I consists of three mixed-use buildings along 18th Street with as many as 148 residential units and 10,700 square feet of commercial space. Phase II consists of two residential buildings along Peoria Street with as many as 86 residential units, while phase III consists of multiple residential buildings also along Peoria Street with as many as 54 residential units. The fourth phase will feature higher density buildings along 16th Street with as many as 144 residential units.

In mid-March 2023, the City released a draft version of the plan, and received feedback from the public until April 30, 2023. Throughout the evolution of the development plan for Pilsen, five public meetings and workshops were held, which drew the participation of hundreds of community members, more than 1,600 comments and questions were received and answered, and 5,000 flyers were distributed communicating the efforts and interests of the City in preserving and protecting the rights of Pilsen residents and inviting community input.

Pilsen has long served as a vibrant and welcoming community, especially for recent immigrants and their families. In recent years, however, the neighborhood’s unique urban fabric and cultural history have fostered unprecedented private investment, resulting in the displacement of thousands of long-time residents. In response, and in cooperation with local elected officials, the City initiated multiple strategies to protect existing families from increasing costs, including funding multi-family affordable rental developments, investing in a limited equity homeownership cooperative and the acquisition of land at 18th and Peoria for future housing needs.

“As is the case in many parts of Chicago, Pilsen is experiencing a crisis of housing affordability,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “With concerns over the displacement of existing residents, the 18th & Peoria Development Framework Plan seeks to balance the new development with the preservation of the neighborhood’s history. I congratulate the many residents and leaders who fought to ensure this site provides affordable housing. We are delighted to be your partner.”

The 18th & Peoria Development Framework Plan identifies the first phase as three multi-family sites along 18th Steet. Interested developers should submit proposals for one of the three sites by applying to DOH’s 2023 Qualified Allocation Plan funding round. The funding round opens on June 5, 2023 and will close on July 7, 2023.   

Applications that follow the development plan’s comprehensive vision for mixed-use, affordable new construction and that reflect goals involving density, massing, and scale will be prioritized.

The City is firmly committed to long-term affordability, advancing community ownership, and preventing the displacement of longtime Pilsen residents. To ensure DOH and DPD deliver positive and impactful support and services, the City has and will continue to work with residents, businesses, and elected officials on the site’s development. 

“Robust community participation is always a goal in our ward and 18th & Peoria is an example of how a community can help shape projects," 25th Ward Alderman, Byron Sigcho-López commented. "As we reach the next phase of this development project, we hope that this format can be replicated in future projects across the city. The development plan is a great tool to combat rapid gentrification in Pilsen while offering diverse affordable housing options for residents of the 25th Ward. This next step helps us get closer to converting a former luxury condo project into a 100% affordable development.”  



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