Developers are continuing to run into opposition in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. At a recent community meeting to discuss revised plans for the CLAYCO-designed eight-story development, community leaders weighed in on the scale of the many new projects in the area. With more than five transit-oriented developments either planned, built, or under construction in the neighborhood, locals have been vocal about their opposition to the increased density and the possibility of rising property taxes. More than one protest has marched through the neighborhoods streets in the past year. Protestors carry signs reading, “STOP GENTRIFICATION EL BARRIO NO SE VENDE” (Our neighborhood is not for sale).
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Bigger developments are targeting Logan Square lately, sparking local debates about what direction is best for the majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. Over at Curbed Chicago, Logan Square resident AJ LaTrace has been hitting the hyperlocal beat hard. Lately he scooped renderings from the online forum Skyscraper page that were later confirmed to be proposals for the redevelopment of the Discount Mega Mall on Milwaukee Avenue into a glassy 2.55-acre shopping center. As Curbed reported, Cushman & Wakefield have previously listed the property on their website, but now developers Terraco are apparently eyeing the 130,680-square-foot space, formerly home to a year-round flea market and two small surface parking lots. The new development is dubbed "Logan's Crossing," according to Curbed, and documents from Terraco and Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate advertise it as being "In Chicago's Hottest Neighborhood." That boast is no surprise to those who have followed the accelerating pace of new developments in the neighborhood lately. But some neighbors are wary of that trend. We reported in the August issue of AN’s Midwest Edition that plans for an urban orchard and new public plaza are moving forward after years of delays. Other developments include new condos that are under construction a few blocks south, and plans to revamp the park around the Illinois Centennial Monument—the neighborhood’s focal point, which links Logan and Kedzie Boulevards. Two projects under the city’s new transit-oriented development ordinance (also covered in our August issue) are meeting resistance from some neighborhood residents, who argue the new towers are out of scale with two- and three-story buildings nearby. Those projects include a nascent proposal for an empty lot near the California Blue Line stop from the team that built 1611 W. Division—a low-parking apartment tower in West Town designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects—and a Brininstool+Lynch project just north of the vacant Congress Theater. Both projects are several stories above the current neighborhood scale, but supporters have argued increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic along Milwaukee Avenue merit upzoning. Neighbors are not just concerned about height issues, however. Though still predominantly Latino, the area’s white population has grown in recent years, enflaming tensions over gentrification and soaring rents that are familiar to residents of neighboring Wicker Park and Humboldt Park. Anxieties about the neighborhood's quickly changing character came to a head over the Milshire Hotel, a local SRO residence that was facing closure earlier this year. A city-wide moratorium on shutting down or demolishing SROs saved the building, some of whose residents may have gone homeless if it had been suddenly shuttered.
Philadelphia's Logan Square, home to the Penn Center and much of the city's cultural district, is now experiencing an influx of commercial and residential development. The city just gave developer Neal Rodin the green light to move forward with his eponymous three-acre mixed-use project, Rodin Square. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Bethesda, MD–based firm MV+A Architects will design the $140 million complex, which will include 293 luxury apartments and a 60,000 square foot Whole Foods with additional retail space. The nine-story building (with 5-stories of parking) will feature a roof terrace with open space and an outdoor pool. This project is one of many high profile developments in the area, including the recent completion of the Barnes Foundation and the conversion of the Family Court building into a luxury hotel.
Its unique plan and handsome brown brick buildings landed the site on the National Register of Historic Places, but Chicago's Julia Lathrop Homes face an uncertain future. As hundreds of units sit vacant, tensions and expectations are high for this historic riverside housing project. Preservationists called foul on a redevelopment masterplan released last year, which they said shortchanged the 1938 development. Though Lathrop sidestepped outright demolition, the Homes south of Diversey Avenue would make way for new buildings under a new plan proposed by a development group led by Related Midwest. The scaled-back plan, Crain’s reports, calls for 1,208 residential units on the 32-acre property—504 market-rate units, 400 public-housing residences, 212 affordable homes and 92 for senior citizen public housing residents. It could include new mixed-use buildings at the intersection of Diversey, Clybourn, and Damen avenues. The plan, which also calls for a small park and 780 parking slots, will be the topic of discussion at a July 30 community meeting. The possibility of taller buildings at the southern end of the property has angered some area residents, who worry about development out of scale with the neighborhood, which includes parts of Logan Square, Lincoln Park, and North Center.