A curious affordable housing proposal in Irving Park

Both Curbed and The Welles Park Bulldog have weighed in on a recent proposal for a 71-unit affordable housing development in the 2400 block of West Irving Park Rd.

Neither site has mentioned the rather curious nature of the proposed zoning change, which is made on behalf of a developer who does not have site control and, according to a filing on the 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar’s Zoning / Development page, has only had contact with the broker for the property. This proposal contemplates millions of dollars of TIF funding.

Another filing on the Alderman’s site, also requesting a zoning change but to a lower-density category, indicates that the property is under contract to Noah Properties for conversion to five six-unit rental buildings. The proposal contemplates no TIF funding. It’s marked “NOT APPROVED” on the Alderman’s site. We can’t find any indication on the Alderman’s site of the reason for the disapproval.

The Alderman discusses the proposals in a recent newsletter as part, he states, of his “commitment to the highest levels of transparency.” He describes the property as currently under contract “with another developer seeking to build market-rate condos” and proceeds to a lengthy argument in favor of affordable housing.

Mis-stating one developer’s proposal while neglecting to mention the shaky status of another’s is apparently what passes for “the highest levels of transparency” in Chicago. And, in Chicago, developers of market-rate housing who build what renters can afford, don’t build affordable housing?

What could possibly be going on here?

NOTE: We’ve previously covered quite a few Noah Properties’ developments on behalf of Sergio & Banks, which is one of our clients. Noah recently built a similar rental project, which we visited in the above video.


  • IrishPirate 7 years

    Winston Churchill’s quotation, made in a radio broadcast in October 1939:

    “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

    I’m unsure of what’s going on here, but it should prove interesting to watch.

    Perhaps the key is the interest of the alderman?

    I won’t speak of the 47th Ward aldercritter, but the recently departed alderman of the 46th Ward got a whole lot of campaign donations from TIF related entities.

    Let’s go over a potential list of categories of potential donors for an unnamed potential TIF.

    1. The development company or developer himself.

    2. Attorney’s involved in the TIF legal work

    3. Architects.

    4. Construction firms or suppliers.

    5. Unions

    Now Mayor 9.5 fingers lives in the formerly fighting 47th Ward.

    Now he may be short of half a digit on one hand and short in physical stature, but he ain’t short of big campaign donors who enjoy making a buck.

    Like Joe Zekas I wonder what the backstory is here. There has to be one and like me wearing a speedo on Oak Street Beach it ain’t gonna be pretty.

    I had moderate hopes that Ameya Pawar would be a force for good in the council. He clearly understands policy and is a bit of a technocrat, which right there makes him superior to 90 percent of the council.

    Like a certain Chicago Reader Reporter I may be singing “Where have you gone Ameya Pawar a city turns its lonely eyes to you……TIF TIF TIF………Where have you…..”


  • IrishPirate,

    An anonymous commenter at Curbed weighed in with the following (in part):

    I am the broker on this deal and the property is still under contract with the condo developer. We are awaiting a meeting with the alderman to discuss why he killed their proposal.

    I’ll simply repeat that the “condo developer” requested a zoning change for residential rental housing.

    Whatever the backstory may be – and we’re unlikely to learn it – this shows again the absurdity of allowing aldermen to have completely arbitrary power over land use decisions.

    Here’s an amusing sequence, supplied in accordance with the Alderman’s commitment to transparency. The top six Zoning Information Forms, in order, listed on the Alderman’s Zoning / Development page are dated:

    8/9/11 [affordable housing proposal]
    5/16/12 [rejected rental proposal]