Affordable housing approved for Chicago’s gentrifying Humboldt Park

Project received final approval despite facing design objections

1203 North California Avenue and Alderman Roberto Maldonado (Google Maps, Facebook)
1203 North California Avenue and Alderman Roberto Maldonado (Google Maps, Facebook)

A large affordable housing project will be built on a long-vacant lot in Chicago’s gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Chicago’s City Council approved a 64-unit affordable housing complex with 2,500 square feet of commercial space, 19 parking spaces and 49 bike parking spaces at 1201-09 North California Avenue, Block Club Chicago reported.

The project, proposed by nonprofit developer Hispanic Housing Development, faced some design objections from the Chicago Plan Commission last month when some commissioners said that the architectural design wasn’t “iconic enough.”

Commissioner Laura Flores said the development “could have gone in any suburban Chicagoland corner,” adding that it “doesn’t honor the rich culture that it’s supposed to showcase.”

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Hispanic Housing’s president and CEO Hipolito Roldán and Alderman Roberto Maldonado, who represents the 26th Ward, urged commissioners to approve the project, saying affordable housing is desperately needed in gentrifying Humboldt Park. The developer plans to incorporate a mural on the building by artist Antonio Beniquez.

Hispanic Housing bought the vacant lot for $1.2 million in 2019 after developer City Pads and startup Common’s proposal to build an apartment complex geared toward millennials for the property fell through.

The building will comprise 40 three-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom and nine one-bedroom units, according to a presentation from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
Apartments will be affordable to households making between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income.

Affordable housing has been a priority for Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The city will invest in 24 developments to create or preserve 2,428 rental units as part of a $1 billion package it announced last month, double the allocation of $398 million in 2019. Eight of the developments will be in the city’s underdeveloped South and West Side.

[Block Club Chicago] – Connie Kim