Glenstar scores $24M tax break for O’Hare affordable housing

Project with almost 300 units was first presented in 2016

Chicago /
May.May 10, 2022 12:54 PM
Alderman Anthony Napolitano, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and rendering of Higgins Road Multifamily (Anthony Napolitano, Higgins Road Multifamily, Getty Images)

Alderman Anthony Napolitano, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and rendering of Higgins Road Multifamily (Anthony Napolitano, Higgins Road Multifamily, Getty Images)

Glenstar Properties scored a $23.5 million tax break on a 297-unit project near just east of O’Hare Airport that was approved this year after it was first presented in 2016.

Glenstar’s plans for the seven-story development at 8503-8723 West Higgins Road in Park Ridge got the break by agreeing to market 20 percent of the units as affordable housing for 30 years, Block Club Chicago reported.

The area near O’Hare was designated a low-affordability community by the City Council in April. The affordable units will cost about $52 million.

“The tax savings help to partially offset the cost of the affordable component of the project, making it possible to provide these units, but by no means results in a financial windfall,” said Liz Butler, the zoning attorney for the project.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced the tax ordinance, the first to give tax incentives to developers building multi-family projects in “low-affordability communities” or areas where 40 percent or less of the total housing units are affordable. A 2019 analysis found that only 20 percent of housing in the O’Hare area is affordable for households earning 60 percent of the local median income.

Approval of the Glenstar project broke the city’s longstanding tradition of letting the local alderperson have final say over developments in their wards. Alderman Anthony Napolitano, whose district includes the area, wanted to build a commercial development instead. He denied that he opposed the project because of the affordable housing.

At a committee meeting before the City Council, Napolitano said the decision to approve the development against his wishes tells residents that their voices won’t be heard. Mayor Lightfoot says housing is at the heart of the city’s segregation and the new development will help workers at O’Hare Airport.

“This is a time to not just think about your own interests; it’s time to think about the city’s interests,” Lightfoot said. “It’s critical for us to make a statement about affordability and where it can be located.”

[BCC] — Victoria Pruitt





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