Alderman wants more affordability in Vista’s Fulton Market project

Walter Burnett, 27th Ward, also asks for more parking than the 265 spaces planned

Vista's Hymie Mishan and Sual Sutton with rendering of 370, 400 and 401 North Morgan
Vista's Hymie Mishan and Sual Sutton with rendering of 370, 400 and 401 North Morgan (Vista Property, Gensler, Getty)

Vista Property Group may have to go beyond Chicago’s standard affordable housing allocations to score approval for a trio of Fulton Market buildings totaling 1,500 apartments.

New York-based Vista is gearing up to build the housing on 370 North Morgan Street, 400 North Morgan and 401 North Morgan, and 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. wants the number of affordable units to exceed the 20 percent minimum set by city ordinance, Block Club reported

Vista is seeking approval to allow residential development within the Kinzie Corridor Overlay District. Along with the residences, the development would also include at least 1,500 square feet of retail space and 265 parking spaces. Construction would take place in two phases, with the first devoted to buildings at 370 and 400 North Morgan. The project’s estimated cost has not yet been revealed.

While Vista’s proposal for the site was positively received during a recent community meeting, Burnett isn’t completely satisfied with the developer’s plan. He wants to see the number of parking spaces increased and more than the minimum of about 290 affordable apartments required by local ordinance in the project.

However, Vista is confident that the number of planned parking spaces will suffice, as it’s a “transit-served” project that will accommodate residents without cars, the outlet reported.

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Under former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance was updated in 2021 to require 20 percent of the housing units in most new downtown developments of 10 or more units to be affordable to households making certain fractions of the area median income. That marked an increase from 10 percent under the previous rules.

The 2021 update also limited developers to being able to pay the city’s affordable housing fund cash in lieu of building affordable units on site to cover 50 percent of their obligations, as opposed to 75 percent previously. Units built under the ARO are required to remain affordable for a period of 30 years.

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Eventually, Vista’s proposal will go through the city’s Plan Commission, Zoning Committee and then City Council for final approval. Vista expects the proposal to go before the Plan Commission later this summer.

With the project, Vista leaders Hymie Mishan and Sual Sutton continue to expand its Chicago portfolio. Last year, the firm acquired a $60 million construction loan for a 21-story apartment building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

— Quinn Donoghue