Alderman’s demand for union labor delays GW Properties’ $110M project

Redevelopment of Portage Park’s Peoples Gas building into apartments hangs in balance

Alderman Demands Union Labor in GW Properties’ $110M Development
Ald. James Gardiner and GW Properties’ Mitch Goltz with development site at 3955 North Kilpatrick Avenue in Chicaago (Google Maps, Block Club Chicago, GW Properties)

GW Properties’ long-awaited development in Portage Park, near the Six Corners intersection, remains stifled amid an ongoing feud with 45th Ward Alderman James Gardiner. 

GW Properties principal and co-founder Mitch Goltz blamed Gardiner for another round of delays, as the alderman purportedly requested the City Council’s Committee on Zoning to postpone the $110 million project at 3955 North Kilpatrick Avenue, the Chicago Tribune reported

Gardiner moved to postpone the project because Goltz has not agreed to a project labor agreement with construction unions. It’s the fourth deferral since the Chicago Plan Commission approved the development in March, with final approval from City Council still pending. 

“It’s disappointing to see this project held up at this juncture, after five long years of planning,” Goltz told the outlet.  

Amie Zander, managing director of the Six Corners Association, is worried that the delay might cause GW Properties to abandon the project, leaving behind an empty lot. 

“It’s ready. It passed the Plan Commission, and I don’t think a lot of residents realize it may not happen now,” she said.

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GW Properties plans to transform the former Peoples Gas site into a 346-unit apartment building, several retail buildings and a series of duplex homes. Of the planned housing units, 20 percent would be reserved as affordable housing, which was a major factor that led to the Plan Commission’s approval. 

While Gardiner has supported the plan as beneficial for the community, he is insisting on a labor agreement, which would ensure union labor and cover employment terms for all contractors.

Representatives from various building trades unions pushed for the labor agreement at the March meeting, alleging previous safety standard violations by GW Properties’ subcontractors. Goltz denied those allegations and assured the commission he would use union labor. Goltz has resisted signing a labor agreement, arguing it would limit the company’s flexibility in assembling a construction team.

Portage Park has long been starved of new development, with vacant lots and storefronts scattered throughout the neighborhood. However, recent projects have helped revitalize the area, including Clarendale Six Corners, a $130 million senior housing building by Ryan Companies, and Novak Construction’s 206-unit 6 Corners Lofts. Zander described GW’s project as the “final piece of the puzzle.”

—Quinn Donoghue

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