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Affordable housing and a new park in the works for western end of 606 Trail

A family cycles on The 606. Photo: John Greenfield

The popular Bloomingdale Trail aka The 606, a car-free 2.7 mile  east-west elevated path through Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square, has spurred higher property values, property taxes and rents which have led to the displacement of longtime residents since it’s construction in 2015. In January 2020 the City Council passed a resolution banning residential tear-downs along the trail for six months. The resolution had been extended until April 2021. Some relief for working-class families in the ward is coming. The western end of the trail located in Logan Square could see a new park and the construction of affordable housing, which can help more residents afford to stay in the neighborhood

According to a Block Club Chicago article by Mina Bloom, nearly 200 affordable apartments could be constructed in a development called Encuentro Square. The development, led by Latin United Community Housing, known as LUCHA, and Evergreen Real Estate Group, would include a three-building campus with affordable housing and a park. The proposed city-owned site at 3745 W Cortland was cleared of the old Magid Glove factory in February of this year.

An aerial rendering of the proposed Encuentro Square development in Logan Square.Credit: LUCHA
An aerial rendering of the proposed Encuentro Square development in Logan Square. Image via LUCHA.
An aerial rendering of the proposed Encuentro Square development in Logan Square. Credit: LUCHA

This is the third proposal for the site. Last year the groups shared plans for 74 apartments, 54 of which would be affordable. In 2019 the Chicago Park District announced its desire to sell the land with a goal of at least 150 affordable housing units being built according to local alderman alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th). Maldonado himself made $300,000 in land speculation along the trail corridor. The proposal by LUCHA and Evergreen Real Estate group has been awarded $1.5 million in federal tax credits according to a Block Club Chicago article from last year.

It’s unclear how far along the developers are with securing financing for the project and when construction would begin. Plans for the development break construction down into two phases in which two buildings will be built during phase one and the third building will be constructed in phase two.

I find it bittersweet that affordable housing is coming to an area impacted by gentrification. It would have been better if more had been done to prevent housing displacement in the first place. But I'm still happy to see affordable housing coming to an area that could use it. Maldonado told Block Club that he sees the upcoming development as a “huge stabilizer” and something that will allow “families to stay in our community, in a community that they have called home for so many decades.”

LUCHA and Evergreen Real Estate Group will host a virtual community meeting on the proposal on Wednesday October 20th at 6pm. You can register for the meeting or sign up for updates by filling out the developer’s survey.

Read the recent Block Club article here.

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