• The smallest parcel, site 3, should be the easiest to finance and develop.
  • Sites 1 and 2 both require developers to build new alleys and streets, in addition to housing.
  • The first phase of Cabrini Green still has a long way to go before construction commences on any of the sites.

By late-2016 Near North Side residents should have a clearer picture of what the redeveloped, mixed-income neighborhood once known as Cabrini Green will look like.

Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the first phase of the Near North Tax Increment Finance Redevelopment Area, with a pre-submittal conference for developers set for February 5.

The first phase will consist of three housing sites that make up roughly 17 acres. Together the sites will house around 900 units. The final date developers can submit a proposal for any of the sites is April 29.

Ideal project start dates are sometime in 2017; however, groundbreakings are ultimately dependent on how well negotiations go between the city and selected developers, said Benet Haller, director of urban design and planning for the DPD.

Development on Near North Side to start small

“The smallest site (Site 3) will probably be the first to be developed,” he added.

This site is roughly 1.6 acres and expected to house a minimum of 96 units. The parcel presents the least difficulty to developers because streets and alleys are already present. The other two, larger sites will require developers to lay down new public rights-of-way, in addition to building housing.

Financing the larger sites will also be more complex, Haller said.

Comprising eight acres, Site 1 must feature a minimum of 377 units. On this land still rests the vacant Near North High School. According to Haller, demolition of the school will likely be the developer’s responsibility.

At least 33 percent of the units built on sites 1 and 3 must be for public housing eligible residents, with a maximum of 20 percent of the units for low- and moderate-income renters. Market rate units can account for a maximum of 50 percent of the total unit mix.

Site 2 encompasses seven acres and will house a minimum of 436 units. Developer requirements for this parcel are slightly different than the previous two sites, as the intent is for market rate, low- to moderate-income and public housing units to each represent roughly 33 percent of the unit mix.

Cabrini Green was initially developed between 1942 and 1962, consisting of more than 3,600 units of public housing. The current redevelopment plan ultimately calls for 2,340 residential units on 65 acres.

Email Erik Pisor

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