Proposal For 30-Story Apartment Tower Faces Early Blowback In Gentrification-Weary Pilsen

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 8, 2017 6:33PM

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Lacuna Lofts (via Jos. Cacciatore & Co. Real Estate), adjacent to site of the proposed tower

Amid the Casa Aztlan firestorm and a controversial proposal for Pilsen's most desirable parcel of real estate, any major residential development proposal for the area is virtually guaranteed to come under sharp scrutiny by neighborhood groups. That's certainly been the case so far in terms of the latest plan to emerge in Pilsen.

The owner of Pilsen's Lacuna Lofts wants to build a skyline-dwarfing, 30-story residential tower next to his long-running arts/events hall, a move that would require a zoning change. But the Pilsen Land Use Committee—the group that makes recommendations to Ald. Danny Solis (25th Ward) about whether or not to grant such changes—has already pushed back, according to Crain's.

"The site is more suited for the creation of industrial and commercial jobs than residential uses," the group told the business paper in a statement.

The plan for the $60 million tower near the Lacuna Lofts (2150 S. Canalport Ave) as proposed by owner Joe Cacciatore would calls for 43 units that are priced at a rate 25 percent lower than the other 76 unites, with studios charging $1000 per month, according to Crain's. Pilsen requires that 21 percent of units in a development that requires a zoning change be affordable. The federal standard defines rent burden as paying more than 30 percent of income on housing costs.

Despite the early opposition to the development, the neighborhood's most prominent anti-gentrification group, Pilsen Alliance, was critical of PLUC and the alderman's office—neither of which specifically mentioned gentrification.

"Let's work together to fight segregation and structural racism, but let's be honest on our conversation and our approach," the group wrote in a post on Facebook. "Unity comes with honesty and respect, we can not justify corruption and greed on the name of unity, we will find unity in our struggle for justice, and we see more and more people joining this fight for justice and equity in Pilsen and across the city."

The site is roughly a half-mile southwest of the large vacant parcel that Property Market Group seeks to transform into a mixed-use development, a process which has been marked by controversy, opposition and a rezoning away from residential use.