Park Station

A rendering of Park Station looking southeast from 63rd Street. 

Developers detailed plans for a 58-unit mixed-income building at 63rd Street and Maryland Avenue at a July 7 community meeting, touting its status as the first development under the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance passed last year. 

Dubbed Park Station, the five-story, L-shaped structure, will be voted on by Woodlawn and 20th Ward residents next week, in line with Ald. Jeanette Taylor’s (20th) process for approving new developments. The project is a joint partnership between DL3 Realty and Michaels Development Company. 

DL3, led by managing partner Leon Walker, has been involved in a number of Woodlawn ventures, among them the award-winning Jewel-Osco at 61st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, as well as the new Friend Health headquarters at Cottage Grove and 63rd Street. The company is also part of the team planning to demolish and redevelop the Washington Park National Bank Building. 

Park Station is adjacent to the 63rd and Cottage Grove intersection where a number of developments have been coming to fruition over the past few years, including Preservation of Affordable Housing’s mixed-income Woodlawn Station. 

“It’s really been an amazing sort of process working on this, the first affordable housing development since the Woodlawn ordinance was passed to make sure that we preserve affordable housing for this community, as it’s rapidly changing,” said Walker at the July 7 meeting. 

The 58 units are a mix of one-, two- and three-bedrooms, with nine apartments available at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), which is $470 for a two-bedroom unit, and another nine at 50% AMI ($860 for a 2-bedroom unit). Another 23 are available at 60% AMI, with 17 renting at market-rate. 

Last year’s housing ordinance stipulated that 52 city-owned vacant lots must be used for developments in which 30% or more of the housing units are built for households earning less than 50% AMI. At Park Station, 18 of the 58 units — or 31% — hit that benchmark. 

Challenged by a resident about the mix of affordable units, Walker said that balancing the economics of developments like this one can be tricky. “The math behind this is like a Jenga puzzle — you pull out one and then the whole thing moves around.”

The development also includes a fitness room, a community room and a roof deck, as well as “live-work” spaces for entrepreneurs. “They have both living space and some space in the front of the unit where you can have customers,” said Walker. “We’re really looking forward to supporting entrepreneurs. I believe fully in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, being the driving force for jobs and really stable communities in the future.” 

There will be nearly 3,500 square feet of retail along 63rd Street, which Walker and Greg Olson, a regional vice president with co-developer Michaels, said could be split up between one, two or three tenants. Retail tenants and residents in the live-work spaces at Park Station will be partnered with Sunshine Enterprises, a local nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs on the South and West sides. 

The project will cost just over $30 million, with financing from a variety of sources, including $13.6 million in investor tax credit equity, $5 million in Tax Increment Financing and $8.5 million from a second mortgage taken out through the city of Chicago. (Olson said that the exact source of city funding still has to be worked out.) 

Voting on the development will take place from Monday, July 12 to Thursday, July 15. Vote in-person at the 20th Ward office, 5707 S. Wentworth Ave., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 12-14 and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 15. 

To vote by phone, text your decision to 312-981-9901. Vote online at bit.ly/3jU1JHW.

Proof of residency required; items accepted include government-issued identification, a piece of mail or a voter registration card. 

Contact the 20th Ward office at 773-966-5336, or email Elizabeth Carter at elizabeth.carter@cityofchicago.org.

Editor

Christian Belanger graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017. He has previously written for South Side Weekly, Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader.

(1) comment

jessicamitz

$30 million for 56 apartment units being subsidized by taxpayers? This is extortion and should be considered treason.

Absolutely disgusting they would play the equality game (when it’s perpetuating cyclical poverty). Good indication that these people have zero integrity. Pure evil.

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