Eight years after the last building was demolished in the Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing development, an ambitious plan to build almost 900 mixed-income residences on the site is moving closer to reality.
The developers leading the long-awaited project hope to begin construction by early next year on the vacant site in the South Loop where 11 high-rises that made up the Chicago Housing Authority complex once stood.
If the project gains zoning approval and kicks off in 2019, it would be a big step toward finally bringing the CHA’s sweeping but oft-delayed Plan for Transformation to the finish line. The project, likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, also would contribute to a wave of ongoing and planned real estate projects in the area where the South Loop, Bronzeville and Chinatown converge.
Planned for three construction phases, the entire 11-acre development is expected to include 770 apartments and 107 town homes and condominiums, and potentially more, said Will Woodley, director of development in the Chicago office of the Community Builders. The Community Builders, a Boston-based nonprofit that specializes in mixed-income developments, and Chicago developer McCaffery Interests were chosen by the CHA in 2015 to lead a redevelopment of the site.
The $90 million first phase would create two six-story apartment buildings with a combined 200 units — 68 public housing units, 18 affordable units and 114 market-rate apartments. It also would include 18 for-sale town homes.
The project is another big one for the neighborhood with transformational potential. So what's next? Apparently the plan is to be reviewed at the Chicago Plan Commission’s July 19 meeting. After that it's off to city council for vote.