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Questions remain at Lathrop Homes

In inviting developers to submit qualifications for work on Lathrop Homes yesterday, CHA officials broke a promise, residents said.

They’d promised no decisions until the working group, which was convened by CHA to guide revitalization at Lathrop, came to an agreement, said Resident Advisory Council president Robert Davidson, who is a member of the group.

Said Davidson in a statement, “Consensus was promised, but not reached.”

CHA’s William Little told WBEZ,  “We want to attempt to achieve the broadest possible consensus.”  He added, “For the most part.”

Advocates who had a quick look at the RFQ suggested the concerns of residents and their supporters had some impact.

It doesn’t require a development plan to project a profit, and instead of requiring 1200 new units, it indicates a range of 800 to 1200 units.  Instead of locking in a mix of one-third each of public, affordable, and market-rate housing, it talks about one-third public housing with the rest on a range of affordability, focused on 30 to 160 percent of area median income.

That could open the door to nonprofit developers committed to affordable housing and preservation at the 925-unit development, located at Diversy and Clybourn.

Residents, alumni, community groups including the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, and preservationists, emphasizing “the humane scale, excellent design and landscape, and history of racial diversity” at Lathrop Homes, have called on CHA for 100 percent affordable redevelopment – with half of the units remaining as as public housing – and for historic preservation.

CHA touted their requirement that developers meet green building standards, but Lathrop alumni leader Scott Shaffer pointed out that “tearing down existing structures instead of rehabbing them is not green.”

Said Shaffer: “A plan for 1200 units would turn a successful low-rise development with ample green space into a high-rise complex that would tower over the surrounding neighborhood.”

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Category: housing, Logan Square, preservation, public housing

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