Saturday, October 01, 2016

Chicago Landlord Announces Plans To Bulldoze 2-Story, Six-Unit Building To Make Room For 138-Unit Upscale Complex; Poor, Boot-Defying Tenants, Dozens Of Housing Activists, Supporters In Gentrifying Neighborhood Respond In Protest: We're Not Going Anywhere!

In Chicago, Illinois, Streetsblog Chicago reports:
  • [D]ozens of community residents and members of the Autonomous Tenants Union, Somos Logan Square, and Grassroots Illinois Action joined tenants of the 2340 N. California building in Logan Square as they announced their plans to fight their impending eviction.

    Current landlord Francisco Macias plans to sell the two-story, mixed-use structure, located a few hundred feet north of the California Blue Line station, to Savoy Development so that it can be bulldozed to make room for an upscale, 138-unit transit-oriented development ["TOD"]. At the press event, protesters brandished signs with messages like “We are still here and we’re not leaving” and “I am the face of eviction.”

    Macias has served the tenants, who were on month-to-month leases, with 30-day eviction notices. First Ward alderman Joe Moreno approve a zoning change for the TOD, and City Council approved Savoy’s proposal in June. Savoy owner Enrico Plati hopes to break ground by the end of the year, once he receives a demolition permit from the city. However, the current residents’ plans to contest the eviction may significantly delay construction.

    At the press conference, residents talked about how the evictions will negatively impact their lives. Adelina Silva, a senior, was noticeably shaken as she spoke. “We haven’t been able to find a place to go and I just got my foot operated on,” she said in Spanish. “I don’t know where we’ll go.”

    The as-yet-unnamed high-rise is part of a wave of transit-friendly construction along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor that was largely spurred by the city’s transit-oriented development ordinance, which was originally passed in 2013 and was strengthened last year. The legislation eliminates parking minimums and allows for higher density at locations near rapid transit stops, which helps decrease car-dependency for the residents of the new buildings.
    ***
    However, according to organizers of yesterday’s event, the evictions at the six-unit building are representative of the displacement they see as being brought on by all of the new development. Whether or not you agree that upscale development causes displacement, the demographics of Logan Square have changed considerably in recent years. DNAinfo reported that between 2000 and 2014, the number of Latino residents in Logan Square dropped by about 19,200, a 35.6 percent decrease.

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