The Chicago Housing Authority’s plan to redevelop the Julia C. Lathrop Homes public housing complex at Diversey and Clybourn continues to inch forward. Three proposed designs will be presented to the public in late September, offering a range of options for the site’s future, according to Craig Sieben, a member of the Lathrop Homes Working Group, which is advising CHA throughout the redevelopment process.
“Ultimately [the redevelopment] may be taking longer,” Sieben told a meeting of the Hamlin Park Neighbors, held Monday night at the New Life Community Church, 2928 N. Damen Ave. “But the potential is significant.”
The working group, which has met nearly 70 times, created a vision that requires the site’s development consortium, Lathrop Community Partners (LCP), to create a sustainable, affordable community.
The goal is for the selected design to achieve gold or platinum LEED green building status while reintegrating the Lathrop Homes into its surrounding neighborhoods. How the proposals achieve those goals differs widely, said Sieben. Variations include density — high or low — and the housing mix.
The potential inclusion of market-rate housing has been an ongoing point of contention. Sieben noted that in the case of Lathrop, the working group insisted on a “dynamic of affordability,” in contrast with the expensive town homes that cropped up on the site of the former Cabrini Green. “We’re looking at this through a different lens,” he said. As a guide, the working group offered LCP the example of “a schoolteacher married to a cop could afford to buy a home.”
Sieben anticipates the proposals will be unveiled the week of September 24, with precise details still to come. He was careful to qualify that the proposals are initial concepts, a starting point for feedback and input. “The history [of Lathrop] is what it is,” he said. “We should all be engaged in the planning process.”