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Initial Designs for Lathrop Homes Redevelopment To Be Revealed in September

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Juila C. Lathrop Homes. Credit: Flickr/metroblossom

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.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/anne.ward.733 Anne Ward

    Interesting, but a more palatable version would be “a school teacher could afford to buy a home”

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHerstein Adam Herstein

    I always wondered what those buildings were when I biked down the riverfront path. They definitely looked abandoned.

    These homes are in a great location and it would be nice to see them redeveloped.

  • ttbodnar

    should be a program like San Francisco’s each for each 5 units of housing one of affordable to a person with a job who will never make the income required to live in the area like teachers, police and fire

    • bdickus2001

      You think Chicago teachers, police and firemen don’t make an income high enough to be able to afford to live in this area?

      WTF kind of drugs are you on!?

  • Kelly Martin

    What is going to happen to the people who live there now?

    • pattyw

      It’s my understanding that very few of the units are currently occupied. There are advocacy groups involved in the planning process working to maintain a public housing component.

      • Kelly Martin

        Few of them are currently occupied because the residents were moved out in the guise of renovating the apartments. Those on the north of side of Clyborne either had to find alternative housing or move to the south side of Clyborne. I am glad to hear that the public housing component is going to be maintained, but don’t think it is mostly currently empty because the previous residents chose to leave.

        • pattyw

          Yes, should have clarified — residents were moved. RVJ will certainly report on the proposals and their respective handling of public housing.

  • Dustin Anderson

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this proposal solves the problem of affordable housing. The area already has a wide variety of housing – and property in the area is in high demand… So prices are high. Is this housing proposal going to let the market dictate the price?

    • phaedrus

      There are many properties for sale in the area. There are at least 15 condo’s for sale on Clybourn directly across the street from Lathrop and at least another 10 on Damen between
      Wellington and Clybourn. Some of these condo’s have gone into foreclosure and sold at or below the ‘controlled affordable market prices’ that have been discussed for the Lathrop
      project…So the high demand you are speaking of must be rentals. Rentals that are in demand because they are without the tax burdens that the area’s home owners shoulder.

  • phaedrus

    Many have observed that much of the public housing portion of Lathrop has been shut down in recent years. Have they also noticed how much of the area’s crime and gang activity have been shut down? So much that District 19 police station has diverted man power to higher crime areas. To deny the obvious correlation is suspect. Pooling public housing in one giant concentrated area has never worked for the residents or the surrounding community. To suggest there are not better alternatives is to cheat the very people one seeks to help.

  • Nutria

    What about the Ducks? What about the River Walk? What about Stonehinge? What about the Catacomb’s?
    What about the Asbestos under all those roofs? Will the DEPT OF THE NAVY ( Now the DOD ) ALLOW THIS?
    Will some new condo “owner” ask the HHS or EPA when their Silver begins to Tarnish? Will someone question how many Kilowatt’s are under Clybourn south to the only foundry(s) in Chicago?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

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