A ‘Grand Gateway’ to Jefferson Park Proposed For Blighted Land

A ‘Grand Gateway’ to Jefferson Park Proposed For Blighted Land


CHICAGO (August 10, 2015) — After several years of vacancy, the empty lots at 5161 & 5201 W. Lawrence Ave. will undergo a major redevelopment that will include a mix of commercial retail space and residential units. The announcement comes after a decade of stagnation in the downtown commercial district of Jefferson Park.

The proposal calls for a mixed–use building with 9,990 square feet in retail space, and 47,010 square feet in residential space divided into 39 dwelling units. This development is within the B3-2 zoning designation for these lots and requires no zoning change.
Over the last year, Alderman Arena’s office has worked with the builders, local residents, community leaders, and representatives from the city’s Department of Planning and Development for this development to be presented in a public forum.

“I have met with Mega Group on several occasions regarding this proposal. The proposal was also thoroughly vetted through my internal Zoning Advisory Committee.

“As with any major development, my policy and process is to convene a public meeting where the community has the opportunity to voice any concerns or suggestions on the project. This meeting will be held prior to the project’s submittal to the September meeting of the City Council for approval,” said Alderman Arena. The redevelopment must be approved by the city’s Community Development Commission as well as by the full City Council.

A portion of the vacant land is city owned, and part of the redevelopment agreement calls for a reduction in the land cost of $530,000 and transferred to the builder, Mega Group. The city agreed to this reduced land cost as the property and sales tax, after completion of construction, will be an estimated $175,000 per year. Currently, the city collects $0 in tax revenue for its portion and a nominal $5,600 annually in tax revenue for the privately owned portion.

On October 13th, 2015 the city’s updated Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) will come into effect, in turn making the project too difficult to complete, which would cause the land to remain vacant for the foreseeable future.

“I look forward to discussing this opportunity with our community. I am sure we can work together to transform these blighted lots into a grand gateway to the Jefferson Park neighborhood,” said Alderman Arena. A public meeting on the proposed development will be held on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.