Chicago/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 03, 2024
Mayor Unveils $528 Million Plan to Revitalize Downtown Chicago with Over 300 Affordable Units in the LoopSource: Chicago Public Library

Mayor Brandon Johnson went big today, laying out plans for a $528 million boost to the Windy City's downtown area. This massive cash injection is slated to birth over 1,000 new apartments in the Loop, with a pledge to keep at least 319 of them affordable. The scheme hinges on the approval for a hearty sum of $150 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance, as revealed in a press release.

"These transformative projects within the Loop signify more than a revitalization of space; they embody our city's dedication to inclusivity and growth," Johnson was quoted as saying. The projects aim to boldly decrease a whopping 5 million square feet of vacant office space by over a quarter, doing their bit to spice up Chicago's historic financial district with both living spaces and a clout of affordability.

According to details from the City of Chicago's announcement, the developments are sprawling across a mix of architectural eras, from a 1913 high-rise at 79 W. Monroe St., now on the shortlist for City funding attention, to a set of structures dating back to 1911 and 1975. The plan is not just about homes but also about cultural preservation, as these historical gems would keep their luster under the City's careful watch.

The affordable units are targeting an audience earning an average of 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), equating to roughly $53,000 for a two-person household. Said Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright, "One thousand new, mixed-income homes will add vitality and diversity for more neighborhood-oriented investment like stores and restaurants, as well as traditional commercial projects that are long synonymous with the central business district." In a city often marked by segregation and disparity, these plans consciously strive to create a semblance of middle ground.

Department of Housing Commissioner Lissette Castañeda also chimed in to quickly assure Chicagoans that, "With over 300 new affordable housing units in the heart of Chicago’s downtown, the area becomes a little more accessible to folks that call this city home." As the Loop prepares to potentially welcome a fresh influx of diversity, these projects await their journey through the civic machinery – the Community Development Commission, the Landmarks Commission, and the City Council itself – with hopeful construction commencement pegged for early 2025.