• Erin Hegarty
    SEP 20, 2022

    Zoning committee will consider plans for Chicago Fire soccer facility, controversial Chatham car wash

    The Chicago Plan Commission last week approved plans for the Chicago Fire soccer training facility [City of Chicago]

    The City Council Committee on Zoning, Building and Landmark Standards on Tuesday will consider plans for a Chicago Fire soccer training facility to be built on land formerly occupied by public housing, marking the controversial proposal’s likely last stop before a final vote in City Council.

    The Chicago Plan Commission last week approved the plan (O2022-1838) to build a training facility for the Chicago Fire Football Club for 24.2 acres of property owned by the Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Fire. The property is bounded by Roosevelt Road, Ashland Avenue, 15th Street and Loomis Street in the 28th Ward. 

    Related: Plan Commission approves plans for Chicago Fire soccer training facility, officials promise housing units won’t be compromised 

    The training facility proposal includes a two-story, 51,500-square-foot office building and 142 vehicle parking spaces. The facility would also include five full-sized soccer pitches, one partial-sized soccer pitch and a temporary inflatable dome for cold weather months.  

    The soccer training facility has proven controversial as it is proposed for a site where thousands of families were forced to move from after being promised they would be offered new housing and a community to come back to, ProPublica reported in June. But not even one-third of the promised housing units have been built. 

    The property is formerly the site of the ABLA Homes, named after four housing developments included on the site — the Jane Addams Homes, Brooks Homes, Loomis Homes and Abbott Apartments. 

    Local activists and residents have urged the city to rebuild housing on the land. 

    Chicago Department of Housing Comm. Marisa Novara last week addressed what she called the "misperception" that the facility "would result in less housing than had been committed." 

    The public and affordable residential units committed in the larger Roosevelt Square development in the area are not changing, Novara confirmed. 

    Novara added that officials had never contemplated using the entire area for only housing. "Thriving communities" include more uses than just housing, Novara said. 

    Department of Planning and Development Comm. Maurice Cox last week said the training facility is a “great project" bringing recreational opportunities to the community. Cox commended aldermen and the Chicago Housing Authority "for their willingness to update the urban vision for their plan for transformation for this site." 

    43 Green 

    Aldermen will consider another set of plans that were approved last week by the Plan Commission in the proposal (O2022-1121) from The Habitat Company and P3 Markets to build a 10-story mixed-use transit-oriented development with 80 residential units, retail space and 13 parking spaces at 301-313 E. 43rd St. and 4301-4313 S. Prairie Ave. in the 3rd Ward. 

    The proposal is adjacent to the 43rd Street CTA Green Line station and would begin the second phase of the 43 Green development. The Plan Commission approved the development’s first phase, which includes a 99-unit mixed-income apartment complex, in January. 

    Related: Mixed-income Bronzeville apartment tower, Morton Salt building rehab set for plan commission approval 

    The residential units in the proposed new building will include 24 studios, 48 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units, according to a presentation from the city’s planning department. 

    Of the 80 residential units, 44 are planned to be affordable with 37 units affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income and seven units considered affordable to households earning up to 50 percent of the area’s median income. 

    Chatham car wash proposal 

    Zoning committee members will also consider a proposal for a 4,775-square-foot Buddy Bear Car Wash with 26 parking spaces at 201-357 W. 83rd St. and 8301-8455 S. Stewart Ave. in Chatham  

    The proposal faced pushback from residents who called into the Chicago Plan Commission’s August meeting urging commissioners to vote against the plans. 

    "There are currently five car washes within less than a mile radius,” one woman said during public comment.  

    Still, Ald. Howard Brookins (21) supported the car wash, saying the property has been vacant for 14 years and that the area "has been the cornerstone of my career" as alderman. 

    Esperanza Health Center expansion  

    Separately on Tuesday, aldermen will consider a proposed expansion (O2022-2354) for the Esperanza Health Center in Brighton Park. 

    The 43,000-square-foot medical building and more than 200 parking spaces proposed for 2833 W. 47th St., 2749-2757 and 2749-2745 W. 47th St., and 4717-4723 S. California Ave. in the 14th Ward would serve as an expansion to the health center’s existing flagship location at 4700 S. California Ave. 

    Members of the Chicago Plan Commission unanimously approved the proposal in August.  

    Related: Plan Commission to consider Esperanza Health Centers expansion in Brighton Park 

    Esperanza Health Center’s new expansion building will offer additional medical and behavioral and health services, senior programming, indoor and outdoor spaces for recreation, a quarter-mile walking track and a cafe. Esperanza Health is also planning to partner with Rush University Medical Center to offer a “family residency program” to help train community-based physicians.  

    A “linked pathway” will connect the existing and new building, the presentation shows.  

    After the expansion is complete, the Esperanza Health campus will include 227 parking spaces, according to the presentation. The expansion is set to create 115 jobs. 

    Aldermen are scheduled during Tuesday’s zoning committee meeting to consider dozens of other proposals including an overhaul of the city’s energy code (O2022-2008) proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

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