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Gentrification's Downside

Chicago Multifamily

A neighborhood’s gentrification usually means Michelin-worthy eats, amenities for Fido, and a different yoga studio for each day of the week—just look at the West Loop. The ripple effect: Current residents become priced out.


Construction is well underway at Lake Street Studios, 61 micro units of desperately needed affordable and supportive housing (with tax credit rents) at 727 W Lake St, Interfaith Housing Development Corp president Gladys Jordan tells us. Apartment projects have been breaking ground regularly since Google announced its move, but virtually none of the new supply is affordable. Many who lived and worked in the now trendy community got pushed out, she says, and stigmas on the side of both developers and renters abound. People think, “I’m paying this mega rent, I don’t want to have somebody next to me who can’t afford it,” Gladys says.


The $17.2M, Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed project (above) had a slow start thanks to the non-profit’s many masters, she tells us. So called “lasagna financing,” from a mix of many lenders (city, state, federal) included requirements that didn’t mesh easily; the tiny site required an almost brick-by-brick tear-down; and proximity to the highway and el further complicated design. Gladys expects the project to be complete in late fall and leased up by the first of the year. And it has a proposed tall new neighbor: A JV including Focus Development, Atlanta-based Atlantic Realty Partners, and Jeffrey Shapack is planning a 30-story mixed-use development, we hear.