Some members of the Rogers Park community voiced concerns over a proposed apartment building intended for student use on Loyola Avenue at a community meeting Thursday.
Alderman Joe Moore of Chicago’s 49th Ward, lawyer Sara Barnes and developer Bill Gold led the event — which drew a crowd of several dozen people.
The building is expected to be high-density, with six stories and 27 units, designed to accommodate primarily student residents with multiple roommates. Units would consist of two, three and four bedroom units, and will vary in size from six-hundred to fifteen-hundred square feet, according to Gold.
The complex, proposed by Gold, needs a zoning change approval from Moore and the city before beginning construction, Moore said. He said he hasn’t decided whether or not to support the proposal yet.
It would replace a building used by the Chicago Waldorf School, Moore said.
Because of its proximity to the Loyola CTA Red Line Stop, the proposal includes only eleven additional parking spots for the residents of the new building, which would be allowed under the Transit Oriented Development Ordinance. This ordinance discourages owning an automobile and encourages public transportation and walking.
Some residents questioned the impact of the building on neighborhood parking.
Keely Selko, who’s lived in Rogers Park for 10 years, expressed frustration over the proposal to reduce the amount of parking.
“The parking is really my main thing because I live on Albion, right down the street from the [Hampton Inn] hotel, so people don’t want to pay 35 bucks [to valet their cars], and even if they do pay the 35 bucks, the valet still use the parking on the street because they have a lot of people coming in,” Selko said.
In response to concerns of how the project would impact parking, Gold and Barnes responded that, because the building is intended for students, they don’t anticipate the occupants of the apartment will have cars, which won’t worsen the parking shortage.
The building is currently a one-story commercial site zoned as B1-2, meaning it’s designated for “retail storefronts” or office use, and no apartments on the ground floor.
The proposal includes an application for a zoning change to B2-3, which would allow for a taller and higher density residential apartment than would be allowed under a B1-2 zoning.
Judith Cooper, a Rogers Park resident, is worried about the direction the community would be going in with the construction of another residential building.
“I really feel like we were promised restaurants and all sorts of things,” Cooper said. “We would all like to spend money in the community, we don’t want to have to go to another neighborhood to spend money … I would like to support businesses in my community.”
Some residents also questioned how the building would interrupt the appearance of the street.
Jon Lewis, who moved in two years ago, currently lives in a building directly to the west of the proposed building site and feels he and fellow tenants would be most affected by this construction because of the proposed size of the building.
“It will be significantly higher than what’s currently allowed on that block,” Lewis said.
According to Lewis, the west side of the new building would completely obstruct his building’s view to the east.
“We understand that Loyola is growing … We don’t think the rezoning of a single lot is the right solution at this time, we think it should be more long-term, more broad, more strategic than one lot being rezoned at a time,” Lewis said.
Loyola’s class enrollment is growing every year, with more and more students moving west and off-campus.
Caitlyn Auletta, a 19-year-old sophomore environmental studies major, recognized Loyola’s growth, but also believes the Rogers Park area shouldn’t be solely centered around students.
“I get that Loyola has more and more students each year, and I’m definitely worried about being able to find good housing as an upperclassman, but I don’t think that students should take over Rogers Park housing,” Auletta said. “The reason I came to a school in the city and not a big state school was for more of a city vibe, like small businesses and restaurants in the area and nice looking streets, not a huge residential campus.”
There haven’t been additional meetings scheduled about the proposal at the time of publication.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly said Alderman Joe Moore and his team proposed the building. This is not true, the building was proposed by developer Bill Gold.