Support true Affordable Housing in our community!
Please call or email Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd) at
And tell him:
[As a resident of the 32nd Ward] I urge you to deny rezoning for the Mega Mall redevelopment until Terraco Inc. commits 20% of the units as affordable housing, using available subsidies.”
This is urgent, and you don’t need to be a resident of the ward to do it. The rezoning is on City Council’s agenda for this Thursday Dec. 17th, and the Mega Mall is big enough that it affects everyone in our community.
The developer, Terraco Inc,. is planning to build 240 residential units above ground floor retail space. Rents haven’t been advertised, but they’ll probably be similar to those in other new developments, $1250-1500/month for studios, and up to $2500/month for 2 bedrooms.
Like other developers, Terraco is complying with the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) by reserving 10% of units as ‘affordable’. But as we’ve pointed out, these units will simply not be affordable to people in our community.
That’s why we support Logan Square Neighborhood Association’s proposal to reserve an additional 20% of the units as affordable, using a subsidy called ‘Project Based Vouchers’. This subsidy is provided through the CHA, which has a huge surplus, and has already expressed interested in the Mega Mall redevelopment. These units would be truly affordable for tenants, while allowing the owner to charge up to 150% of the market rate rent.
Unlike other Aldermen, Waguespack has been a leader on affordable housing issues. However, despite weeks of back and forth, Terraco hasn’t agreed to LSNA’s proposal, and Waguespack hasn’t required them to. Because of Chicago zoning procedures, Aldermen usually have decisive influence over zoning in their wards.
Please take a minute today to tell Alderman Waguespack how important this issue is.
What is the Mega Mall? A massive indoor commercial space located at 2500 N Milwaukee. For years it allowed small businesses to offer affordable goods to local residents.
What is Terraco Inc? The developer behind the Mega Mall plans. They have more than 20 commercial properties spread throughout Illinois1. The owner is Marc Realty, which purchased the Mega Mall in 2014, and owns 34 multi-unit buildings throughout Cook County2.
What is the current plan for the Mega Mall? 240 residential units and commercial spaces on the 1st floor. While the developer has not quoted rents, comments made at the first community meeting suggest they will be in similar to those of other new developments, $1250-1500/month for studios, and up to $2500/month for 2 bedrooms.
What are the available subsidies? The Logan Square Neighborhood Association has urged the use of Project Based Vouchers, a Chicago Housing Authority subsidy that stays with the unit rather than the tenant, guaranteeing stable affordable housing in our community. Last year, the Chicago Housing Initiative revealed that CHA was hoarding $450 million in cash reserves.3
Why demand affordable housing? Massive luxury developments like this contribute to real estate speculation4, signal to local landlords that they can increase rents5, and increase property taxes. These mechanisms increase rents, take affordable units away, and lead to the eviction of long term residents.
5 – http://cjjc.org/images/development-without-displacement.pdf. “…With the arrival of residents willing and able to pay a lot more for rent, landlords saw huge incentives in evicting existing tenants as a way to vacate previously occupied units, and bring in higher income residents. Between 1998 and 2002, the number of “no fault” evictions tripled in Oakland at the same time that rents increased 100 percent.” (p. 22)