Lincoln Yards project runs into affordable housing approval snag

Lincoln Yards
Rendering of the Lincoln Yards station area (Sterling Bay)

Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards mega-project has experienced some approval headwinds following its success with the Chicago Plan Commission last month.

The $6 billion development would transform 55 acres of property along the Chicago River, with 6,000 residential units in the 15 million sq. ft. development.

“The project, although progressing through the approval process, may have run into a snag with the resignation of Ald. Danny Solis (25th) as chairman of the Zoning Committee. Alderman Solis was said to have been a proponent of the project,” the Mid-America Bargaining Association (MARBA) reports in its most recent newsletter. “The new chairman of the Zoning Committee, Ald. James Cappelman (46th), has vowed to slow the project down to have more affordable housing added to the plans.”

WTTV-TV reports that “there are as many as 10 aldermen, at last count, who now oppose the project because they think there should be more affordable units.”

In its proposal, Sterling Bay had proposed building 300 affordable units (for people earning as much as 60 per cent of the area’s median income). Sterling Bay had proposed constructing 600 more affordable units within three miles of the development. The developer would also contribute money to the “in lieu of” fund to support rental subsidies.

Cappleman says he is not ready to consider the project until its opponents are happy.

“Affordable housing is a crisis throughout the entire city, and the entire city needs to step up,” he said. “The history is that only a few wards provide the bulk of affordable housing, especially for very-low income residents. So, I want to see that type of housing in the 2nd ward.”

WTTV quoted a spokesperson for Lincoln Yards as saying the project meets all city laws when it comes to affordable housing.


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