Putting together plans for the final redevelopment of Cabrini-Green

All the high-rises at Cabrini-Green are gone but the planning of what will replace them continues:

Next week, CHA officials will hold open houses for developers who will learn what parameters the agency has designed for construction of new housing and retail. The land boundaries are North Avenue to Chicago Avenue and Halsted to Orleans…

Last spring CHA unveiled Plan Forward as a way to wrap up the final stretch. Former CHA CEO Charles Woodyard resigned last fall amid sexual harassment allegations, but also because City Hall became disenchanted with the slow pace of progress.

The goal is for Cabrini construction to start by 2015 on the mostly vacant 65 acres. The Cabrini rowhouses will remain but not be 100 percent public housing – much to the chagrin of many residents. Of the 583 units, 146 have been redeveloped into public housing and will stay that way. The others are empty. Originally, CHA had planned to keep the row houses all public housing.

“We felt that in order for Plan Forward to work, in order to have a very vibrant community and what works for the residents to move toward self sufficiency, it was important to do mixed income. Not to leave that area to be the only secluded area that remained 100 percent public housing,” Brown said…

“We’re adamant that the row houses be rehabbed to 100 percent public housing like it was supposed to be,” [row-house resident activist] Steele said.

This seems like an appropriate path forward based on the prior history of redevelopment at Cabrini-Green:

1. The CHA’s difficult history continues with yet another new leader plus plans that stretch on longer than anticipated with funding problems.

2. The city continues its interest in mixed-income development which gives developers some great opportunities to build on the North Side (and profit) while also providing some public housing units but not having to provide for all of the public housing residents.

3. The public housing residents, particularly compared to some of the other Chicago housing projects, continue to speak out and challenge the city’s plans.

Sixty-five acres of land in this part of Chicago will be attractive to numerous people and I hope the public gets to see the competing proposals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s