Plan Commission ok’s redevelopment of Salvation Army site
October 5, 2018

Photo courtesy Neighbors of West Loop
Cedar Street Commercial plans to redevelop the former Salvation Army Freedom Center complex into 260 residential units, despite neighbors’ concerns.

The Chicago Plan Commission on June 21 approved Cedar Street Commercial’s plan to rehabilitate the former Salvation Army Freedom Center complex, located at 1515 W. Monroe St., as part of its redevelopment of a 3.18 acre plot mostly bounded by west Monroe Street, south Laflin Street, west Adams Street, and south Ashland Avenue.

Cedar Street Commercial initially planned to include 288 residential units in the development but has reduced that to 260 units with nine parking spots. The project, slated for completion by mid-2020, also will provide ground floor commercial space and private green space.

The proposal has stirred opposition among residents, some of whom attended the June 21 meeting to convey their displeasure. Brian Ferber of Neighbors of West Loop and May Toy of the Skinner Park Advisory Council came to express the objections they articulated as co-authors of a letter to 28th Ward Alderman Jason C. Ervin on June 15.

As its major concerns, the letter cited “density with respect to Phase 1 (Part A), which did not include any of the surface parking lots or building at Adams & Ashland,” “lack of on-site parking,” “significant concerns about traffic safety and congestion on Monroe St.,” and “lack of public green space.”

In the letter and subsequent conversation, Ferber emphasized his concern with the absence of a driveway to alleviate the congestion from the development on Monroe Street, which he stated already sees heavy congestion much of the time.

Neighbors also want the redevelopment to include more green space and a public dog run and voiced concerns about potential noise from events the complex may host in its green space.

Like Ferber, May Toy attended the June 21 meeting and raised objections to Cedar Street Commercial’s plan and how the company presented it.

“I also think that Cedar Street’s development will have a negative impact on Skinner Park and the community as a whole without making any efforts to work with the community to mitigate its impact or provide any community benefit,” said Toy.

She stated Cedar Street Commercial claimed Phase I of the complex will not have parking, based on the company’s assertion that Chicago landmarks are not required to have parking.

According to chapter 17-10 of the Municipal Code of Chicago, “No additional off-street parking or loading spaces are required for rehabilitation or reuse of an official Chicago Landmark building.” As of press time, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development did not provide additional detail on the legal basis for Cedar Street Commercial’s alleged claims.

Alderman Ervin, Cedar Street Companies, and developer Alex Samoylovich did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

For more information from Neighbors of West Loop, log on to neighborsofwestloop.com. For the Skinner Park Advisory Council, log on to www.skinnerpark.org.

—Nathan Worcester