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Affordable artist housing project inches forward in Humboldt Park

Nancy Franco Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building has a eye-catching design with wood accents and colorful insert balconies.

The plan will bring a theater, art gallery, and 24 affordable-rate units to Division Street

A long-discussed plan to build a five-story, mixed-use development topped by artist housing in Humboldt Park reached a key milestone on Wednesday as the Chicago City Council approved financial support for the $11.8 million project.

Slated to rise at 2709 W. Division Street, the Nancy Franco Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building is a joint venture between Brinshore Development and Puerto Rican Cultural Center. The Urbanworks-designed structure will include 24 rental units marketed toward artists and other neighborhood residents earning up to 60 percent of area median income. The ground floor will include an art gallery, a small theater, and a commercial space.

City assistance for the development include $4.2 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a $4.2 million multi-family loan, and $261,000 in low income housing tax credits that will generate $2.5 million in equity, according to a statement from the office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The city’s Community Development Commission signed off on the tax increment financing back in November.

Artist-specific affordable housing is a growing national trend that’s gained traction in Chicago. Recent projects include a 58-unit development in Washington Park and a 38-unit example currently under construction in Pullman.

At the same meeting, the City Council also voted to approve TIF money and loans for the redevelopment of the Near South Side’s former Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing project into a mixed-income megaproject known as Southbridge. The city also approved the $1 sale of the Marshall Square Branch Library building in Little Village to an immigrant advocacy organization.

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