On Wednesday, December 17th, Alderman Roberto Maldonado convened a public hearing for the planned 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers Veterans Housing development. The meeting was held at the Humboldt Park Field House to consider the rezoning change to allow the 49-unit development on land owned by the Norwegian American Hospital. The $14.9 million affordable housing community is being developed by Hispanic Housing Development Corporation (HHDC), a 38-year-old community development corporation serving Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, in Illinois and in neighboring states. The land will be leased to HHDC for 99 years at a nominal rate.
Hipólito (Paul) Roldán, the president of Hispanic Housing, began the meeting at 5:30 with a brief descrip-tion of Hispanic Housing’s history, particularly with the Norwegian American Hospital area and the greater Humboldt Park and outlined the hospital’s commitment to provide social services to the residents of this new building. Mr. Roldán outlined that the development will be named for the 65th Infantry, a fighting regiment that was established during the Spanish American War, and has fought in every war since, that was recently Evelyn Guerrero, project manager for Hispanic Housing, described the project in detail including the building’s purpose to house and support veterans and their families who have served our country. Those veterans may be single, single-parents or two-parent families and the building will be a mix on one, two and three bedroom units with rents of $774 for a 1BR, $929 for s 2BR and $1,072 for a 3BR. Units will be affordable to those earning 60% of area median income or less. Ms. Guerrero outlined the supportive services to be provided by the Norwegian American Hospital in conjunction with the Jessie Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC).
To address the amendment 1996 planned zoning district #599 Ms. Sylvia Michas, of the law firm of Chico and Nunes, outlined the rezoning of the 1045 N. Sacramento site as a small part of the overall Institutional PD district #599 (which will remain unchanged) to allow the proposed the architect for the project, Pappageorge Haymes Partners, was represented by Ken DeMuth, who described the one acre development site with a slide show presentation. The building height was of particular interest, as the building will be a “transitional” height; less than the hospital’s 60 feet (and 75 foot addition) but more than the 40 foot apartment building in the area.
Approximately 250 people attended the meeting, with representatives from local veteran’ organizations and other community-based organizations, which ended with a somewhat spirited question and answer session. Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia stopped by to express his support for the veteran’s housing development for our community. Alderman Maldonado closed the meeting and expressed his support of the zoning amendment and invited those for or against the project to attend the next day’s Plan Commission at City Council. The project was presented and approved by both the Plan Commission and The Zoning Committee of the City of Chicago.
By Mark Kruse, Hispanic Housing Development Corporation