Near McKinley Park, a pair of former warehouses are one step closer to becoming a new mixed-use, mixed-income complex after winning the support of the Chicago Plan Commission by an unusually tight margin. 

In discussion for more than two years, the proposal from New York-based developer Code RE Partners, Inc. and non-profit Hispanic Housing Development Corporation will breathe new life into the six-story buildings located just south of McKinley Park proper.

The property at 2159 W. Pershing Road would be converted into 120 affordable apartments priced at 30 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and would be rebranded as the "Parkview Lofts." 

Chicago Department of Planning and Development

The adjacent building at 2139 W. Pershing Road would be converted into "Parkview Commerce," a mixed-use development with commercial space for small businesses on the first, second, and third floors plus 39 units of market-rate housing on levels four through six.

The structures are both located in the southwest side's historic Central Manufacturing District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and have an orange rating in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.

The plan also includes a new landscaped courtyard located between the two former warehouses and 141 parking spaces in a ground-floor garage and a surface lot behind the Parkview Commerce building. 

Chicago Department of Planning and Development

The design of the adaptive reuse plan comes from Chicago's FitzGerald Associates Architects, and Power Construction will serve as general contractor. The developers estimate the cost of the project at $41 million and have already secured low-income housing tax credits to help finance the work.

City officials praised the proposal for restoring historically significant buildings and bringing much-need affordable housing to a transit-served location in a gentrifying neighborhood, but also raised health-related concerns due to the site's proximity to heavy industry, including an active asphalt plant to the south. 

Although the development team presented plans for a two-stage air filtration system that would exceed all requirements, the discussion highlighted a larger issue of how pollution disproportionally impacts Chicago's lower-income residents and communities of color. 

The asphalt plant in question is labeled as "Heavier Industrial Use" in this site plan diagram. Chicago Department of Planning and Development

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), whose ward includes the properties, defended his support for the Pershing Road proposal. "This is my second year with this plan, trying to create affordable housing, and we're here today because it's been vetted and re-vetted," said the elected official. "...not to approve this would be a slap in the face to many of the families that are looking to stay in the neighborhood."

After spending more than two hours reviewing and debating the proposal, the Chicago Plan Commission issued an unusual split decision and approved the project by a relatively tight 7 - 4 margin. The redevelopment plan for 2139 and 2159 W. Pershing Road will now go before the Committee on Zoning and full Chicago City Council for final approval.