Gentrification and displacement near The 606 has been a concern ever since the hugely popular rails-to-trails project opened in 2015. After adopting measures such as boosting the requirements for affordable units in new buildings and slapping developers with extra demolition fees, the city is looking to try a different approach: supporting a dense, ground-up 100 percent affordable housing project at the 606's westernmost trailhead.
Known as Encuentro Square, the three-building complex is slated for the vacant site of the former Magid Glove factory at 1805 N. Hamlin Avenue in Logan Square. The long-discussed project is a joint venture between Latin United Community Housing (LUCHA) and Evergreen Real Estate Group in coordination with city agencies including the Department of Planning and Development, Department of Housing, the Chicago Parks District, and the Trust for Public Land (which acquired the property in 2014 during the construction of The 606). The 196-unit proposal was awarded $1.5 million in federal tax credits in 2020.
Designed by Chicago's Canopy Architecture + Design, the Encuentro Square redevelopment will include a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom households earning no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The plan also calls for an early childhood family support program, 122 parking spaces, 19 "overflow" parking spaces, a private courtyard featuring community gardens and play spaces, and a public park created by landscape specialist Site Design Group as an extension of The 606.
Encuentro Square will go before the city's Committee on Design later this week, where it will receive feedback and suggestions from the committee members. The developers will also hold a virtual community meeting to discuss the proposal on October 20 at 6 p.m. More information, a community survey, and a registration link for the event can be found here.