In Garfield Park, plans are advancing to redevelop 1.5 acres of city-owned land into a mixed-use affordable housing complex that prioritizes energy efficiency and green design. 

Nonprofit developer Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) filed a zoning application for a pair of lots at the intersection of Kedzie and 5th avenues. If approvals go as planned, the two-building development could apply for construction permits as early as August and break ground later this year.

Dubbed the Garfield Green, the $25 million project was selected in 2019 as the winning proposal in the C40 Reinventing Cities Initiative, which engaged cities around the world to create sustainable developments in response to climate change.

Perkins + Will/NIA Architects

Preservation of Affordable Housing has been working to engage the local community—a step it says was lacking during the initial C40 competition. There are over 600 comments and suggestions from community members regarding what they want to see in the project.

Earlier this month, POAH held a virtual meeting with neighbors to present the changes to the Garfield Green that incorporate the community feedback. The revised design—a collaboration between Perkins + Will and NIA Architects—has shifted from a lighter color to a darker facade of ironspot brick and high-density fiber cement panels.

The development now calls for 81 affordable apartments offered in one- to three-bedroom floorplans. Fifty of the units will be located in the southern first phase and the remaining 31 in the northern phase two building. An earlier design called for 77 mixed-income units (including 14 market-rate apartments) across the two parcels.

The updated plan still features community-focused retail spaces, public plazas, and green features such as solar panels and rooftop community gardens. The transit-oriented project will have a total of 32 parking spaces. 

Perkins + Will/NIA Architects

The Garfield Green received funding in March 2020 from the Chicago Department of Housing in the form of low-income housing tax credits. POAH was looking to start a dialog with the local residents then but was delayed by the pandemic.

"We didn't want to start the [community engagement] process until we knew the project would move forward," POAH wrote on its website. "Our community meetings were further delayed due to Covid-19. We are proceeding with online meetings and forums and we thank you for your patience."

Meanwhile, city planners are currently evaluating four proposals in a second Chicago design competition with C40 Reinventing Cities—this time in the Loop. The winning team will redevelop a city-owned parking garage across from the Harold Washington Library and make improvements to adjacent Pritzker Park.