The Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a set of variances for the building at 757 W. 79th, one of two buildings in the Auburn Gresham Apartments project. Developed out of the Invest South/West RFP, the buildings are being developed by Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate Group. 

With Nia Architects and Ross Barney Architects collaborating on the design, the scheme won the RFP as a single-building project but has evolved into a two-building plan as a result of meetings with local community members and stakeholders. 

838 W. 79thRoss Barney Architects and Nia Architects

Located at 838 W. 79th, the first building will stand three floors with a mix of commercial and residential space. On the ground floor, the project will front W. 79th St with 5,200 square feet of commercial space planned to be occupied by West African food purveyor AYO Foods. On the upper floors, 28 apartments will be split between one-beds, two-beds, and three-bedroom configurations. 28 parking spots will be included. 

The second building, located at 757 W. 79th, will stand five floors, while also holding a mix of retail and residential space. The ground floor will face W. 79th St with 3,300 square feet of commercial space that will be occupied by KLEO Community Center and The Park Supper Club. The upper four floors will hold 30 apartments, ranging from one-beds to three-beds. This building will host only 14 parking spaces.

757 W. 79thRoss Barney Architects and Nia Architects

The Zoning Board of Appeals approved two variances which will apply only to the building at 757 W. 79th. The first variance will allow for the reduction of the rear setback from the required 30 feet down to 8 feet. The second variance allows for the development to not comply with the building location standards of the pedestrian street designation of 79th St. 

Estimated to cost $43 million, the development is almost entirely city funded, with the project receiving $18 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF), $18 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits equity, a $2.5 million HOME loan, and a land write-down of approximately $180,000.

Despite the project lacking the necessary approvals and permits to actually begin work, Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a groundbreaking ceremony all the way back in August. With ZBA approval and permits actually pending now, work is likely to begin soon. A timeline of 18 months is expected for construction.

838 W. 79thRoss Barney Architects and Nia Architects