Gazette Chicago E Edition Page 3

September 4, 2015 Gazette 3 By Hayley Carlton In a meeting organized by the West Loop Community Organization (WLCO), community members packed the Merit School of Music recently to protest a planned condominium building at 111 S. Peoria St. Some suggested a com- munity center for the site. Although LG Construction + Development has scaled down the proposed residential build- ing's size, changed the original plans from rentals to condos, and stated the building would fea- ture a 24-hour doorman, some local residents expressed concern about fire safety and their prop- erty values. Other residents stated the building would rob them of their existing views. "No one is promised a view," said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th Ward), resulting in an angry reac- tion from some of the meeting's attendees. Burnett said he does not make "decisions based on views" because "everything blocks someone's views." "It's lawful to block all of my light?" asked a woman in the audi- ence. Another woman in the audience asked Burnett "You said that peo- ple's views don't matter. Could you please tell me what does matter?" Burnett replied that he "con- siders reasonable things." "Could you give three exam- ples?" she pressed. Burnett said he considers things such as what community organizations think and what the Department of Planning says. "I almost feel like I should be praying," said Burnett, at the beginning of the meeting, refer- ring to the community opposition at previous meetings on the topic. It was that opposition at a meet- ing in June that caused Burnett to withdraw support from a proposal to build rental apartments on the property. Zoning change LG Construction + Develop- ment is seeking a zoning change for the property, currently a park- ing lot, to build a nine-story plus penthouse building for 95 condo units. The property is zoned DS-3; LG wants that changed to DX-5. LG does not own the land but has an agreement to buy it for $6.25 million pending the zoning change. Burnett said his rule about new developments setting aside part of its units for affordable housing would apply to this development, noting the set-asides are "not low-income housing; it's afford- able housing" explaining that affordable means a unit that might sell for $400,000 on the open mar- ket would sell for about $200,000 and therefore be available for peo- ple with lower incomes. Some audience members told Burnett they would prefer a field house for Mary Bartelme Park, which is across the street, to a new highrise. "I would put a field house in Skinner Park first," said Burnett. Thomas Comforte, who serves on the West Central Association (WCA) board of directors, sup- ported the proposal. "All of you are in your condos because of zon- ing changes," he said. Attendees booed Comforte when he said he did not live in the area. Armando Chacon, WCA pres- ident, said at the meeting that WCA would support the project now, but did not support it when the developer proposed rentals instead of condos. Michael Ezgur, an attorney representing LG Construction + Development, said, "There are no changes" anticipated to the devel- opment any longer, adding that Heated exchanges, community center proposal highlight Peoria St. meeting Continued on page 4 Opponents to a condominium building at 111 S. Peoria St. have proposed a community center instead and have commissioned architectural drawings.

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