It was a banner day for Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27) at the Committee on Housing and Real Estate yesterday, as his colleagues unanimously approved the sale of 11 city-owned acres for a massive redevelopment for the Chicago Blackhawks and Rush University Medical Center. The redevelopment of the former site of the City Colleges’ Malcolm X campus was announced by the Mayor’s office in July.

“This is an ideal situation for everyone that’s involved. I think this is great that the city is making money off both of these properties but we’re also getting things that will benefit the public,” Burnett said.  

Attendance: Chairman Joe Moore (49), Gregory Mitchell (7), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Walter Burnett Jr. (27), Chris Taliaferro (29), Ariel Reboyras (30)

The Rush portion of the 11-acre site will sell for $17.5 million, of which $1.8 million will pay for education, scholarships, research, and health and wellness programs for the community. The negotiated sale price for the Blackhawks portion is $8.7 million. $3 million will be spent on community hockey training programs, fitness and nutritional programs and group events.

Officials with the Department of Planning and Development said the arrangement benefitted the city, too. DPD’s Chris Jang said the Malcolm X building, which was built in 1969, was deemed too expensive to mothball or rehab by the Public Building Commission and Fleet and Facilities Management. Malcolm X students moved to a brand new building north of the site in January. It would have cost $1.2 million to mothball and $500,000 to maintain annually.

The city will pay for demolition and environmental remediation, a $10 million appropriation approved in December. At the time, Mary Benome with DPD testified the demolition cost was factored into the sale price.

Burnett said he hoped Malcolm X students would be able to stay in the dormitory building planned for the site.  

The committee approved all other items, including easements for Sinai Hospital and a few ANLAP and negotiated sales, and heard the Department of Planning and Development’s quarterly report on the five year housing plan.

Some quick facts from DPD’s presentation:

  • Through the last quarter of 2015, the city surpassed its planned spending goals for housing (133%, or $254 million) and its new units goal (103% or 1,312). But it fell short about 17% for of ownership investment goals (82% or $33 million) and improvement/preservation investments (84% or $14.5 million).

  • Four new affordable housing projects were put in motion in 2015: Clybourn and Division Apartments, near the old site of Cabrini Green; Fannie Emanuel Apartments, the renovation of an old senior building in West Garfield Park; Midway Pointe Senior Residences, a $64 million development for independent seniors in Garfield Ridge; and Nelson Mandela Apartments, a Bickerdike Redevelopment project on scattered sites in Humboldt Park. The total development cost for all four is about $150 million, paid in part from from TIFs, the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, loans from DPD, and bonding authority.

  • Lawrence Grisham, Managing Deputy Commissioner in Housing Bureau at DPD who normally presents the quarterly report, told aldermen this would be his last presentation before the committee, saying he’s leaving Chicago and his position has not yet been filled. He thanked committee members, who complimented him as a “pleasure to work with,” a “wealth of knowledge,” and full of “humor and grace.” Grisham pointed out Tracy Sanchez, the Department’s new Deputy Commissioner of the Multifamily Division, and Billy McGhee, new Deputy Commissioner for Construction and Compliance.