Prior to holding a joint hearing with the License Committee on the mayor’s newly proposed regulations for Airbnb, the Council’s Housing Committee will take up a series of routine land sales and appointments.
The Housing Committee will consider the appointment of Juan Linares to the 15-member Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund Board. Linares, the Executive Director of LUCHA, a Northwest Side organization that focuses on affordable housing, briefly served on the city’s Plan Commission, and was known for pressing developers about on-site affordable housing plans, including one-for-one replacement of affordable units at CHA’s Lathrop Homes, which is currently undergoing a massive, mixed-use redevelopment plan. He resigned in mid-April, but would not publicly comment on the reason. Deborah Bennett (member since 2006), Sol Flores (member since 2010), and Gabriela Roman (member since 2000) are also up for re-appointment.
The sale of the former Leland Elementary School is also up for committee consideration. Students from Leland joined students from Armstrong Math & Science and relocated to the May Elementary building. May was part of the 2012 school closings. Under the ordinance up in committee today, the Leland building would be sold to Kidz Express to be used for community youth programming. Kidz Express, a not-for-profit, describes itself as “providing holistic solutions to the urban challenges of South Austin by building a continuum of community support” on its website. Though the site was appraised between $300,000 and $350,000, Kidz had the highest bid at $201,065.
Three separate lease agreements for clinic space are also on today’s agenda. The city plans to lease 6,400-square-feet of clinical office space at the Lower West Side Neighborhood Health Clinic in Pilsen to the University of Illinois to deliver primary care, maternal health, and preventative medical services, according to the ordinance. The intergovernmental agreement between the city and the University would expire in 2022, and the University will pay $1 for the lease.
Another $1 lease being proposed is between the city and The Thresholds, a mental and behavioral health services provider. Thresholds would use roughly 14,000-square-feet of clinical office space in the Lakeview Neighborhood Health Clinic (44th Ward) for mental health and substance abuse services, group therapy, and wellness classes.
Part of the Englewood Neighborhood Health Clinic is also up for a $1, six year lease agreement with Howard Brown Health. The Chicago Department of Public Health(CDPH) announced earlier this year it would partner with Howard Brown and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to privatize operations at city-owned HIV clinics.
The committee will also consider an $810,000 land sale to developer Peppercorn Capital LLC, whose client list has included Crate & Barrel/CB2, Binny’s, Goose Island Brewery, Goodwill Industries, and Harpo Productions. The group is looking to purchase a plot in Ald. Walter Burnett’s 27th Ward near the United Center. Its bid came $400,000 above the appraised value of the vacant lot.
Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Center is also looking to buy a vacant plot of city-owned land to construct a parking lot as part of its massive redevelopment, Sinai Tomorrow. The city has already awarded the hospital $31 million in TIF money for the $100 million redevelopment. The sale up for committee consideration today is for $1. Though the land is valued at roughly $190,000, there were no other bids. Sinai is the biggest employer in Ald. Jason Ervin’s 28th Ward.