Committee members quickly approved a $15 million spend for demolition and remediation of the old Malcolm X College site, a new office for the city’s lobbyists in Washington DC, and a Cabrini Green development with both CHA and affordable housing units.
Attendance: Chairman Joe Moore (49), Vice Chair Greg Mitchell (7), Pat Dowell (3), Sophia King (4), Michelle Harris (8), George Cardenas (12), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Matt O’Shea (19), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Walter Burnett Jr. (27), Milly Santiago (31), Deb Mell (33), James Cappleman (46)
The biggest ticket item of the day had the shortest discussion: the amendment to an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Public Building Commission for more than $5 million in extra city spending on demolition and remediation of the old Malcolm X College site. After a brief explanation from the Department of Fleet and Facility Management’s Jennifer Muss, who said the “extent of abatement required for the facility is more extensive than they anticipated,” aldermen passed $15 million allocation by voice vote. That city contribution comes from a revolving line of credit agreement among the city, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of China and BMO Harris.
The committee also approved a new, more expensive lease for the city’s lobbying office in Washington, D.C. closer to public transit. The previous office rent was about $60,000 per year, but is being demolished, Stephen Stults with the Department of Fleet and Facility Management testified. The two staffers and additional interns that use the space were presented with 15 to 20 potential locations, and toured at least six, all with similar rents. They landed on a 1,700 square foot space on the corner of K Street and Connecticut Avenue near the White House. The rent will rise annually from $78,752 in its first year to $87,778 in the fifth.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27) also won committee approval for a negotiation that would allow the new Xavier apartment building at 625 W. Division St. to add both CHA eligible and affordable units. Typical units go for about $3000 apiece, Burnett said, but under the negotiated deal, 10% will be CHA eligible and 10% will be affordable. “I made a commitment around here because I made people lose their homes when they tore down the [old] building,” Burnett said, referring to the old Cabrini Green housing projects.
The agreement had to go through several hurdles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and with the Housing Authority, Burnett said. He said other developers he’s spoken with in his ward prefer leasing units to the CHA over providing their own affordable units. “CHA pays more money for the units. With the affordable part, we don’t pay them anything,” he said.
Allowing both types of units meant subjecting this building to the 2015 Affordable Requirements Ordinance, the Department of Planning and Development’s Kara Breems said. The carve out is what the committee voted on yesterday.