CHICAGO-Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. will build 57 affordable multifamily rental units in the 2500 and 3200 blocks of W. Division Street in a $19-million project that will be helped by tax increment financing and a write-down of city-owned land. The nearly $1.6 million in tax increment financing and $2.1-million write-down of city-owned lots in the 3200 block of Division Street were endorsed recently by the community development commission.

Bickerdike’s La Estancia development will offer one- to four-bedroom units ranging in rent from $450 to $650 a month, according to department of planning and development officials, which puts them within reach of households earning 50% or less of the area’s median income. The housing for working families is in a redeveloping Humboldt Park area that is seeing three-bedroom condominiums selling in the neighborhood of $350,000, they add.

Tax increment financing is needed to help the nonprofit developer of affordable housing build the 57 units, as well as 12,585 sf of retail space that also will be leased to merchants at affordable rates, over two separate sites, says Colleen Stone of the department of planning and development. “Without TIF assistance, completion of this project would not be feasible,” she says.

While retail space already is being leased for $22 per sf or more east of Western Avenue, La Estancia will offer rates more in line with the $8 per sf to $12 per sf local merchants are used to paying a mile west, says Enrique Salgado, executive director of the Division Street Business Development Association.

The project has been a dream in the Humboldt Park neighborhood for more than a decade, but was stymied in part by a former owner’s unwillingness to develop his property. “What it’s done for the last 25 years was create a very big eyesore,” says 26th Ward Alderman Billy Ocasio. “This will allow people to stay in a community that’s become very hot.”

Bickerdike’s development portfolio includes the 87-unit Harold Washington Co-op about one mile away. The firm has built more than 1,000 affordable units during its 36 years.

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