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CHICAGO-Gen One Group and Hispanic Housing Development Corp. will build 79 multifamily units on 35 scattered sites in the East Garfield Park community. The city will sell sites it owns, ranging from 1,900 sf to 7,200 sf, for a combined $1.1 million, near its target price.

The combined $19-million project will fill in vacant sites from California to Kedzie avenues, Grand Avenue and Washington Boulevard. Gen One Group will build 39 units, mostly in two-flat and three-flat buildings on 18 parcels while Hispanic Housing Development Corp. will build 40 units on 17 parcels. Hispanic Housing Development Corp. will make four of the units affordable under the city’s housing initiative, but company and city officials note the price range of $210,000 to $240,000 for 1,250-sf to 1,300-sf units already could be considered affordable. Meanwhile, Gen One Group plans to sell its condominiums, ranging from 1,400 sf to 2,300 sf, for an average of $230,000. However, it will offer a two-flat model at $330,000, which will include a rental unit that likely will offer an affordable housing opportunity, the developer says.

The land sale and project was endorsed Tuesday by the community development commission. “This development is long overdue,” says 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett. “This is an area that’s sort of hidden, but it’s a jewel to the community.”

Gen One Group and Hispanic Housing Development Corp. offered the two best proposals out of four received, says department of planning and development deputy commissioner Mary Bonome. Gen One Group, which includes former Chicago Park District chief executive officer David Doig, was formed last year to build multifamily projects in emerging neighborhoods, and is beginning one in the Austin community. Hispanic Housing Development Corp. has developed 1,800 affordable multifamily units and townhouses, and manages 3,500 units.

Although the sites are located in one of the city’s fastest-growing tax increment financing districts, Bonome says, the developers are seeking no city assistance for the projects.

The long-vacant sites have been used by “fly-dumpers” and are covered with weeds, says East Garfield Coalition president Clifton Cooper, whose group supports the projects.

Burnett recalls the city once had another developer, the only one to respond to a previous request for proposals, lined up to build on the sites. “For whatever reasons, it didn’t go,” Burnett says. “I think he was overloaded with other projects.”

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