Artist housing and theater project ready to rise in Humboldt Park
The first construction permit has been issued for a five-story affordable housing development located at 2709 W. Division Street in Humboldt Park.
Known as the Nancy Franco Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building, the $15.1 million project calls for retail space and a black-box community theater topped by 24 affordable live-work apartments for artists earning 30 to 60 percent of the area median income.
The unit breakdown includes 8 studios, 8 one-bedrooms, and 8 two-bedroom apartments. The plan also features a ground-floor management office, community space for residents, a roof deck, and parking for 14 vehicles.
Paseo Boricua Arts Building is a joint venture between the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Brinshore Development. The Cultural Center purchased the property from the Ashland Sausage Company back in 2013.
The architecture of the new building includes "welcoming" arches across its first level, while the upper floors are "punctuated by color that denotes balconies and slatted wood frames that create a civic scale for the complex," according to the project description from Chicago architecture firm UrbanWorks.
In 2019 the city approved $4.2 million in Tax Increment Financing, a $4.2 million multi-family loan, and $261,000 in low-income housing tax credits that will generate $2.5 million in equity for the Paseo Boricua Arts Building.
Last November, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an ordinance allocating an additional $6 million in tax-exempt housing bonds for the Humboldt Park project. The Illinois Housing Development Authority is also contributing funds.
"This has been a long time coming," Mike Roane of Brinshore told Urbanize. "We're close to closing on financing and should start construction in the next couple of weeks." The work is expected to take roughly 16 months, he said.
Paseo Boricua is Brinshore's fourth project in Chicago that combines affordable and artist-targeted housing. Previous developments include the KLEO Art Residences in Washington Park, the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative in Grand Crossing, and Logan Square's Hairpin Lofts.
"We've done a number of projects like this and found that it's a catalyst for the neighborhood," said Roane. "When you give artists an opportunity to live in the area they contribute to the neighborhood, its aesthetic, and culture."