Revitalization of Julia C. Lathrop Homes
National Park Service Letter Raises Concerns with Demolition Plans
The National Park Service is responsible for evaluating applications for historic tax credits. A December 2015 letter addressed to Lathrop Community Partners explains that the proposed demolition of gateway structures at Diversey and Clybourn is unacceptable for a program designed to encourage preservation of historic structures. The use of historic tax credits has been presented as an essential element in the overall financing plans for the proposed project.
Northwestern Professor Questions Lathrop Plan
Mary Pattillo, a Northwestern University Sociology professor, wrote the following op-ed piece for the Chicago Sun Times questioning the recently approved plan for Lathrop Homes.
Lathrop Planned Unit Development Application Approved by Chicago Plan Commission and Committee on Zoning
The Chicago Plan Commission approved the planned unit development application at its meeting on February 18, 2016 with two dissenting votes. The Committee on Zoning then approved the plan on March 14th. The plan includes the entire site and is divided into three phases. Given that only the buildings included in the first phase are designed, the applicant will be required to come back to the Commission and provide an update before proceeding to and subsequent phases.
Lathrop Community Partners Submits Planned Unit Development Application for Lathrop Homes Redevelopment
At the September 24, 2015 Chicago City Council Meeting Lathrop Community Partners submitted a planned unit development application for the renovation and redevelopment of the Lathrop Homes site.
The plan calls for 1,208 residential units and 50,000 square feet of retail space. The site is divided into five subareas. The maximum building height allowed is 161 feet. The submission does not specify the mix between public, affordable, and market rate units.
Alderman Waguespack’s Letter Urging the Chicago Housing Authority to Abandon Plans for a High Rise Tower on the Lathrop Site-January 2014
Alderman Waguespack sent a letter to the CHA’s new CEO, Michael Merchant, urging the authority to abandon the ill conceived plan to revive public housing high rise towers on the Lathrop Homes site.
Chicago Housing Authority Releases Draft Master Plan for Lathrop
The Chicago Housing Authority recently released a Lathrop Homes Draft Master Plan.
This plan calls for a total of 1,208 units on the site.
The link above is to an informative article on the planning process and opposition to the proposed high-rise on the site.
Hamlin Park Neighbors and Roscoe Village Neighbors Letter to the Chicago Housing Authority Regarding Lathrop Homes
These two neighborhood organizations coauthored a letter to the Chicago Housing Authority expressing their serious concerns with the initial plans for the redevelopment of Lathrop Homes. The letter highlights the inappropriate levels of density and building height included in the plans and the negative implications they would have regarding traffic congestion.
January 2013 Update on the Lathrop Homes Planning Process
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has announced their intention to finalize a plan for the redevelopment of the Lathrop Homes public housing complex, located at Damen and Diversey, by March 2013. Current indications are that the plan will call for approximately 1,300 residential units, including at least one high-rise tower, and multiple eight-story mid-rise buildings.
During the two open house events held by the CHA in November attendees were asked to fill out surveys regarding their views on the proposed development scenarios. The following link has a summary of the survey results:
The development team is attending neighborhood community group meetings in the area over the next month to present results of the survey.
Hamlin Park Neighbors 1/28, 7PM at New Life Community Church located at 2958 N Damen
South Lakeview Neighbors 2/12, 7:30PM at St. Alphonsus Church Basement located at 1429 W Wellington.
They are also planning on scheduling meetings with Roscoe Village Neighbors and West Lakeview Neighbors. I encourage all constituents who are interested in the future of this site and its implications for the surrounding neighborhoods to attend one of these meetings, contact the CHA, and get involved in the process. This may be our last opportunity to influence the plan before it goes in for zoning approval.
Lathrop Homes Construction Photos
The following link has several photos of the Lathrop Homes site during its construction:
Three Proposed Development Scenarios
Lathrop Community Partners, on behalf of their client the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), has prepared three concept plans for the Lathrop Homes site.
The development team presented the development scenarios at New Life Community Church, located at 2958 N Damen, at two recent open house events.
Alderman Waguespack has written a letter to the CHA expressing several concerns over the three concepts and the process to date. The Alderman’s primary concern is the dramatic increase in the number of housing units on the site, from a range of 800-1,200 prescribed in the request for proposals by the CHA, to 1,600 in each of the these scenarios.
Concerned constituents may contact the Chicago Housing Authority at:
or the Mayor’s Office at:
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) sent both Alderman Waguespack and Alderman Moreno a letter dated 11/27/12 in response to questions about the planning process. On the question of density, the letter states that,
“The benefits of each scenario are evident; however, CHA has determined that the optimal number of total units for the development is up to 1,300 units. Through the ongoing public input process, we will continue to consider options for density levels in order to determine the ideal plan for the future Lathrop community.”
Based upon the input we have received, most people will agree that 1,300 is an improvement over 1,600. However, we think it is important to note that the three scenarios initially were portrayed as having a range of units from 1,322 to 1,610. Rather than interpreting the letter as indicating a decrease of 300 units, it is more appropriate to portray it as approving an increase of 100 units without any explanation as to how or why this increase would benefit the surrounding community. This planning process has been designed to place as much upward pressure on density as possible, which explains why the units counts for each scenario were set at 1,600 prior to the November open houses. Alderman Waguespack continues to support the premise that the discussion of appropriate density for the site should focus on the 800 to 1,200 unit range and that 800 should be an equally viable alternative to 1,200 at this point.
Related Midwest, the lead developer of Lathrop Community Partners, is playing the same role on the team that is redeveloping Roosevelt Square for the Chicago Housing Authority. A comparison of the proposed levels of density for this project and Lathrop Homes illustrates the excessive level of density proposed for Lathrop. The following table shows that the proposed density for Lathrop is 3.4 times greater than that for Roosevelt Square.
Despite the fact that Roosevelt Square is less than half the distance to the Loop and has walkable connections to the EL the proposed density at Lathrop is more than three times greater.
The discussion of revitalizing Lathrop Homes dates back to 2000. The following document presents a chronology of changes in the CHA’s Plan for Transformation regarding the status of Lathrop prepared by Janet L Smith, Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy and Co-Director, Nathalie P. Voorhees Center at the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago.