ONE Northside has officially revoked our support for City Pads Chicago’s 6145 N. Broadway proposed development.
Starting in late 2016, ONE Northside and Edgewater community members had many fruitful discussions with City Pads Chicago’s Founder and Managing Principal, Andy Ahitow, as he purchased and made plans for housing and retail development at 6145 N. Broadway. As we worked with Ahitow, we expressed the need for him to sign a Community Benefits Agreement for the development, which would bring new affordable housing and living wage jobs to the Edgewater neighborhood. The goal of this agreement was to ensure that the community was not harmed by this new development, but received as many benefits as the developer would.
Throughout our discussions with Ahitow regarding the creation of a Community Benefits Agreement, ONE Northside and community members operated in good faith, offering the give and take that comes with negotiation.
During the time of the negotiation, ONE Northside testified on two occasions at City Hall in support of the development based on the commitment from Ahitow regarding the agreement. We were sorely disappointed when in November 2017, Ahitow pulled the plug on our positive progress and went back on his word regarding the agreement. In his email pulling support, Ahitow stated his “commitment” to the elements we talked about, but was unwilling to be held accountable to the community regarding these commitments. Judging by our months of positive movement that quickly shifted to the polar opposite, we know that we cannot trust his word of “commitment.” We are no longer able to support the development that Ahitow and City Pads Chicago wishes to create, as it will be built with zero accountability or input from the Edgewater community.
Below is our official letter pulling our support for the development.
January 8, 2018
Dear Plan Commission and City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards:
Your committees approved a development at 6145 N. Broadway in 2017. We testified in support of said development (on April 20, 2017 and May 9, 2017), but due to recent actions by the developer have been left with no choice but to withdraw such support. As you may know, ONE Northside is a mixed-income, multi-ethnic, intergenerational organization that unites our diverse communities. ONE Northside organizes people from over 100 institutions, as well as individual community residents, from Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown, Ravenswood, North Center, Lake View, and Lincoln Park in Chicago. Because of the values we hold and the people we represent, we cannot continue to be on record supporting this development.
This development will displace a local business and will put upward pressure on neighborhood rents. To counteract these effects we met with the developer, City Pads and its owner Andy Ahitow. We discussed increasing the amount of onsite affordable housing units, mandating that permanent jobs created by the development pay a living wage, and that the developer participate in first source hiring initiatives with neighborhood non-profits for local residents. Since late 2016, we have been meeting with Ahitow regarding these concepts.
Ahitow was receptive to these ideas, and once we agreed on broad parameters he agreed to enter into a community benefits agreement with us to contractual codify these requirements. Ahitow also agreed to increase the onsite affordable housing units to 20% if the CHA would expand their boundaries for rental subsidies to encompass this developments location. In return, we wrote a letter of support to CHA to increase said boundaries and testified in front of your committees to voice our support for the development.
Ahitow seemed to be acting in good faith as after this we worked on the exact contractual language for many months. Once it was time to sign the agreement, Mr. Ahitow sent us an email indicating he would no longer be willing to sign any sort of agreement. Mind you, not that he had issues with the terms, but that he simply refused to contractual commit to any obligations. To us, it is extremely alarming that after many months of building a relationship and working together, that Ahitow would so quickly go back on his word. This causes us to see City Pads as a developer not to be trusted. Again, we felt it important to bring this to your attention as you evaluate this development and any future developments Ahitow and/or City Pads proposes.
ONE Northside Board Member and 48th Ward Resident
CC: Alderman Harry Osterman, 48th Ward
Andy Ahitow, City Pads