The new public library and public housing building planned for what’s left of Little Italy is about to get started.
The first construction permits have been issued for the Roosevelt Square Library building at 1342 West Taylor Street.
FOUNDATIONS-ONLY PERMIT FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION OF A 7-STORY 86,976 SQUARE FOOT MIXED USE BUILDING WITH LIBRARY AND 73 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS WITH PARKING LOT AND SITE IMPROVEMENTS.
As we reported over the summer, this project is a public-private partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority, Related, and Bickerdike Redevelopment. The design is New York-based SOM.
The notion is that by combining public housing and public library in one building, the city can save money, and also locate city services very close to some of the people who presumably need them most. And having a library in your building makes going to the library a lot easier than having to slog a quarter way across the city on a CTA bus. No offense to the CTA.
This building is part of the CHA’s ongoing redevelopment of its ABLA Homes, and has been given a less-than-enthusiastic reception by everyone from architecture critic Blair Kamen to hundreds of neighbors unafraid to put their names on a petition. The concerns are a selection from the grab bag of usual development complaints: fear of changing property values, traffic, and lack of community input. As we have been following this development from afar, we’re not qualified to say if the concerns are legitimate or not.