Mount Prospect residents raise rent concerns at proposed downtown apartment development
Sirens no longer sound at Mount Prospect's former downtown fire and police headquarters.
But residents are beginning to raise alarms about the lack of mixed-income apartment units in a development proposed for the vacant property at 112 E. Northwest Highway, on a parcel known as Block 56.
On Thursday, the village's planning and zoning commission recommended the village board approve the proposal for HQ Residences, named in honor of the former headquarters.
T2 Capital Management LLC and Harlem Irving Companies plan to purchase the fire and police headquarters property from the village for about $2 million, demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a six-story structure offering 88 luxury apartments. Plans also allocate 3,500 square feet for a sit-down restaurant with outdoor seating.
The petitioner is the same developer that built a downtown luxury apartment development, 10 North Main, at Main Street and Central Road.
"This is a textbook transportation-oriented development," said Tom Lowe, representing the petitioner, pointing out its proximity to the Metra station and downtown amenities.
Lowe said the apartments will be offered at market rates.
Resident Linda Waycie asked that some of the apartments be designated for mixed-income families as the rent would be too high for many people.
"This building is in a TIF district using public money, so mixed-income housing allows housing for more residents who work here and want the same opportunity to live downtown that others who can afford higher rents do," she said.
Lowe said monthly rents at 10 N. Main are $1,640 for studios, $1,900 for one bedroom, $2,780 for two bedrooms, and $3,300 for three bedrooms.
Community Development Director Bill Cooney said the village's housing stock is 25% affordable, including downtown apartments.
"If there is a housing stock that clearly was understocked, it was kind of more of the higher-end rental apartments," he said.
Cooney said until the recent downtown apartment developments, there hadn't been a new apartment built in the village in nearly 40 years. He added, the village is in the process of preparing an affordable housing white paper evaluating existing inventory and comparing it to surrounding communities.
"From my own personal experience with my daughter trying to find an affordable place to live in Mount Prospect, she couldn't do it," planning and zoning Commissioner Lisa Griffin said. "And I do live on the south end of town. The rents are pretty high."
Commission chairman Joseph Donnelly said the issue is not a zoning matter and is beyond the scope of the commission.