Arlington Heights officials say 5% of Arlington 425 units should be cheaper

  • A sketch shows the proposed Arlington 425 development of three buildings where village officials have proposed 18 of the proposed 361 residential units be at rents below market rates.

    A sketch shows the proposed Arlington 425 development of three buildings where village officials have proposed 18 of the proposed 361 residential units be at rents below market rates. Courtesy of Village of Arlington Heights

 
 

Arlington Heights officials recommend 18 -- or 5% -- of the 361 residential units in the proposed Arlington 425 downtown development be rented at below-market rates, according to a report released Friday.

That number is below the 15% threshold set by the village's affordable housing guidelines for large-scale developments, but still more stringent than what developer CCH LLC has proposed.

The village's housing commission will debate the proposal Monday night before issuing a recommendation to the village board, which is set to vote on the project a week later. The commission could accept the recommendation of the village's community development department staff, which has been negotiating with the developer since December, or set a number higher or lower.

Village officials said they're preparing for protests outside village hall early Monday evening, led by those advocating both for and against more affordable units.

The proposed three-building residential and commercial campus would occupy the northern three-quarters of the long-vacant Block 425 parcel -- bounded by Campbell Street, Highland Avenue, Sigwalt Street and Chestnut Avenue. The project calls for a four-story, 54-unit residential building facing Chestnut; a nine-story, 182-unit apartment building with commercial space on the bottom two floors on Campbell; and a 13-story, 125-unit apartment building on Highland that would include a five-story parking garage.

Village board members, who will have final say on Arlington 425, in recent months have called on developers to provide more affordable housing in projects, as opposed to just providing a "fee in lieu" to a village-controlled trust fund.

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The board and housing commission have evaluated projects on a case-by-case basis, as the 15% recommended standard has only been reached on a few projects -- typically niche developers who have utilized multilayered financing including government-sponsored programs, according to Nora Boyer, the village's housing planner.

And the recommended fee developers pay in lieu of actual units -- $75,000 per unit -- has never been attained, she said, with the most recent amount set at $25,000 per unit for an apartment building approved last summer at Kensington Road and Hickory Avenue.

Arlington Heights' housing guidelines haven't been adopted by ordinance.

For Arlington 425, village officials recommend 18 units -- six studios and a dozen one-bedrooms -- be priced for those making at or below 60% of the area median income. That would equate to a single person making $35,580.

They've also proposed the developer pay fees in lieu of nine units at $25,000 per unit, for a total of $225,000. And officials want preference given to current village residents and veterans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The developer's counteroffer calls for 20 units, but for those with 80% of area median income, or a single person making $47,400. CCH would also provide fees in lieu of seven units for a total of $175,000.

For a market rate studio apartment, monthly rent is estimated at $1,385. Under the developer's affordability standard, it would be $1,185. The village's rate would put it at $889.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the first floor Buechner Room of village hall, 33 S. Arlington Heights Road.

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