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Uptown in the News  

January 7, 2005
Wilson Yards Plan Heads to Council
By Mark Ruda

The formality of a city council approval is the next step for the controversial $113-million Wilson Yards redevelopment project, which will bring a Target store and 12-screen movie theater to the Uptown community's gateway at 4400 N. Broadway. The city council's zoning committee was the latest to endorse the project, which already received a favorable recommendation from the plan commission as well as a $26.5-million tax increment financing package from the c community development commission.

The sticking point to developer Peter Holsten's 702,000-sf project has been a pair of 10-story multifamily buildings along Montrose Avenue. One building will have 71 units at affordable rents for lower-income households while the other building will be a 70-unit senior-housing tower. The community has been polarized by the issue, as opponents argue whether there is too much or too little affordable housing in a gentrifying community.

"The major bulk of this project is the retail and movie portion, which was very important to the community," says 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller. Business and property owner Thomas Bissonnette, co-chair of the Broadway Merchants Association, agrees with her assessment that the current retail area has lacked critical mass.

"It's been a poor business area," Bissonnette said, who runs a book store out of a building he owns at 4441 N. Broadway, across the street from the 5.7 acre Wilson Yards site.

Formerly a Chicago Transit Authority maintenance garage, the Wilson Yards site became available after a 1996 fire destroyed the facility. The CTA also has a Red Line stop at Wilson Avenue.

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