Zoning Commission To Consider 80-Unit Josephite Townhouse Development in Michigan Park

As featured in Urban Turf 

Four months after a Zoning Commission hearing, rounds of conversation with city agencies and neighbors, and testimony and submittal of new and revised materials, the Commission could approve an 80-townhouse development planned in Michigan Park next month.

The development by EYA and the St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart would deliver 80 three-story townhouses to a portion of the grounds of the Josephite’s Seminary bound by 12th, Allison, Sargent, 13th, and Varnum streets (map).

New rendering of the development as seen from Allison Street
Previous rendering of the development as seen from Allison Street

In the final design, the applicant and architect KTGY Group amended the materiality and design of the side facade of the end units facing streets and added and revised architectural details to enhance the compatibility of the new houses with the existing rowhouses in the neighborhood. Wrap-around porches will remain on some of the new homes based on recommendations from the Office of Planning, despite that not being a prevalent style in the neighborhood. The roof slopes have also been made more symmetrical at the front and back of the houses and will also be designed solar-ready, giving prospective buyers the option of having panels installed prior to move-in.

New rendering of a private alley looking toward Webster Street

Early neighborhood opposition led the original plans for the development to be nearly halved, going from a proposed 150 townhouses to 80 and increasing the open space offered to a total of 2.5 acres. In documents filed with the Commission, the applicant confirmed a covenant against any further development of the property, assuring that the public open space will remain as such into perpetuity. The applicant also offered extensive justification for the density on the site, which many in the neighborhood took exception to, and spoke to the concerns surrounding traffic flow in and out of the neighborhood.

Ten of the townhouses will be set aside for inclusionary zoning (IZ), with 6 three- and four-bedrooms for households earning up to 50 percent of median family income (MFI) and 4 four-bedrooms for households earning up to 80 percent MFI. The development team will also apply to designate the Seminary building and grounds as a historic landmark prior to being granted occupancy certificates for the new development.