About a dozen affordable housing advocates who have been occupying the planned site of a luxury apartment tower in Uptown were “evicted” Wednesday, prompting a march to the 46th Ward alderman’s office and three arrests, according to officials and organizers.
The demonstration was part of a last-ditch effort to halt construction of a controversial development at 4600 N. Marine Drive, a former parking lot for Weiss Memorial Hospital, located just north.
Police showed up about 7:45 am, according to Adam Gottlieb of the Chicago Union of the Homeless, one of those staying at the encampment. After about 12 people were kicked out, a group, which grew to about two dozen, marched to Ald. James Cappleman’s office, 4544 Broadway about 10:30 am
“Cars honked their horns for us all the way there and back,” Gottlieb said.
The group remained at the site Wednesday afternoon, planning their next move, Gottlieb said.
“We took our anger and our love for each other to his office and then we charged back here,” he said.
Earlier, about 8:30 am, Gottlieb, Marc Kaplan and Patrick Baranovskis were detained by police and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing, according to Gottlieb, who said it happened because they refused to leave, and the cops wanted them out.
They were not handcuffed or brought to the station, according to Gottlieb, who said their court dates are set for October.
“We were all camping here as a form of nonviolent protest,” Gottlieb said.
Kaplan is one of the organizers of Northside Action for Justice while Baranovskis is also with the Chicago Union of the Homeless. The groups want to call attention to the loss of affordable housing throughout the neighborhood, and they plan to keep pressuring city officials and developers on the issue.
Gottlieb said they were against this because it’s creating “gentrification that is cutting down the racial and economic diversity of the area.”
Instead of luxury housing, Gottlieb said the area could be used for expanded health or medical services for the area as it was used during the pandemic or a trauma or “harm reduction center.”
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Developer Lincoln Property Co. plans to construct a 12-story, 314-unit building on the site.
Derailing the project seems unlikely, as Lincoln secured a green light last year from city officials for its plan, and just began moving construction materials and concrete barriers to the site.
Rents at the new building will range from $1,700 to $2,200 a month for one-bedroom apartments, and $2,900 to $3,000 a month for two bedrooms, according to written responses from the developer published by Cappleman after a community meeting held last year to discuss Lincoln’s plan. .
Cappleman, who supported Lincoln’s proposal did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday but a spokesperson last week said the deal will ultimately boost the neighborhood’s affordable housing portfolio.
The protesters remain defiant.
“Enough is enough,” Gottlieb said.