Judge refuses to delay funding vote for Pioneer Bank redevelopment in Humboldt Park
CHICAGO - A Cook County judge on Tuesday refused to delay the redevelopment of the Pioneer Bank building in Humboldt Park, a part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s signature Invest South/West program.
Judge Caroline Moreland ruled the Hispanic Housing Development Corp. has no legal standing to seek a temporary restraining order to prevent Chicago City Council from voting later this month to award $13 million in tax increment financing to Park Row Development.
The Hispanic Housing Development had submitted a proposal to redevelop the long-vacant property at the corner of North Avenue and Pulaski Road. But the nonprofit claimed the city’s Department of Planning and Development "arbitrarily, capriciously, and unfairly" chose Park Row’s less-expensive proposal instead last December.
The city’s Finance Committee is set to vote on the TIF funding for the Park Row project April 17, and then it’s set to get a full City Council vote April 19.
Paul Balik, the attorney representing the Hispanic Housing Development, said he was "disappointed" with the judge’s ruling.
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The Pioneer Bank redevelopment is part of the Invest South/West program, designed to pump nearly a billion dollars in private and public money into developments in the city’s most neglected areas.
In its lawsuit, the Hispanic Housing Development accused the city of unfairly favoring Park Row over themselves — an experienced developer that gave a more costly, but more accurate, proposal for the project.
Under Park Row’s plan, the vacant Pioneer Bank at the northwest corner of North Avenue and Pulaski Road would be turned into office space and a Latino cultural center. The adjoining property would get a nine-story, 75-unit residential building with offices for Humboldt Park Family Health and a possible library branch.
Park Row initially claimed the whole project would cost $53.9 million, but the developer has since divided the project into two phases and increased the cost of the first phase, the redevelopment of the bank, from $15.5 million to $21.1 million.
The second phase will be the residential development on the empty lot, but it’s unclear how much public money Park Row will ask for that phase.
Park Row was founded in 2020 by Luis Puig and Matt Mosher, a former chief construction officer for the Chicago Housing Authority, who donated $5,000 to Lightfoot’s reelection campaign.
Moreland is set to hear more arguments on Hispanic Housing Development’s lawsuit on May 1.