New York based Property Markets Group has announced plans to develop an eight acre site in Pilsen, providing 500 apartments aimed at the professional rental market. However, the project may face local resistance.

Chicago, Illinois, April 1 2015: Property Markets Group, the New York based developer, has announced plans to develop a site between 16th and 18th streets and Newberry Avenue and Peoria Street. If successful, the development will add 500 apartments to the Pilsen neighborhood. The plan is likely to ignite arguments about the gentrification of the traditionally working class suburb.

On its website, Property Markets Group says, “The site represents a unique and generational opportunity to develop a one-of-a-kind project strategically located within the city of Chicago, steps from thriving retail, public transportation and several major highway corridors.”

However, already the plan is being scrutinized by residents’ associations. Alex Esparza, executive director of the 18th Street Development Corp, feels that such developments will push rental values up and exclude the area’s traditional working class population. While not wanting the parcel to remain empty, he says, “You see a nice beautiful building, but you have to think that you’re excluding some of the people.”

The deal is not yet signed and papers await to acquire the 7.85 acre site, and Property Markets Group understands that the local community will need to be won over first. The area has a large demand for housing, which might sway the opinion of Daniel Sols, the community Alderman. Once Property Markets Group feels it has this support, the next step will be to buy the parcel from the Chicago branch of the Jesuits, which has held the property since it bought it in 2009.

Steven Lipe, who headed a consortium that tried to buy the site a year ago, agrees there is big demand for housing in the area. He believes that Property Markets Group should seek to develop the site into retail, student housing, and some market-rate apartments.

Property Markets Group currently has 10 residential properties in Chicago listed on its website. These include a 16 unit building near the United Center, a 55 unit property in Oak Park, and a 12 unit building in Old Irving Park. It also has plans for a 120 unit apartment development in Logan Square.

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