CHICAGO — The City of Chicago is being sued and accused of mishandling an Invest South/West Project in Humboldt Park.
Many people want to see the landmark building at North and Pulaski become the cultural hub it once was.
A plan is in the works but a lawsuit questions how the city is going about it.
The Historic Pioneer Bank Building has sat vacant for many years.
“The more we got information from the city, the more outrageous it looked,” Paul Roldan with the Hispanic Housing Development Corp. said.
Invest South/West is one of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s signature programs to revitalize neglected neighborhoods on the South and West sides.
Team Pioneros is a $54 million project that would turn the dilapidated building on the corner of North Avenue and Pulaski into a cultural hub complete with office and residential space.
“I think Invest South/West is a terrific program, a great concept, but it’s broken,” Roldan said.
He said the city wrongfully turned down his firm’s proposal for the project, awarding it to Park Row Development.
“When they won, we were a little astounded at the result of that,” Roldan said.
They filed a 37-page complaint alleging “the city acted arbitrarily, capriciously and unfairly in accepting a fiscally lowball and facially irresponsible bid.”
It also alleges the project will “cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars more than Park Row represented in its bid.”
HHDC’s lawsuit against the city and Park Row Development could stop the Invest South/West project while a judge reviews it.
“What may come out of that is I suspect they either give us the project or they’ll have a new RFP, one or another,” Roldan said.
The city said they don’t comment on pending litigation.
The founder of Park Row Developments hasn’t returned WGN’s request for comment.
An emergency hearing is scheduled for Monday.