Teardown begins at last Cabrini high rise

March 30, 2011

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(WBEZ/Charlie Billups)
Wrecking crews begin work on the last Cabrini Green building Tuesday
(WBEZ/file)
In its day, the Cabrini Green development was a focal point of public housing debate

Demolition is set to begin Wednesday at the final Cabrini-Green public housing high rise on Chicago’s Near North Side.

The last families in the building on North Burling Street moved out in December. It will take eight weeks to tear down the structure.

Cabrini had suffered from neighborhood and physical decline.

The wrecking ball symbolizes an end of an era, but public housing has not ended at Cabrini: for more than a decade, Cabrini has embarked on a new chapter.

The Chicago Housing Authority’s plan has been to remake the development into a mixed-income community composed of market-rate, affordable and public housing.

There has been debate about the composition of that mix, however. One particular point of controversy has been what to do with hundreds of low-rise units. Residents are fighting to keep them 100 percent public housing.

Cabrini is nestled on prime land – not far from Chicago’s wealthy Gold Coast neighborhood.