(CBS) — Some residents of Chicago’s largely Latino Pilsen neighborhood say they’ll take their fight over a 500-unit luxury condo development on land owned by the Jesuits all the way to the Pope, if it comes to that.
About a dozen activists from the neighborhood, just south of the UIC campus, showed up Friday at the Lincoln Park headquarters of the Jesuits. One protester said Jesus didn’t take advantage of the poor, but that’s exactly what the Jesuits are doing.
Rosemary Sierra says she’s lived in the area for 60 years and she’s only leaving in a hearse.
“Jesus taught us to be kind and love our neighbor. Frankly I don’t know what Bible the Jesuits are reading,” she said.
Nelson Sosa, of the Pilsen Alliance, said the concern is that 500 luxury condos will ultimately price long-time Pilsen residents out of their homes.
“We are outraged, we are mad, we are disappointed at the hypocrisy of the Jesuits, who are not-for-profit, who don’t pay taxes when its convenient to them, but when it turns to a real estate deal, they’re just business people,” he said.
Sosa said they’re not against development.
“If we have to go to the Pope, who is a Jesuit, we’re going to go to him,” he said.
The land slated for the development is a 7-acre parcel at 18th and Bishop Streets. A factory that once stood there was taken down with TIF money and the Jesuits bought the land for $6 million in 2009.
Said Sosa: “If that’s not speculation, what is?”
They also fault the alderman, Danny Solis, for his support of the development, saying he took campaign money from the developer and kept quiet about the deal until after the election.
In a statement, the alderman’s office says there will be meetings in the future between the developers and community organizations.
The Jesuits have declined to comment.