Milwaukee Avenue ‘Twin Towers’ New Symbols of Gentrification

Construction cranes at ‘Twin Towers’ site. (DNAinfo)

By Lynda Lopez 

Every day, on my way to the California blue line station, I note a new level has gone up at the Milwaukee Avenue ‘Two Towers.’ I stare at the construction cranes from the train platform and think about the way this new development will change the Milwaukee Avenue corridor. Soon, all I’ll be able to see from the train platform are these imposing 11-and-12-story towers, these new symbols of gentrification and displacement in Logan Square. The faces waiting on the train platform seldom look like me anymore. I look for familiarity in a sea of whiteness.

Symbols of the changing neighborhood are prevalent throughout Logan Square. From the new Hopewell Brewing to conspicuous gatherings of mostly white people at new art galleries. Demolitions of houses replaced by luxury single-family homes are becoming common. My friend and I drive down Fullerton Avenue and wonder how many of the long-time businesses will exist a few years from now. “Tony’s and Carnicerias Jimenez will be replaced by a Trader Joe’s or Mariano’s,” we half-jokingly say. Everything that is coming into Logan Square is catering to a new demographic: white and young. In with the new, out with the old is the implied message.

When discussing the new Logan Square, people often throw around the word “revitalization.” Revitalization is simply a euphemism for the displacement of people. There is nothing quite as violent as the erasure of community. Whether you are forcibly removed or leave after your surroundings become unrecognizable, gentrification is violence. Having to question whether you belong or will belong a few years down the road in a place you have called home is violence. No aldermen or academic can convince me that what’s happening in Logan Square is anything but.