The Nancy Franco-Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building is a five-story, approximately 23,000 SF community arts and residential center on the 2700 Block of West Division Street in the heart of the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Paseo Boricua offers 24 affordable apartments reserved for people earning 30 and 60 percent of the area median income; a 99-seat multi-media theater for film, theatre, and concert performances; and commercial and community spaces on the first floor. A mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom live/work apartments are on the second through fifth floors.

Designed as a modern representation of the vibrant Puerto Rican cultural roots of Humboldt Park, Paseo Boricua consists primarily of precast concrete construction, featuring hollowcore planks, precast beams, precast walls, and precast columns. The precast structure provides a durable structure that is largely exposed on the building’s interior that was also erected quickly. Exterior walls are constructed with a combination of non-bearing cold-formed metal framing and non-bearing concrete masonry fire walls. The building foundations consist of cast-in-place shallow footings and cast-in-place perimeter basement walls that are all connected together similar to a mat foundation to accommodate the limited soil capacity.

Project challenges during design and construction included poor soils, a very tight site that originally included zero lot line construction on both sides, dilapidated and unclear/unknown existing construction both on the project and adjacent site, and logistical and supply chain challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which erupted in the months leading up to the final round of permit documents and extended through the majority of construction.