Nine vacant buildings are being renovated to provide 30 affordable apartments in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
The effort is part of the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP’s) “Reclaiming Southwest Chicago” campaign. The organization is working with Brinshore Development on the scattered-site project.
“Our goal is to acquire, rehab, and reoccupy 100 vacant and abandoned units in the neighborhood,” said Harry Meyer, director of property reactivation for SWOP. “This 30-unit phase is great because it brings us almost halfway there. There is still more work to be done.”
The Chicago Lawn community was one of the hardest hit communities in the in the Midwest during the foreclosure crisis. Reclaiming Southwest Chicago seeks to restore Southwest Chicago from foreclosures and vacant properties by keeping existing families in their homes and transforming vacant properties into new homes.
The latest effort is being financed largely through U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. (USBCDC), a U.S. Bank subsidiary, which is investing $5.9 million in low-income housing tax credit equity and providing a $6.8 million construction loan to the $8.8 million project.
Bank officials cited the importance of the project. “Often, revitalizing these scattered properties fills in the neighborhood holes and completes the fabric of the communities," said Rob Wasserman, senior vice president at USBCDC.
The nine buildings provide two one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, 10 three-bedroom, and two four-bedroom units. Four units will be fully disabled-accessible.
The units will be home to residents earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. Rent will range from $270 to $1,005 a month. Construction on the buildings over a six-block area is expected to be complete in June 2017.
The full-scale renovation of the buildings is unique, challenging, and rarely happens on this scale, according to David Brint, co-founder and principal of Brinshore Development, which has undertaken similar projects in the Illinois communities of Aurora, Bloomington-Normal, and Evanston as well as Milwaukee.
“We need quality housing in large part to stabilize a wonderful, working-class community with terrific housing stock, classic Chicago bungalow,” he said. “We also want to provide quality housing for families who want to stay in the neighborhood. School turnover is a real problem for education of the children so we hope this will help.”
U.S. Bank has invested more than $82 million in eight affordable housing projects that created nearly 750 apartments in the Chicago area since 2008.