The Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA’s) Plan for Transformation was on full display at the Affordable Housing Bus Tour that kicked off the recent AHF Live conference.
The tour, led by the Chicago Department of Housing, showcased a wide variety of project types as the city seeks to replace the bleak high-rise public housing projects such as Cabrini Green and Stateway Gardens into revitalized mixed-income communities.
One highlight was a stop at Park Boulevard, an ambitious 39-building, 311-unit mixed-income community built where Stateway Gardens once stood. But while Stateway was characterized by the social problems that accompany a high-density concentration of poverty, Park Boulevard mixes townhomes, condos, and rental housing among affordable units, CHA-replacement units, and market-rate units.
Doug Guthrie, president of Kimball Hill Urban Centers, treated the participants to a presentation on Park Boulevard, characterizing the challenges and rewards of redeveloping the troubled Grand Boulevard neighborhood of the city’s South Side.
The tour ended at the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences, formerly known as Near North Apartments, where participants toured the facilities, led by developer Mercy Housing Lakefront. Renowned architect Helmut Jahn designed the sleek building, which includes 96 single-room occupancy units, with a focus on green building techniques, such as wind turbines and solar panels on the roof.
The tour also spotlighted several other mixed-income communities, from acquisition-rehabilitation towers, scattered-site homeownership units, and new construction developments, including Hilliard Homes, Archer Courts, Hearts United, and Oakwood Shores.