The popular affordable housing bus tour is once again a part of the agenda at this year’s AHF Live: The Tax Credit Developers’ Summit. For an additional fee, conference attendees can tour a dozen affordable housing properties in Chicago. The circuit will feature a variety of different properties—from mixed-use communities to affordable for-sale homes and a 2007 AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE Readers’ Choice finalist.

The highlight of the tour is lunch at Near North Apartments, soon to be known as the Margot and Harold Schiff Residences. This project, designed by accomplished architect Helmut Jahn, was a finalist in the special-needs category in AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE’S 2007 Readers’ Choice Awards. The city of Chicago donated the land, valued at roughly $4 million, to nonprofit developer Mercy Housing Lakefront, said Molly Sullivan, director of communications for the city’s Department of Housing, which has organized the tour.

The $18 million development includes 96 units for residents earning up to 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). Most residents have incomes below 30 percent of the AMI. Formerly homeless people, people with disabilities, and former public housing residents are among those who live in the community, which features sustainable design and on-site case managers and services.

The tour will make a stop at Park Boulevard, a 311-unit, mixed-income housing development in the Grand Boulevard community on the city’s south side. The HOPE VI project is part of the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA’s) Plan for Transformation. The developer is The Community Builders, Inc.

The community consists of 100 rentals, which replace former CHA units, and 211 for-sale units, 72 of which are affordable. Stateway Associates and Kimball Hill Homes are building singlefamily homes, townhomes, and 17,000 square feet of space on the site. Park Boulevard received bond cap authority funds and low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs).

The circuit also includes a look at Oakwood Shores, a 94-acre mixedincome development. The project, to be built on former CHA sites located in the city’s Oakland community, will consist of 3,000 units, of which 680 are affordable, and 1,000 will serve as CHA replacement units. The project will also include 1,320 market-rate units. The Oakwood Shores project will be completed in two phases, and the construction of a separate mixed-income, forsale component, The Arches at Oakwood Shores, will follow.

Oakwood Shores is receiving funding from the city, LIHTCs, tax increment financing (TIF), and CHA funds.

The Arches at Oakwood Shores will consist of 129 for-sale units. The different structures include single-family homes, row homes, townhomes, and condominiums.

This project is receiving $3.4 million in TIF financing provided by Chicago—a lump sum through a partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, Fannie Mae, and the General Board of Pensions of the United Methodist Church. The partnership created a new $15 million financing facility to support the development of for-sale housing at several of the CHA’s Plan for Transformation sites where developers were unable to obtain conventional TIF loans.

The tour will include a visit of the award-winning Archer Courts, a project that preserved 145 Sec. 8 units for households earning no more than 80 percent of the AMI. The developer of the $11 million project is Community Housing Partners V.

Archer Courts is an affordable housing design darling: It was featured in both the National Building Museum’s exhibit on affordable housing in the summer of 2006 and in Metropolitan Home magazine in 2004.

Architect Landon Bone Baker was honored with the Chicago Design Excellence/Distinguished Building Award from the American Institute of Architects for the project’s design.

These are just a sampling of the innovative developments that are part of the tour. Registration is limited to the first 45 people. The cost is $35 per person. Lunch is included. The tour begins at 9 a.m. on Oct. 24.

The conference will be held Oct. 24-26 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Attendance is limited to affordable housing owners and developers, and government agency staff.

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