An interagency partnership between the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) will bring mixed-income housing developments co-located with library branches to three communities in Chicago. This model is expected to benefit and strengthen each of the communities and provide a space that everyone can enjoy.
Northtown Apartments in West Ridge and Independence Apartments in Irving Park, which are being created in partnership with Evergreen Real Estate Group, will each deliver 30 public housing and 14 affordable units as well as library facilities that will offer programs and spaces for area children and families.
The third project is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Roosevelt Square by Related Midwest. It is slated to include 73 mixed-income units with library facilities.
“The Chicago Housing Authority is focused on providing housing and other opportunities that enhance the lives of our residents while helping to build strong, vibrant neighborhoods,” says CHA CEO Eugene Jones Jr. “Under the leadership of mayor Rahm Emanuel, this innovative partnership with Chicago Public Library will provide residents of all ages with quality housing options and a community anchor of world-class design that will serve them for years to come.”
The three developments are going through the city approval process, with final approval expected in September. Construction is slated to start at the end of 2017 and be completed by the end of 2018.
Each project will have a different funding package with several components that may include CHA funds, tax-exempt bonds, city of Chicago tax-increment financing, 4% and 9% low-income housing tax credits, and donation tax credits.
The city’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), CHA, and CPL co-hosted a design contest to find the most innovative ideas for the co-located housing and libraries. All three of the winning architects, announced in March, have deep Chicago roots. John Ronan Architects will design the Independence Apartments and its library branch, Perkins+Will will design the Northtown Apartments and its library branch, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) will design the Roosevelt housing and library branch project.
The architects will work with the project developers to begin the community engagement process to come up with the final designs to meet each community’s needs. CHA, CPL, and DPD also will host design workshops within each community.
"We see our partnership with CHA as a wonderful opportunity to not only enhance civic engagement and give our patrons a 21st century library, but also to bring world-class architecture to our neighborhoods," says CPL commissioner Brian Bannon. "These libraries will incorporate traditional library services as well as early learning play spaces, YOUmedia digital media labs for teens, and the award-winning programs and services that allow our branch libraries to serve as community anchors."