Garfield Green Apartments is one of 11 developments that received housing tax credit allocations from the Chicago Department of Housing in March.
Perkins and Will Garfield Green Apartments is one of 11 developments that received housing tax credit allocations from the Chicago Department of Housing in March.

Chicago is advancing nearly $400 million in affordable housing developments through its improved, more targeted, and transparent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) allocation process, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced at the end of March.

Demand outweighed supply, with 11 developments selected from a pool of 43 applications. The projects selected will create almost 1,100 units of affordable housing in Pilsen, Humboldt Park, Woodlawn, and several other communities across the north, south, and west sides of the city, reflecting the diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“Taken together, these projects represent the dynamic innovation and partnership our city is bringing to expand affordable housing across each of Chicago’s communities and neighborhoods,” said Lightfoot in a statement. “Our future rests on keeping Chicago safe and affordable for every family and resident, providing them stability and foundation we all need to lay down roots, start a family, grow a business, and pursue our dreams.”

The developments, which will be a mix of new construction and rehabilitation, are the first selected under the city’s improved qualified allocation plan (QAP). The 2019 QAP was designed with unprecedented transparency and for the first time specific market types to receive priority consideration: opportunity (high-income) area projects that preserve existing buildings and create new affordability; redevelopment (low-income) area projects that catalyze investment; and transitioning (gentrifying) area projects that preserve affordability for long periods of time.

In the past, a lack of consistency on a QAP release date had hampered the development community’s ability to plan for new affordable housing, according to the city. The Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) will update its QAP and host a funding round every other June, with the next round in June 2021.

“Federal tax credits are the heart and soul of the affordable housing community—they’re the biggest opportunity we have to make an impact,” said DOH commissioner Marisa Novara. “This year’s QAP gave clear selection criteria to ensure tax credits go to projects that meet Chicago’s most pressing housing needs.”

Total development costs for the selected projects are estimated at $398 million and include all public and private resources: $13.2 million in 9% LIHTCs to generate an estimated $126.2 million in private resources and equity; an estimated $60.4 million in federal subsidy; and $23.5 million in tax increment financing.

The 11 selected developments include:

  • Lawson House, 30 W. Chicago Ave.
  • Roosevelt Square 3B, 1201 W. Taylor St.
  • 43 Green Phase 1, 321 E. 43rd St.
  • Park Station Lofts, 6300 S. Blackstone Ave.
  • The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind Residences, 1800 W. Roosevelt Road
  • Garfield Green Apartments, 201 S. Kedzie Ave.
  • Metropolitan Apartments, 3557 W. Lawrence Ave.
  • Encuentro Square, 3745 W. Cortland St.
  • 1850 S. Racine, 1850 S. Racine Ave.
  • West Haven Park IID, 1951-59 W. Lake St.
  • Park Boulevard 3B, 43 W. 36th St.

One of the developments focused on innovation is the Garfield Green Apartments in East Garfield Park, which was selected as a winner in the global Reinventing Cities competition by C40, a collaboration of international cities committed to addressing climate change. The team behind the development includes nonprofit developer Preservation of Affordable Housing, Skender Construction, Perkins and Will, Nia Architects, dbHMS, Terra Engineering, RME, and Omni Ecosystems.

The team will build 77 homes, 9,000 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of public open space, and a 12,000-square-foot public plaza in two phases. The construction of Garfield Green Apartments is expected to start in late 2020. Modular construction materials will be fabricated in Little Village; all of its energy needs will be supplied by solar panels; and a majority of its green roof will grow food and mitigate stormwater. The second phase will be a homeownership development and is planned for 2022.