The initial phase in the ambitious redevelopment of the former Julia C. Lathrop Homes has opened with 414 market-rate, affordable, and public housing units along with 5 acres of public green space and a new riverfront.
The $176 million project was developed by Related Midwest along with partners Heartland Housing, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).
The first phase involved the rehabilitation of 16 historic buildings with 355 units and the construction of a new building with 59 units.
“Related is proud of our long history of successfully preserving and developing affordable and mixed-income communities that serve the needs of all residents and the neighborhood,” said Curt Bailey, president of Related Midwest. “For Lathrop, we worked closely with our partners to revitalize and reimagine a historic riverfront community rooted in a rich cultural past. Through the Lathrop Partners public-private partnership, we have brought to life the first phase of a vibrant mixed-income community that everyone can call home.”
The team is leading a multiyear, multiphase revitalization of Lathrop, one of Chicago’s largest and most architecturally significant New Deal-era public housing projects. When all phases are complete, Lathrop will have 1,116 residences, with 494 units leased at market rates, 222 offered to working families that meet affordable housing guidelines, and 400 reserved for CHA households.
“Heartland Housing believes that society is better for everyone when all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential,” said Michael Goldberg, executive director of Heartland Housing. “The very namesake of this development, Julia C. Lathrop, was a pioneer in social services and civil rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her work helped shed light on the struggles and needs of everyday people. The core values of providing equity and opportunity for all are rooted within this very campus.”
Joy Aruguete, CEO of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., added, “It is not only through the collaborative work of our partners, but more important, the engagement of residents and community members, that Lathrop serves as a model of how a successful mixed-income community can be built and thrive to serve as a place that many Chicagoans can call home.”
The flagship amenity at Lathrop is the riverfront park that’s been reimagined by award-winning landscape architectural firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Incorporating inspiration from the original landscaping plan created by Jens Jensen, the outdoor spaces include Lathrop’s iconic Great Lawn, a 2-acre green space at the heart of the community that provides a pedestrian connection between Clybourn Avenue and the riverfront. Other improvements include a quarter-mile pedestrian riverwalk with native plantings, pathways, bridges, and a dock with a kayak launch; an updated Elizabeth Wood Park with a new playlot; and a new riverfront dog park.
Financing for the first phase includes approximately $61.5 million in low-income housing tax credit equity and $20.5 million in historic tax credit equity from Bank of America Merrill Lynch; $60 million in CHA capital funds; and $22 million in an Illinois Housing Development Authority/Department of Housing and Urban Development risk-share permanent loan funded by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust.