City Media Advisory: Sweet Home Chicago’s TIF Purchase Rehab program celebrates first renovated apartment building

Ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 1860 S. Komensky Avenue

North Lawndale Project Adds 26 Affordable Units to Local Housing Inventory

Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Commissioner Andrew J. Mooney, Ald. Michael Chandler (24th) and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), affordable housing advocates, and North Lawndale residents celebrated the formal opening today of the first apartment building to be rehabbed through the city of Chicago’s Multi-Family Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Purchase-Rehab Program. 

The TIF Purchase-Rehab program provides grants to help private developers purchase and rehabilitate abandoned and foreclosed buildings as affordable housing. Grant amounts are determined by the percentage of apartments that are leased at affordable levels to low income-qualified tenants over a 15-year period. Minimum building size is six units and maximum grant amounts are up to 50 percent of a project’s total cost.

The 26-unit building at 1860 S. Komensky Ave. was vacant prior to its $1.47 million gut rehabilitation by Pangea Properties, which received $735,000 in TIF Purchase-Rehab assistance. The 90-year-old, three-story structure was purchased for $275,000 from the non-profit Community Investment Corp. (CIC), which administers the TIF Purchase-Rehab program on behalf of DPD.

Leasing is underway, with half of the building’s one- and two-bedroom apartments designated for households earning less than 50 percent of area median income. Rents range from $695 to $800.

“As one of the largest buildings in the neighborhood, its redevelopment will immediately enhance local property values, public safety, neighborhood aesthetics, and most importantly, access to affordable housing,” Commissioner Mooney said.

The project is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “Five-Year Housing Plan,” which is allocating $1.3 billion to support 41,000 units of housing through 2018. Approximately 700 units are anticipated to be supported through a $35 million commitment to the TIF Purchase-Rehab program.

But the first $1 million to be allocated, has restored 35 apartments in the Ogden/Pulaski TIF district, including 1860 S. Komensky.

“This multi-unit building had been vacant for some time and needed restoration. When approached about using TIF Purchas-Rehab to support redevelopment of this building, I strongly supported it and worked with the Mayor, DPD, and the developer to move the project forward,” Ald. Chandler said.

Though apartment building foreclosure filings in Chicago have reportedly dropped by more than 30% in the last two years, vacant and abandoned apartment buildings continue to plague many neighborhoods. The Sweet Home Chicago Coalition, managed by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, coordinated with the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Burnett, and DPD to help refine the TIF Purchase Rehab program in 2012 as a tool to reoccupy and preserve vacant and foreclosed apartment buildings as affordable homes.

“We are really excited to see the first units come on-line for this program. Thousands of people from community groups all over the city worked hard to get this program passed. It’s great to see TIF funds working to help rebuild our neighborhoods, which are still struggling to recover from the recession,” said Eithne McMenamin, associate policy director  for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

The Sweet Home Chicago Coalition includes Action NOW, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Bickerdike Redevelopment, CCH, CCH, Community Renewal Society, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), Organization of the NorthEast (ONE Northside), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois/Indiana, and Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP).

Community Investment Corporation (CIC) is the Chicago area’s leading lender for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable rental housing.

The City of Chicago’s TIF program allocates new property tax growth within specific areas toward community improvement projects involving schools, public infrastructure, economic development, housing, and other neighborhood needs.

For more information:

Chicago Department Planning and Development (DPD), (312) 744-9267