Historic Affordable Chicago Building Lands $82M

The property's 583 rooms will be converted into studio apartments.

Lawson House. Image courtesy of Alliant Capital

Tax credit syndicator Alliant Capital has closed on its $82 million investment in the historic 24-story Lawson House in Chicago, an asset owned by Holsten Real Estate Development. Alliant Capital provided funding which will help the owner start a two-year, complex renovation process. The development also received state and local grants and funding to support its $128 million budget. The community will provide 409 studio units and supportive services for individuals with special needs or at risk of homelessness.

Added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2017, the building was completed in 1931 and opened by the Victor F. Lawson YMCA as a single-room hotel for Chicago residents starting with the Great Depression. In 2014, the YMCA sold the property to the current owner, with the expectation that it remained affordable for at least 50 years.

Holsten will preserve the Art Deco building while turning the original 583 single-occupancy units into 409 studio apartments, each with its own kitchen, bathroom and basic furnishing. The owner will also replace all plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, as well as add high-performance windows and low-flow plumbing, and increase insulation and air sealing. The property will be targeting LEED Gold certification.

Community amenities are slated to include social services, laundry facilities, community rooms, a fitness center, a computer lab and a library. An outside charitable organization will also provide regular community meals.

Located at 30 W. Chicago Ave., the property is surrounded by plenty of retail, dining and entertainment options, including several quick-service restaurants adjacent to the building. Downtown Chicago is less than 2 miles south via Michigan Avenue. Washington Square Park is less than half a mile northwest, while a Red Line metro station is adjacent to the building.

Additional aid

LIHTC and Federal Historic Tax Credits made the transaction possible, as Lawson House could have been lost to the market without tax credit financing and subsidies required for housing of homeless individuals, said Alliant Capital Senior Vice President of Originations Jennifer Erixon in a prepared statement.

The project is the eleventh affordable housing community investment that Alliant Capital has made with Holsten, Alliant Executive Vice President Dudley Benoit added.

In August, Walker & Dunlop entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Alliant Capital and its affiliates for a total enterprise value of $696 million.

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