By Keith Loria, Contributing Writer
Chicago—The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a fixed-income investment company, is providing $11 million to fund substantial rehabilitation of two Chicago-based affordable housing developments.
The two receiving funding are the Hazel Winthrop Apartments, a four-building, scattered-site, affordable housing development built a century ago on Chicago’s North Side, and the Bronzeville Senior Apartments, an affordable housing development that’s part of the Paul G. Stewart campus, built in phases between 1975 and 1996.
“We see both of these as good investments for our portfolio, and both are also job creating,” Stephanie H. Wiggins, HIT’s executive vice president and chief investment officer, tells MHN. “Both of these will create probably over 150 union construction jobs and the economic benefit will reverb throughout the two neighborhoods.”
In addition, the work is expected to have a hand in protecting and preserving housing resources and revitalize the two communities in need.
“At a time when low-income families are struggling more than ever to make ends meet, there has been a drastic reduction in the development of affordable housing,” Wiggins says. “By providing financing for older projects like these, the HIT is utilizing union pension capital to help preserve and upgrade much-needed affordable units that might otherwise be lost.”
For the Hazel Winthrop’s 30 units, HIT is investing $2.3 million, which will go towards capital for renovation work for the major systems.
“There will be a complete substantial rehab and the money will provide refinancing to keep the units affordable for current residents,” Wiggins says. “By recapitalizing and restructuring the debt, they can take advantage of current interest rates on all-time lows and it helps preserve the affordable nature of the project.”
The Bronzeville Senior Apartments, located in the city’s South Lakefront area, will undergo an $8.8 million rehabilitation, which is geared towards redevelopment.
“Bronzville was sinking into the ground so there’s going to be significant foundation work,” Wiggins says. “Our money will raise some of the existing structures, properly repair the soil and construct new units. There will be 90 apartments and six three-story walkups.”
The scope of work includes exterior and interior repairs and upgrades as well as a number of improvements to reduce the building’s environmental impact, including greater insulation, storm water management, energy-saving appliances, and more efficient energy systems.
All of the units in the 11-story high-rise will receive project-based Section 8 rental assistance.
The two properties are just the newest of six Chicago projects that the HIT has helped finance under its Construction Jobs Initiative, representing investments of $56.1 million, which have leveraged $265.9 million of development activity in Chicago in the last three years. All work on the two properties will be performed under collective bargaining agreements with local building and construction trades unions.
“We provide good returns for participants, create union jobs and we help revitalize America’s communities,” Wiggins says. “So far, in the past three years, we have funded 41 projects, created or preserved over 13,000 residential or healthcare units, created over 12,000 jobs, and deployed over $1 billion of capital that has leveraged over $2.1 billion of total development investment.”