JV Breaks Ground on Chicago Affordable Community

A partnership between Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate Group is behind the 58-unit development.

Auburn Gresham Apartments rendering. Image courtesy of Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate Group

A joint venture of Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate broke ground on a $43 million mixed-use affordable housing project in Chicago. Auburn Gresham Apartments will be a two-building, 58-unit community located in Auburn Gresham, Ill. The asset is the first of more than 10 construction projects to progress through the city’s INVEST South/West initiative.

The Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) and Department of Planning and Development (DPD) are financing the development with $18 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, $18 million in Tax Increment Financing and a $2.5 million HOME loan. A land write-down also contributed some $180,000.

Initial 2021 plans for the property featured only one building after a DPD request for proposals. After several community workshops, the design shifted and moved half of the units to a second city-owned site to ensure the scale of the development fit in contextually with the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are honored to have been selected to provide this critical new housing for low-income residents of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, along with much-needed venues for new retail, dining and community gathering,” David Block, director of development for Evergreen Real Estate Group, told Multi-Housing News. “The project team has assembled an exceptional group of developers, designers and builders, including a number of minority-led firms.”

READ ALSO: Financing Affordable Development: Overcoming the Impossible

The first apartment community is located at 79th and Green Street, while the second is on 79th and Halsted Street. Both lots were vacant before groundbreaking.

The three-story building, located at 838 W. 79th St., will contain 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as 5,200 square feet of commercial space. The other lot, located at 757 W. 79th St., will house the other 30 units, also ranging from one- to three-bedrooms, and 3,300 square feet of commercial space. Combined, both properties will have 42 parking spaces.

The asset pre-leased the commercial spaces to AYO Foods, a West African food purveyor, as well as KLEO Community Center and The Park Supper Club.

All units in Auburn Gresham Apartments will be affordable with monthly rental costs ranging from $925 to $1,250. As of April, average rent prices in Chicago reached $1,740.

The community is designed by minority-led firm Nia Architects and Ross Barney Architects. Construction is anticipated to take a year and half.

Serving the Chicago Community

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Ald. David Moore and other city officials to announce the groundbreaking. Mayor Lightfoot implemented INVEST South/West as an urban revitalization strategy directing $1.4 billion in public and private investments towards 10 South and West side Chicago communities. Auburn Gresham Apartments is the first INVEST South/West project to attain financing, land entitlements and City Council approval.

Other investments in the Auburn Gresham community include $11 million worth of streetscape improvements, a $35 million Metra station, a $2.6 million grant to re-open Save A Lot foods, $10 million in assistance for the Health Hub and another $500,000 grant to St. Sabina Church.

Further INVEST South/West RFP projects expected to break ground this year include properties in Englewood, Austin, Humboldt Park and North Lawndale.

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