Evergreen Invests $13M to Preserve Chicago Affordable Housing

The company acquired two affordable senior housing properties on the North Side, with plans to complete exterior and interior renovations.
One of the affordable senior housing communities Evergreen Real Estate Group acquired, located at Farwell Ave.

One of the affordable senior housing communities Evergreen Real Estate Group acquired, located at 1420 W. Farwell Ave. in Chicago

Chicago—In the midst of the U.S. affordable housing crisis, Evergreen Real Estate Group is working to preserve two affordable senior housing communities in Chicago. Located on Chicago’s North Side in the Rogers Park neighborhood, the two properties will undergo a full renovation over the next 12 months.

Evergreen also secured a 20-year extension of the properties’ Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract, which will maintain the affordability of the residences through 2036.

“Chicago, like many cities across the country, is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis, so the preservation of the city’s existing affordable housing stock–particularly communities dedicated to seniors–is more vital than ever,” said Steve Rappin, president of Chicago-based Evergreen, which will manage both properties. “The extension of the Section 8 program at each community will allow current residents to remain in their homes and give Chicago seniors a viable housing option as rents in the city continue to climb.”

He added that the properties were attractive because of their location near transit and other amenities.

“Chicago’s north side has seen the loss of many affordable units in recent year  as older buildings have been renovated and marketed toward a ‘millennial’ renter group,” Rappin told MHN. “The acquisition and rehabilitation of Farwell and Jarvis maintains affordability on the north side, and helps ensure that 85 low-income elderly households will be able to remain in attractive, walkable neighborhoods as they age.”

The two properties, a 45-unit building at 1420 W. Farwell Ave., and a 40-unit building at 1345 W. Jarvis Ave., were constructed more than 80 years ago and haven’t been updated since, Rappin added.

Each property has a mix of studio and and one-bedroom units with a resident lounge, computer room and laundry facility. The renovation will include extensive structural and mechanical improvements to the buildings, including updated plumbing and electrical. Common areas, corridors and individual units will also be updated.

“The rehab will reconfigure space to create more modern layouts. For example, many units currently have small kitchens that are separated from the living rooms and difficult to maneuver in. Many of these kitchens will be opened up to create a larger kitchen and living space, adding countertops in the process,” Rappid said.

Evergreen will also make elevator repairs and retrofit certain units to be fully accessible.

“It’s our goal to modernize each community in a way that facilitates independent living and fosters a strong sense of community among the seniors who call these buildings home,” Rappid said.

He added that “nine units will be made fully accessible and nine more will be made adaptable. The buildings were not originally designed with accessibility in mind.”

Senior residents will also have access to an onsite service coordinator to arrange nurse visits and social programming, including bingo and movie screenings. Shuttle service will also be provided to nearby shopping and dining spots, but residents who want to travel on their own are nearby to bus and rail lines.

Other recent transactions from Evergreen include a completed $3.3 million renovation of a Dixon, Ill.-based affordable housing community in May, and the $8.8 million development of an affordable senior housing community in Chicago’s Englewood area last December.