Stimulus Funds Help Kick Off Affordable Senior Housing Project

Waukegan, Ill.--The assistance of federal stimulus funds allowed Banner Apartments to begin constructing The Residences at Fountain Square outside Chicago.

Waukegan, Ill.–Hindered by the typical financial challenges facing most affordable housing developers in today’s economy, Banner Apartments L.L.C. did not have an easy path to getting The Residences at Fountain Square off the ground in Waukegan, Ill., but with the assistance of federal stimulus funds, the company was able to begin constructing the 75-unit affordable senior housing project last week.

Fountain Square will be located in Western Waukegan, approximately 40 miles north of Chicago. Conceived to accommodate independent low-income seniors 55 years of age and older, the six-story building will sit across from the new mixed-use Fountain Square redevelopment and near a new theater and banquet hall property. In addition to neighborhood offerings that will spur seniors to remain involved, Fountain Square will keep residents busy with such amenities as a community room, fitness center, business center and community garden. Designed by Worn Jerabek, the building will adhere to the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Green Housing Initiative guidelines.

The apartments will be open to senior renters with income not exceeding 60 percent of the area median income, and the Waukegan Housing Authority will lend a hand to help those occupying 20 percent of the apartment homes.

Banner Apartments is joined in the development of Fountain Square by the Waukegan Housing Development Corporation NFP and IHDA, which came through with $4.2 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and federal stimulus funds. “Without the stimulus funds, this wouldn’t have happened,” Milton Pinsky, CEO of Banner Apartments, tells MHN. “Pricing for tax credits has plummeted, so the stimulus funds made up part of the difference and allowed the project to move forward.” The tax credits produced an additional $12.5 million in equity. The Royal Bank of Canada and J.P. Morgan Chase are among the other entities that assisted with financing.

“The need for affordable housing for all demographics is expanding substantially, and it’s especially strong in the senior population,” Pinsky notes. “Affordable housing is already a significant part of our business and we expect to do more of these projects; we hope to break ground in 2011 on 64 units of affordable housing that will also be built with tax credits.”

And Fountain Square is doing much more than adding to the pool of sorely needed affordable housing in the area. Construction of the property will result in the creation of approximately 102 temporary jobs.

JJ Duffy Company is serving as general contractor on the project and is on schedule to complete construction in time for leasing to commence in spring 2011.

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