Milwaukee-Wilson affordable housing plan not moving forward; tax credits had been sought


A developer had been seeking low-income housing tax credits for a possible 43-unit residential development at 4601-11 N. Milwaukee Ave., but the project is not moving forward.

The development would have been built on the site of the former John V. May Funeral Home parking lot, across from Wilson Park. A representative for Evergreen Real Estate said that the company was no longer pursuing the project.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority last spring approved Evergreen’s preliminary tax credit application, but it did not receive a final application by the June 23 deadline. The authority listed it as a “non-elderly” project, with no age restriction on tenants.

Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the alderman’s office never received a zoning proposal for the project. The property remains for sale.

The site’s existing B3-1 zoning permits no more than 11 apartments on the 28,000-square-foot parcel. In 2007 a proposal to build a seven-story, 84-unit senior housing development on the Milwaukee-Wilson lot failed to materialize.

Tax credits provide a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax and are commonly used to make affordable housing developments economically feasible. Those eligible for the below-market rate apartments must earn no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income.

Currently Evergreen is partnering with the Chicago Housing Authority to develop senior housing complexes above the planned new Independence Library at 4022 N. Elston Ave. and Northtown Library at 6800 N. Western Ave. The CHA recently approved loans of up to $11 million for each library project, and plans call for 30 public housing and 14 affordable housing units at each site.

Arena has pledged to bring 50 new CHA-subsidized units to the ward by 2019 as part of an effort to desegregate neighborhoods in his ward. Up to 30 CHA units are planned for a seven-story, 100-unit affordable housing development at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy., and a housing tax credit application has been submitted to the state for the project.

A pending lawsuit challenges the fact that city officials agreed to support rezoning the Northwest Highway site before notifying nearby property owners. The agreement was put in place to settle another lawsuit, which the site’s owner filed after the city had the property downzoned to stop a plan to build only a self-storage facility there.

In 2011 Evergreen proposed to build a senior housing complex on the site of the former Gateway Chevrolet showroom at 5371 N. Milwaukee Ave., but the company was unable to obtain tax credits for the project. A new dealership is now planned for that site, which currently is being used for vehicle storage.