State housing board approves low-income tax credits for 5150 N. Northwest Hwy.
by BRIAN NADIG
The Illinois Housing Development Authority Board of Directors at its meeting May 17 approved a resolution for the issuance of low-income housing tax credits for the mixed-income housing complex at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy. where monthly rents will range from $200 to $2,000.
“We are thrilled with their decision today. The Illinois Housing Development Authority has ensured that we have all of the pieces necessary to move this development forward. Our plan is to close this summer, with completion projected for fall of 2020,” said project developer Joshua Wilmoth of Full Circle Communities.
The development would include 75 apartments on the second through seventh floors and a church and nonprofit agency offices on the ground floor and 43 parking spaces. The Chicago Housing Authority plans to subsidize 30 of the units, with the stipulation that 20 of the building’s tenants be taken from the CHA wait list and 10 be reserved for homeless veterans. The top preference for all 75 apartments would be given to veterans and a second preference to those with disabilities.
“I have contacted the president and CEO of Full Circle and look forward to a healthy dialogue that will enable us to address constituent concerns,” 45th Ward alderman-elect Jim Gardiner said following the board’s decision.
“Moving forward, I am committed to a transparent and thorough review process for all developments within the 45th Ward,” he said.
In February, Gardiner defeated Alderman John Arena, whose term ends Monday, May 20.
Arena has been a strong supporter of the development and has sought disciplinary action against government workers who he claims made racially charged remarks on social media about the housing proposal. Arena’s office kept a spreadsheet on the workers, who included 31 police officers and 15 firefighters.
Initial plans had called for only a self-storage facility on the parcel, but Arena halted those plans by downzoning the property. The property owner, LSC Development, then sued the city, and a settlement agreement led to a storage warehouse being built on the north end of the parcel and a dense housing proposal on the south end.
In a statement, Neighbors for Affordable Housing called the housing board’s decision “a watershed moment in the history of affordable housing in Chicago.”
The affordable housing group also said, “This development is desperately needed in a part of the city rich in resources, but which also has among the lowest number of subsidized apartments.”
The group added that the city needs to “build relationships that transform prejudice and fear and to build community across lines that have often divided us.”
At a public hearing last year, a supporter of the housing proposal said that opponents worried about school overcrowding were masking their own racism, and another supporter testified that Jefferson Park residents’ “monopoly on opportunity” must come to an end.
The Northwest Highway development is one of several new apartment buildings in the works in and near Downtown Jefferson Park. In all, zoning has been approved for 307 new residential units in the area, whose home elementary school is Beaubien School, 5025 N. Laramie Ave.