CHICAGO: Parish aims to revitalize neighborhood via housing initiative

November 25, 2007

The housing-rehabilitation ministry of St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in Chicago reached another milestone with the dedication of a $10.7 million mixed-income rental housing complex in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood.

During the September 24 dedication, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said the opening of St. Edmund's Meadows represented a major step forward in revitalizing the neighborhood.

"Today we aren't just investing in buildings; we are investing in a community," Daley said. "This is an excellent investment, because it helps turn blighted, vacant property into high-quality housing that will help continue the revitalization of Washington Park."

The seven buildings that make up the 56-unit development are specifically designed to accommodate larger families.

The development, located within a block of the parish, includes 22 three-bedroom and 34 four-bedroom units with one or more bathrooms, living/dining areas and a kitchen. Features include newly created playground areas, off-street parking and an intercom and video surveillance system.

The project represents the first sale of scattered site public housing units owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to a non-profit community development corporation.

The developer, St. Edmund's Redevelopment Corp., has transformed seven abandoned buildings on South Michigan and South Wabash avenues and East 57th and East 61st streets into a vibrant new community. The development consists of five two-story and two three-story buildings in a combination of two walk-up buildings and five townhome-style structures.

The land will be leased to the developer by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), and units will be targeted to various income groups to ensure a diverse mixed income community. The CHA will, in turn, lease back 14 of the units for public housing residents. Thirty-one units will be reserved for people with low-to-moderate incomes and 11 units will be market rate.

The city's investment in the project includes $646,000 in low-income housing tax credits, generating $4.8 million in equity. Additional funding includes $2.4 million from HUD; $1.4 million from the CHA and $300,000 in grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank. St. Edmund's Redevelopment Corp. secured an additional loan from Centerline Capital Group for the balance of the development costs.

"We help to build a brighter future when we work together to increase affordable housing opportunities for the people of Chicago," Daley said. "And we will continue our efforts. But we can't do it alone. If we keep working together, I know that we can keep Chicago a diverse city that is open and affordable to everyone."