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Plan Emerges For Rosenwald Apartments As It Hunts For TIF

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Shuttered for 12 years now in the interest of public safety, the National Historic Landmark Rosenwald Apartments have steadily declined while awaiting some sort of new life. Earlier this week, word came via The Tribune of a plan to rehabilitate the partially-salvageable 1929 subsidized housing complex at Michigan and 47th. New York and Indiana-based Landwhite Developers are the force behind a plan for 331 revamped apartments— half designated for seniors, and almost all priced for "working and lower-income families", according to Landwhite executive VP David Roos.

For those unfamiliar with the development, the array of five-story cream-colored brick buildings once boasted 450 subsidized units built in an 'enlightened' period of social housing, when things like materials, ornament, and courtyards mattered. Home to numerous African American cultural giants over the years, such as Quincy Jones, Nat "King" Cole, and Gwendolyn Brooks, the complex was financed by Sears magnate Julius Rosenwald and designed by Ernest Grunsfeld Jr. in the mold of successful Viennese housing blocks. Care to see what the interiors have been reduced to? Check out this great 2010 Flickr photo set from Martin Gonzalez. There's still some useable stuff, like fireplaces and built-in cabinetry, but not much.

The redevelopment calls for a facelift and total gut renovation, at a cost of about $110M. The developer is expected to seek up to $25M in TIF money from the city next week, and they still have to complete the purchase from an Evanston investment company. If all goes according to plan, work will begin this winter and finish in two years. For now, enjoy Hartshorne Plunkard's early mock-ups of exterior work, delivered as usual by Skyscraper Page's Spyguy. Hopefully, this prime example of thoughtful social housing will be around many more years to help inform contemporary design.
·TIF may help revive historic complex [Cityscapes]
·General Development Thread [Skycraper Page]