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$25M Public Subsidy Approved for Rosenwald Rehab

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Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) and the city are starting to feel like 13 years is long enough for an immense and historic housing block to sit empty. Ald. Dowell engaged the community and developers in 2010 on the best approach for a Rosenwald Apartments rehabilitation. A development team came together in 2011 consisting of Landwhite Development, Lighten-Gale Group, and Jim Bergman, and a cost of roughly $110M was quoted for gut renovation and the rebuilding of 330 apartments and new retail space. The unit count has since been cut back to 239, with half designated for seniors and half again as public housing. Eighty-nine percent of the working families half will have rents kept at affordable rates, at least for the first 30 years. Ald. Dowell's office is listing these rents as: $450-$850 for one- and two-bed apartments. Originally, the full-block courtyard building accommodated 450 units so let's hope future inhabitants get beefier spreads not wasted space.

This week's news, out of the 3rd Ward office, is that the City Finance Committee approved a requested $25M in TIF support. The slightly-revised total project budget is $107M with $84.4M in construction costs. Low-income and historic tax credits will account for about half the total cost. Rosenwald's interiors have some great Arts & Crafts details, produced in an 'enlightened' period of social housing, but the spaces are in serious distress— enough to warrant a $353K per unit rehab cost, or so we're told. Sears magnate Julius Rosenwald was persuaded in the late 1920s to reinvest in the community with this project, built for African-American families. Several music and film stars joined the building's tenancy over the decades but the privately-owned development sunk into disastrous disrepair through the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, finally being shuttered in 2000. Regular Curbed Flickr pool contributor Martin Gonzalez has a splendid set of interior and exterior photos documenting Rosenwald's current condition. The National Landmark's eventual rebirth will see 75,000 square feet of retail and community space hitched to some 470 new residents.
·General Developments Thread [Skyscraper Page]
·3rd Ward Office [official]
·Developer takes tough job to enter Chicago: the Rosenwald [Crain's]
·Plan Emerges for Rosenwald Apartments as it Hunts for TIF [Curbed Chicago]