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Mixed-income artists’ residences officially break ground in Washington Park

The project is the latest development aimed at revitalizing Chicago’s Garfield Boulevard corridor

Image courtesy of JGMA

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on-hand Tuesday to break ground on a 58-unit, mixed-income housing development designed to support local South Side artists and their families. Known as the KLEO Art Residences, the four-story project is officially underway at the corner of South Michigan Avenue and Garfield Boulevard in the Washington Park neighborhood.

The L-shaped building will feature 5,000 square feet of retail and studio space on the ground floor. Above, 49 apartments will be offered at an affordable rate to households earning up to 60 percent of area median income while the remaining nine units will be rented at market rate. An adjacent parking lot will provide spaces for 33 vehicles, according to a building permit issued in November.

The unorthodox look of the KLEO Art Residences comes from Chicago design firm JGMA. The structure’s funky two-toned, translucent facade is optimized to allow ample light for its artist occupants during the day and to give off a glowing appearance at night.

Rendering courtesy of JGMA

Developed by Northbrook-based Brinshore Development, the $23.5 million project received a considerable amount of government assistance. Incentives include $6.4 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and $1.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits expected to generate $15.2 million in equity. The City of Chicago also sold two city-owned lots for $1 each to support the development.

The upcoming mixed-income project will join other recent improvements to the Garfield Boulevard corridor including the Arts Block project from the University of Chicago and local artist Theaster Gates. Work will also soon start on the so-called Garfield Gateway project to overhaul the Garfield CTA Green Line station.

The KLEO Art Residences are expected to open in 2019. “I look forward to being back here next year to cut the ribbon,” said Mayor Emanuel at Tuesday’s groundbreaking event.