City officials have chosen a $48.4 million mixed-income development from a team of affordable housing developers to fill several vacant lots along 63rd Street.
The Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and KMW Communities have been chosen to develop two city-owned lots on 63rd between Ingleside and Greenwood avenues, the city’s Department of Planning and Development announced Wednesday, May 10. The lots have been vacant for almost four decades.
The lots, which take up about 1.6 acres, are among 52 lots subject to the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance, which mandates that developments set aside 30% or more of its housing units for households earning half of Area Median Income — about $52,100 for a family of four — or less.
Called Woodlawn Social, the development is a 70-unit mixed-use, mixed-income residential complex. The project consists of two adjacent buildings planned for the southeast corner of 63rd and Ellis Avenue: a six-story, 60-unit affordable rental building and a four-story structure of 10 market-rate townhomes for sale.
In the apartment complex, there will be 36 affordable one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units. The townhomes will have three- and four-bedrooms. The project also includes four retail spaces, a 10,000-square-foot courtyard across the street and a 9,000-square-foot plaza for public use. There will also be a 26-space parking lot.
Designed by architects Koning Eizenberg and Harley Ellis Deveraux, both buildings will be masonry clad and have energy-efficient features, such as solar panels and rooftop gardens.
“POAH and KMW’s winning proposal was selected for its highly creative approach to urban placemaking and locally driven programming that creates a focal point for future growth along 63rd Street,” said Maurice Cox, a commissioner for DPD.
Cox said the runner-up proposal, a six-story building with 73 units by Michaels and DL3 Realty, will be saved for potential use in a future project along 63rd.
“The project is a victory for Woodlawn residents who are working to expand affordable housing options for local families,” said Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th). “Although we have much more work to do, we are excited to activate this vacant lot that has been unused for more than 40 years.”
Woodlawn Social was selected from a short-list of three project finalists, all of which were submitted in response to the DPD’s Request for Qualifications last year. Development proposals were evaluated for community wealth-building potential, economic feasibility, technical competence and design, according to the department.
Each finalist received $25,000 stipends from the Chicago Community Trust to engage local stakeholders and create designs. The final selection was made by DPD and nine community evaluators.
“We actually oriented our building in a series of five forms perpendicular to the street … really bringing the neighborhood and the community in,” said POAH vice president Bill Eager at a public meeting last month.
“We didn’t want to create a super mass on the block that overshadows the street,” KMW developer Bill Williams added.
At this meeting, Williams also said that they will partner with programs like Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago to help tenants “get prepared for home ownership.” “We want residents to go from rents to homeowners, and not be perpetual renters,” he said.
Among prospective developers, POAH had the longest record of affordable housing development on the mid-South Side.
Since 2008, POAH has helped to redevelop the Grove Parc Apartments at 6020 S. Cottage Grove Ave., and built the mixed-use Woodlawn Station at the corner of 63rd Street and Cottage Grove. In January 2021, it extended the section 8 contract on the Father Martin Farrell House, 1415 E. 65th St., another multi-unit building near Jackson Park, and in July of that year, purchased Island Terrace, 6430 S. Stony Island Ave. Last August, POAH teamed up with for-profit developer Jonathan Rose Companies to purchase Jackson Park Terrace, 6040 S. Harper Ave., pledging to maintain its affordability for the next 30 years.
The project now advances to the city’s formal review and approval process. According to the release, funding could include Tax Increment Financing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, a land write-down and other incentives. If approved, construction will start in 2024.
An open house for the project will be held on Tuesday, May 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Harris Park fieldhouse, 6200 S. Drexel Ave.
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May 12, 2023 at 03:56PM