The Former Stateway Gardens Site Includes 475 Mixed Income Housing Units; Secretary Castro Highlights Mayor’s Commitment to Fair and Affordable Housing
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 9, 2015. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro and Acting Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. yesterday opened the second completed phase of Park Boulevard which now totals 475 mixed income housing units, continuing of the revitalization of the Bronzeville community at the former Stateway Gardens public housing site. The project represents the latest milestone in Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to promote the development of affordable housing near critical resources including transit, retail, and job opportunities.
This portion of the second phase has 108 total mixed-income units of which 37 are market rate, 34 affordable and 37 public housing units, bringing the total to 475 units at Park Boulevard.
“Park Boulevard is another new chapter in the economic comeback story being written here in Bronzeville by the residents and community partners of Bronzeville,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With this ribbon cutting, we are opening the front doors of homes for hardworking Chicago families, but also opening up new opportunities and new possibilities for the neighborhood.”
That development, along with the arrival of retail businesses such as Jimmy Johns and Starbucks, and presence of a wide range of transportation options such as Metra, CTA and a transportation orientated development that benefits three different commuter train stops along 35th St – has spurred a community renaissance.
“The point of Plan Forward is to move beyond the bricks and mortar and concentrate on neighborhoods – as well as developments,” Acting CEO Jones said. “Park Boulevard embodies that philosophy of ‘strong, vibrant’ communities.”
Stateway Gardens originally consisted of eight high-rise buildings. All were demolished, ushering a new era for the neighborhood with the construction of Park Boulevard and revitalizing the community on both sides of State Street.
“Park Boulevard represents more than just new homes — it’s also a source of new hope and new promise for the Bronzeville community. With passion and purpose, Chicago’s leaders are doing incredible work to enhance neighborhoods and help residents build better lives for themselves and their children. HUD looks forward to continuing to support all the visionary efforts occurring in this great city to ensure that opportunity is within reach of every community today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro
Park Boulevard and other CHA redevelopment sites are part of Mayor Emanuel’s Five Year Housing Plan, which will invest $1.3 billion in spending to create, improve, and preserve more than 41,000 units of housing by 2019. Since 2012, City of Chicago affordable housing initiatives have provided approximately $1.1 billion in public funds toward the creation and rehabilitation of more than 27,000 units of affordable housing.
“This new phase of development at Park Boulevard will complement Bronzeville’s vibrant community,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell. “I anticipate additional modern, market-rate and affordable housing options and retail opportunities to come to the Third Ward as a result of this development.”
Through the Five Year Housing Plan, Mayor Emanuel has committed to furthering fair housing initiatives. In addition to creating vibrant communities at the redeveloped sites, CHA has a commitment to families wishing to move to Opportunity Areas, neighborhoods where the poverty rate is less than 20% and there is less than 5% of subsidized housing, both within the city of Chicago as well as with other public housing agencies regionally.
CHA’s Mobility Counseling program helps to strengthen fair housing opportunities and provides assistance to families in the Housing Choice Voucher program to move to Opportunity Areas. Mobility Counseling includes education on tenant rights and responsibilities, how to locate strong performing schools, housing search, and assistance with the lease up process. CHA moves more than 200 families each year through the Mobility Counseling program.
CHA also contributes housing subsidy resources to the Regional Housing Initiative (RHI), a one-of-a-kind partnership between CHA and seven other regional housing authorities in northeastern Illinois, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Metropolitan Family Council. RHI helps to create affordable rental housing where shortages are particularly severe—typically in areas with good jobs, transportation options, and quality public education. The initiative actively seeks out and subsidizes developments located in low-poverty, high-opportunity communities or in communities undergoing reinvestment and redevelopment that would benefit from increased housing stability.
Since taking office, Mayor Emanuel has implemented reforms to support the development of affordable housing in neighborhoods with access to transit, retail, jobs, and schools. This year, the Mayor reformed the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) – which require developers seeking zoning changes or other City assistance across the city to build affordable units or pay into a housing fund – to create more affordable housing opportunities in neighborhoods experiencing growth. The reforms will require developers subject to the ARO to build affordable housing units on site or within two miles of the development. The on-site affordability requirement would be greater for developments near transit stations that take advantage of incentives contained in the Mayor’s 2013 Transit Oriented Development ordinance. The amendment is part of Mayor Emanuel’s five-year housing plan that creates and preserves more than 41,000 units of housing citywide.
The ARO reform ordinance is estimated to generate an estimated 1,200 units, including 600 affordable units within or near market-rate developments; and more than $90 million in in-lieu fees by 2020. The amendment will also create 2,500 new jobs; and nearly $200 million in local income.
In 2014, City Council passed the Mayor’s ordinance to establish a legal framework for preserving affordable single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings while generating revenue to support building owners that seek to continue to offer affordable housing. The ordinance is part of Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to preserving up to 700 SRO units in gentrifying areas by the end of 2018.
SROs, which are generally acknowledged as the housing of last resort for some city residents, have declined in number dramatically over the past five years. Since 2008, 30 of the City’s licensed SROs have closed and only 5,000 to 6,000 units remain in the City’s 73 licensed SROs.