First Low-Income Senior Housing in Chicago Neighborhood Breaks Ground
Erika Schnitzer, Associate Editor for Multi-Housing News Online
Published: April 1, 2009
Chicago—McShane Construction Co., based in Rosemont, Ill., recently broke ground on Casa Maravilla, a 73-unit green affordable senior housing community under development by The Resurrection Project, a Chicago-based non-profit affordable housing developer.
Located in Chicago’s growing Pilsen neighborhood, the five-story, $20 million apartment building is the first low-income housing for seniors in this community. It is located on the same block as Casa Morelos, a seven-story, 45-unit affordable building that is being developed and constructed by the same project team.
Financing for the 70,000-sq.-ft. Casa Maravilla is being provided by the City of Chicago Department of Housing and the Illinois Housing Development Authority in the form of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), as well as through a HOME loan from the City of Chicago, and by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the project’s energy efficiency. The Illinois Housing Development Authority is also providing financing through its Trust Fund. The project’s private lender is U.S. Bank, and National Equity Fund Inc. is serving as the tax credit syndicator.
Jason Breden, senior project manager at McShane Construction Co, explains that there is a lot of pride in the culture of the Hispanic heritage, which is prevalent in this neighborhood. “The people there are really excited about the projects we are building because it would help revitalize the community,” he tells MHN.
Guacolda Reyes, deputy director of community development, The Resurrection Project, adds, “Most importantly, given that we will target seniors, it’s right next to a non-profit health clinic that doesn’t ask for legal status, which is very significant for our population and community.” Alivio Medical Center is a bilingual medical facility for low- and middle-income families who are underinsured or uninsured.
Casa Maravilla is registered with the Chicago Green Homes program, which helped to speed up the permitting process and receive some of the financing needed for the project, says Mark T. Tritschler, executive vice president, McShane Construction Co.
The development will feature a green roof—which, comprising half of the surface, is a big commitment for Chicago, notes Tritschler—geothermal HVAC system, eco-friendly elevator structures, weather-resistant windows, Energy Star appliances and permeable pavement.
Designed by Weese Langley Weese, a Chicago-based full-service architectural practice, the community will offer studios and one- and two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 700 to 1,100 sq. ft. Monthly rents will range from $350 to $900, including heating and gas. Reyes notes that much of the targeted market for this community do not have access to public housing or Section 8.
Casa Maravilla will include a satellite senior center run by the City of Chicago’s Department of Aging and will feature a community room, therapy room, library and recreation room.
Despite the state of the economy, the team remains optimistic about the project. Reyes notes that Casa Morelos is 80 percent complete and is on target for this summer’s completion. As for Casa Maravilla, Tritschler tells MHN, “It’s definitely had a positive impact on the owner’s budget, because with the economy down, we’ve had some good pricing on subcontractors, which reflected in pricing for the client, so they already have enjoyed benefits.”