Evergreen Real Estate Group, Synergy Construction Group and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) today announced the completion of construction and start of move-ins at Ravenswood Senior Living, a 193-unit affordable rental community at 1922 W. Sunnyside Ave. in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood.
The $81 million project converted the former Ravenswood Hospital, built in 1974 and vacant since 2002, into much-needed affordable senior housing. It is the first development of its kind in Illinois and one of the first in the country to offer both independent living and supportive living for low-income seniors in a single location. This pioneering model makes it possible for residents to age in place as their acuity increases, transitioning to a new, yet familiar, home if and when they require assistance with daily tasks like bathing, dressing and making meals.
Located between Damen and Ravenswood avenues, the 10-story building has 74 one-bedroom independent living apartments for CHA residents, as well as 119 units for participants in the Illinois Supportive Living Program, an alternative to nursing home care that is administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. While the two communities are located in the same building, they have separate entrances and operate independently from each other. Evergreen is managing the independent living community, located at 4515 N. Winchester Ave., while Asbury Healthcare operates the supportive living community, located at 1922 W. Sunnyside Ave.
“A year and a half after breaking ground, we are proud to announce the completion of this important and long-awaited project that creates affordable senior housing where none previously existed,” said Jeff Rappin, founder and chairman of Evergreen Real Estate Group. “Ravenswood Senior Living shows that solutions to the affordable housing shortage can be found right in our backyard. With the right partners, vacant and underutilized sites can be reimagined as low-income housing that supports the health of communities by improving the lives of residents.”
“With its combination of independent and supportive living for low-income seniors, this development represents an innovative approach to affordable housing and marks important development as an affordable option for seniors,” said CHA CEO Tracey Scott. “Ravenswood Senior Living is the first facility of its kind in Illinois and will provide a pathway for low-income seniors to age in place while maintaining a high quality of life.”
“The senior population in Illinois is growing, and IHDA is committed to increasing the supply of affordable and supportive housing opportunities that allow families, friends and neighbors to age safely in place in the community of their choice,” said Kristin Faust, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Association (IHDA). “The innovative redevelopment of this long-vacant hospital is a major milestone, and we are proud to provide the financing that gave the building new life as a community asset that brings much-needed affordable senior housing to the city.”
“I was honored to pass a piece of forward-thinking legislation that prioritizes the needs of our community members and makes good use of pooling all of the resources we have by allowing mixed-use supportive living facilities,” said Illinois State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz. “Every legislator knows the importance of creating affordable senior housing, and these developments are cornerstones of our communities. Ravenswood Senior Living is one of the first developments of its kind in the country. It was essential to be able to both offer affordable, continuum-of-care housing for our community seniors and preserve the Ravenswood Hospital building for future generations.”
Evergreen revitalized and maintained much of the original structure, including the facade, which was cleaned and tuckpointed. All windows were replaced using the original frames. A small addition on the building’s north side features a facade of metal panels whose colors complement the existing brick and mirror the design of the adjacent Lycée Français de Chicago, a private French international school.
Structural changes to the former hospital include the addition of an elevator and staircase at the entrance of the independent living community to improve accessibility for residents and guests. Other improvements include new window openings, updated mechanical systems and modernized elevators. Both the independent and supportive living communities share the existing parking garage, which also is utilized by Lycée Français de Chicago and other commercial and residential buildings on the block.
On-site amenities for the independent living community include a roof deck, community room, fitness room, library/computer room, lounges and laundry rooms. The adjacent supportive living community has its own amenities, including a roof deck, dining room with meals served daily, community room, fitness and physical therapy room, salon, library/computer room, multipurpose/TV room and attendant stations on each floor. In addition, the supportive living community has an on-site doctor’s office, which is staffed by a physician up to two days a week and offers 24-hour care provided by trained medical professionals. Donations of books, puzzles and games for the libraries in both the independent and supportive living communities were provided through donation drives organized by the Ravenswood Community Council, 47th Ward Ald. Matt Martin, Feigenholtz and 47th Ward Democrats.
Ravenswood Senior Living is owned by Evergreen Real Estate Group in partnership with Chicago-based Synergy Construction Group and the CHA. Financial partners for the independent living community include the CHA (both capital funds and rental assistance for all 74 units), IHDA, National Development Corporation (NDC) and IFF. Financial partners for the supportive living community include IHDA, NDC, Key Bank, Ravenswood Community Council, IFF and ComEdthrough its Energy Efficiency Program.
Leopardo Companies was the general contractor for the project, with Evergreen Construction Company, a division of Evergreen Real Estate Group, serving as a subcontractor.
Ravenswood Senior Living is located close to public transit, including the Damen and Montrose Brown Line stations, the Ravenswood Metra stop, and several CTA bus routes. A number of shops and restaurants throughout Ravenswood and Lincoln Square are also within walking distance of the community.
Applications are still being accepted for both the supportive living and independent living apartments. Individuals or couples can apply for the independent living residences at https://applyonline.thecha.org. Those interested in the supportive living apartments can call (224) 801-2982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ravenswood Senior Living is the third affordable senior housing community that Evergreen has developed on Chicago’s North Side in recent years. In 2019, the firm partnered with the CHA, Chicago Public Library and Department of Housing on a pair of co-located developments – Independence Apartments and Library at 4022 N. Elston Ave. and Northtown Apartments and Library at 6800 N. Western Ave. – that co-locate low-income senior housing with new public library branches.