Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group has completed its renovation of Garden House of Maywood, a 144-unit affordable senior rental community in Maywood, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.
The 10-story building at 515 S. 2nd Avenue is owned by Housing and Human Development Corporation (HHDC), a nonprofit organization formed to develop and acquire affordable housing and provide supportive services to low-income seniors and families. Evergreen has managed the community since 2017, the year before it was acquired by HHDC using tax credits that also helped fund the capital improvements. Evergreen Construction Co., the firm’s full-service construction arm, managed the nine-month project as a phased, in-place renovation that allowed residents to remain in their homes as updates were made.
“Rising housing costs have made resources like Garden House of Maywood all the more important for low-income households, including seniors who have limited housing alternatives available to them,” said Kevin Beard, director of preservation for Evergreen Real Estate Group. “As a firm that regularly partners with nonprofit organizations, we were honored to work with HHDC on this project so that Garden House of Maywood can continue to serve the local community by providing area seniors with accessible, low-income housing for many years to come.”
In addition to securing the funds needed to make structural and cosmetic improvements, HHDC also provided for the addition of a full-time social services coordinator at no cost to residents or the building. A trained social worker, the coordinator will perform ongoing resident assessments; serve as a liaison with community service agencies, helping residents determine whether they meet eligibility requirements; coordinate health and educational programming, such as nutritional coaching and financial planning; assist residents with crisis situations and perform daily check-ins throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the coordinator will work with residents to sponsor activities and social events at the building in accordance with the latest CDC guidelines, with updates shared through a new community newsletter and calendar.
“Garden House of Maywood was in dire need of physical repairs, but the addition of a full-time social services coordinator has been equally beneficial to residents’ quality of life,” said Polly Kuehl, executive director of Housing and Human Development Corporation. “It’s not enough to provide low-income seniors with a place to live; they require additional support in virtually every aspect of life—something we’re now better able to provide.”
All residential units at Garden House of Maywood were updated with new windows and window treatments. Sinks, cabinetry, countertops, appliances and flooring were replaced in many units. Bathrooms were also repainted and fitted with new toilets, vanities, medicine cabinets and flooring, as well as refurbished bathtubs. In 15 units, special modifications were made to kitchens and baths to improve accessibility.
Common areas received new paint, flooring and furniture, with complimentary Wi-Fi installed throughout. In addition, the large lounge area was reconfigured to create dedicated spaces for a library, TV room, kitchen and multi-purpose community room. Elevators were also modernized to operate more efficiently, and the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems were upgraded and enhanced.
Exterior improvements include an extensive facade restoration, new roofing, repaired sidewalks and curbs, resurfaced parking lot with two accessible spaces, and a new concrete patio with accessible seating.
“We were able to complete the bulk of the work prior to the pandemic, allowing seniors to reside in their homes more comfortably and safely during the shelter-at-home period,” said Andre Pintauro, president of Evergreen Construction Company.
Evergreen helped secure financing for the $7 million renovation, including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) awarded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and syndicated by Stratford Capital Group. Other financing partners included IFF, which provided predevelopment financing; CIBC Bank, which provided bridge financing and equity; and NorthMarq and Freddie Mac, which provided the property’s permanent loan.
Garden House of Maywood offers convenient access to bus routes and the Maywood Metra station. It is also a short drive from grocery stores, shopping and dining in Maywood and adjacent suburbs, as well as the Loyola University Medical Center and VA Hines Hospital.