Evergreen Real Estate Group welcomed the first residents into Northtown Apartments, a 44-unit affordable senior housing community connected to and developed simultaneously with the new Northtown Public Library in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood.
Built in partnership with the city of Chicago, Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library, and designed by Perkins+Will and constructed by Powers and Sons, the apartments at 6800 N. Western Avenue feature one-bedroom units for low-income seniors.
“Northtown Apartments and the Northtown Public Library demonstrate the level of innovation and collaboration needed to address the affordable housing shortage not only in Chicago, but other cities as well,” said David Block, director of development at Evergreen Real Estate Group, the project’s developer. “Together with our partners, we feel we’ve created a new model that is highly designed yet highly practical, serving the needs of both residents and neighbors in the surrounding community.”
Of the 44 senior apartments, 30 are reserved for CHA residents, with the remaining 14 serving households meeting eligibility requirements pertaining to age and income. Shared amenities include a second-floor roof deck, fitness room, two lounge areas and two laundry rooms. The library also features an interior courtyard, as well as a large mural depicting iconic images from the West Ridge neighborhood by local artist Chris Silva.
Judy Brown, a 67-year-old retiree who often volunteers for a local nonprofit, recently moved into her own Northtown apartment after sharing a bedroom in a family member’s home.
“It’s beautiful and I love having more space and being near public transportation so I can more easily go to my volunteer job,” Brown said. “I’m also looking forward to taking computer classes at the library in the coming months.”
Programming at Northtown Library includes computer skills classes, offered in one-on-one sessions. Other senior-friendly activities include dancing and group games.
Northtown is one of two co-located affordable housing/library projects developed by Evergreen and its public partners. A second project, Independence Apartments, was developed in tandem with the Independence Public Library and will celebrate its opening later this year.
Both projects were funded, in part, with low-income housing tax credits and Illinois affordable housing tax credits provided by the Chicago Department of Housing. The Northtown development also received federal HOME funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
Other financing partners for the project include CIBC, City Real Estate Advisors (CREA), TCF Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Clocktower Tax Credits LLC, ComEd Energy Efficiency Program, North River Commission and predevelopment lenders LISC Chicago and Chicago Community Loan Fund.