One of the largest affordable housing developments on the near west side has a new owner and a guarantee of affordability. The Jonathan Rose Companies (Rose) has completed its purchase of the 272-unit Barbara Jean Wright Court Apartments (BJ Wright) from the Chicago Community Development Corporation (CCDC) for $17.5 million and has committed another $46 million to the rehabilitation of its apartments and common spaces.
With BJ Wright situated along 14th Street, University Village to the east, Pilsen to the south, and new high rises to the north, many residents were concerned that they might be forced to leave the neighborhood. This redevelopment ensures that residents will have affordable rents for the long-term. Rose’s Partner and Senior Managing Director Nathan D. Taft said: “With the housing markets in the West Loop and Pilsen booming, all – including HUD, the City’s Department of Housing, the State, the alderpersons, the CHA, the tenants and the tenant advocates – were united in our efforts to preserve this critical piece of affordable housing.”
Under the new agreement all but 21 apartments will be affordable to those earning 60% or less of the area median income, with 40% of units receiving federal project-based rental assistance through HUD and another 30% receiving project-based rental assistance through the Chicago Housing Authority. The remaining 21 will be unrestricted and unsubsidized units, allowing existing market-rate renters to remain on-site, as well.
Last renovated more than 20 years ago, Rose is undertaking a rehab process guided by residents, local stakeholders, 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 28th Ward Alderman Jason C. Ervin, City of Chicago Department of Housing, HUD, the Chicago Housing Authority, PGIM Real Estate Finance, Enterprise Housing Credit Investments, Huntington National Bank, and US Bank.
The extensive restoration will include a complete renovation of all apartments, the heating and cooling systems of all buildings, the living areas of each of the 272 apartments, new landscaping and renewal of the property’s playgrounds and basketball court. And as a centerpiece of the renovation, Rose will create a new 5,000-square-foot clubhouse that will contain “community of opportunity” common spaces, featuring a fitness center, a computer learning center, and a large multi-purpose room. The renovation will also furnish in-unit Wi-Fi for residents free of charge to increase digital access at the community.
Barbara Jean Wright Court Apartments required the partnership of many. Enterprise Housing Credit Investments contributed $25.3 million in federal tax credit equity while PGIM Real Estate Finance arranged a $46.9 million FHA 221d4 mortgage loan. Huntington National Bank is providing a $20.3 million construction loan. In addition, the City of Chicago contributed Tax Increment Financing in the amount of $4.0 million and Community Reinvestment Plan funds in the amount of $3.8 million. The financing also included Illinois Donation Tax Credits facilitated by the redevelopment’s non-profit partner Community Opportunity Fund and purchased by US Bank to generate roughly $900,000 in additional funding.
Residents will be temporarily relocated on a rolling basis throughout the two-year renovation
period. Skender Construction will serve as the General Contractor, Grund & Riesterer Architects, Inc. is serving as the architect, Urban Relocation Services, Inc. is managing temporary relocation, and Rose Community Management is serving as the property manager.