BRONZEVILLE — Bronzeville residents, elected officials and developers celebrated the grand opening of a 84-unit mixed-income housing complex nearly a decade in the making Thursday.
The 4400 Grove complex, named after the Cottage Grove Avenue block it inhabits, features 38 affordable apartments reserved for those making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or $43,680 annually for a two-person household.
The project, which replaces the Chicago Housing Authority’s Washington Park Homes demolished in 2002, also features 21 public housing apartments. The remaining 25 apartments are market-rate.
The Chicago Housing Authority chose national developer The Michaels Organization and Northbrook-based Brinshore Development to lead the redevelopment of the Washington Park Homes site in 2011, but financing hurdles held up the project for years.
The development was supported in part by $7.2 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) dollars from the city, a $7 million loan from the Chicago Housing Authority and $1.9 million in low-income housing tax credits.
“We are here today to take the next steps toward creating a more inclusive Chicago, where all residents have access to first-class living experiences and the resources they need to lead a happy, safe and fulfilled life,” Lightfoot said at Thursday’s press conference. “That starts with housing.”
Alongside the opening of an affordable senior housing complex in Calumet Heights, 4400 Grove’s unveiling continues “a big week” for the Chicago Housing Authority, CEO Tracy Scott said.
The Bronzeville development “is the very definition of mixed-income,” Scott said. “Everybody who lives here, regardless of income, is able to enjoy” the complex’s amenities, like a community room, fitness and business centers and a central courtyard.
The Quad Communities Development Corporation helped attract the twelve local businesses that will occupy the 18,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, focusing on minority-owned and “mom-and-pop” tenants. Each of the storefronts will be operated by people of color, according to Lightfoot.
“We brought eight business owners who are community-based to a project nobody thought could happen,” said Rhonda McFarland, executive director of the development corporation. “This is what you get when you work with our on-the-ground community partners. … We have a wealth of neighborhood-based economic development organizations in this city, and we are powerful.”
An advisory council of former public housing residents, Bronzeville residents and developers guided the planning and design process.
“The working group team wants to say thank you to each and every one of you for a job well done,” said Betty Thompson, a nearby resident and vice president of the advisory council.