The Community Development Commission approves Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a residential development at 414 N Central Park Avenue in East Garfield Park. TIF is a publicly financed subsidy for local developments and is being applied for by developer Conservatory Apartments LLC. Designed by HED Architects, the project will replace a vacated parking lot for the former Laura Ward Elementary School which shuttered in 2013.
The project was originally introduced to the Department of Housing for a 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan search, however the project was not selected as a finalist then. This round the developer has requested $3.4 million of TIF to complement $6.9 million in funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority that will need to be claimed by year’s end. Both of these will help cover the $12.1 million cost of the Garfield Park Conservatory named ‘Conservatory Apartments’.
Rising four stories tall north of the Union Pacific West train tracks, the project will deliver 43 Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) units completely made up of 305-square-foot studios. The apartments will be split in half between those making 30 and 50 percent of the Area Median Income or roughly $19,000 and $32,000 a year respectively. The building’s ground floor won’t feature any retail but will have a shared laundry room, bike parking, a community garden, and office space for non-profit partner Deborah’s Place.
Deborah’s Place helps contribute to the developer’s goal of focusing on housing for those experiencing homelessness. Approximately 34 of the units will be set aside for homeless individuals with chronic disabilities, mental illness, and substance abuse, the remaining nine will be for individuals from the Illinois State Referral Network. Deborah’s Place on-site office will have an assigned case manager who will conduct intakes, initial and continuing assessments, and aid in crisis intervention, job placement, and advocate for financial benefits.
Future residents will have access to the CTA Green Line Conservatory stop via a five-minute walk. Although it passes the Development Commission, it will now need to be approved by the City Council to secure its city funds and move forward prior to the end of the year.