The Chicago Community Development Commission has approved the funding for an extensive renovation of the Barbara Jean Wright Apartments located at 1354 S Morgan Street in the Near West Side. The existing development is bound by W Maxwell Street to the north, S Morgan Street to the east, and W 14th Place to the south, along with two other housing projects to the west. Developer Jonathan Rose Companies is heading the effort who has managed over $1.8 billion in properties and recently broke into the Chicago market.
The Barbara Jean Wright apartments were built in 1972 and were acquired by the Chicago Community Development Corporation (CCDC) in 1999 who carried out a small renovation in 2001. Since then the apartments have fallen into disrepair and debt, Jonathan Rose Companies will be purchasing the property and paying off the debt for just over $17 million, then executing a roughly $55 million restoration which includes saving over $4.5 million in reserves. The approval from the commission grants them $4 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
The complex contains 12 masonry-clad four story apartment buildings and 15 two-story townhomes holding a total of 272 units split into two-, three-, and four-bedroom layouts, making them crucial for families in an area that is quickly being gentrified. With a total price tag of roughly $267,700 per unit, each one will receive new kitchens, baths, flooring, carpeting, and windows along with exterior repairs, HVAC work, and upgraded landscaping.
251 of the units will be offered for those making 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) with HUD and CHA vouchers, with the remaining offered at market rate for those who now make more than before. The project will also include a new 4,000-square-foot community center with offices for the developer and common rooms for the residents to use as well as resurfacing a basketball court and the construction of a small storage building.
Construction is set to be split into phases with roughly one building being remodeled at a time, the residents from that will be relocated to other on-site vacant units while the work progresses. The project will still need to go through various approvals including an environmental review and remediation program as it moves forward.