Private-public funding to finance Greenwood Park Apartments $12M renovation

POAH Chicago-area vice president Bill Eager and the Greenwood Park Apartments (Credit: POAH and iStock)

Nonprofit developer Preservation of Affordable Housing was cleared to begin its $12 million renovation at the 122-unit Greenwood Park Apartments in Kenwood.

The Boston-based developer, known as POAH, bought the complex in 2016 from an entity founded by the late developer Sheldon Baskin. He had built the apartments in 1974; they were last renovated nearly 25 years go.

In November, Citibank financed the renovation with a $12.3 million loan, joining a $2.5 million zero-interest loan from the city of Chicago and about $1.2 million in tax credits issued by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

Under POAH’s regulatory covenant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 90 of the units will be eligible to families making up to half of area median income, Eager said. The remaining 32 would be available to those making up to 80 percent of area median income.

The city’s Buildings Department recently issued permits for roof replacements, new furnaces, flooring work, and cosmetic changes to kitchens and bathrooms in the cluster of 15 low-lying apartments, along 47th Street and Ellis Avenue.

POAH controlled the property through a temporary deed while it arranged financing, then transferred title last month to a “tax-credit partnership” so the work can get underway, according to Bill Eager, the firm’s Chicago area vice president. The developer paid $52,000 in real estate transfer taxes on the properties, which are collectively valued at $6.5 million.

“A property like this could be at risk of significant rent increases in a purely market-rate environment,” Eager said. “So this [renovation] is going to allow all those residents to stay long-term, should they choose to.”

The interior renovations are expected to wrap up by the end of the year, Eager said.

Based in Boston, POAH owns more than 90 properties across 11 states and Washington, D.C. It owns 12 apartment complexes on the South and West Side of Chicago, and another in Kankakee, Ill. Last year it completed Woodlawn Station, a 70-unit mixed-income complex next to the 63rd Street and Cottage Grove CTA Green Line station.

Developers and investors have accelerated their activity on the Near South Side in recent years, pushing some tenants to fear they could be displaced by gentrification. 

In November, California investor Brian Chien-Chih Chen paid nearly $20 million to buy a portfolio of four apartment buildings in Kenwood.

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