Woodlawn development takes first steps toward neighborhood revitalization, thanks to JCUA and POAH
By Judy Levey, Community Development Manager, JCUA
Construction is set to begin this month on the Grove Parc Apartments, eventually to be the site of more than 500 units of affordable housing. JCUA has played a role in this project, assisting Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a Boston-based non-profit organization whose mission is to purchase large, multi-family properties and refinance them for long-term affordability.
Late in 2009, JCUA’s Community Ventures Program provided a zero-interest loan to POAH for assistance with the redevelopment of Grove Parc Apartments.
Grove Parc was a large subsidized apartment complex adjacent to the University of Chicago that deteriorated over several years due to poor maintenance and bad management. Although 400 of the complex’s 504 units were occupied, the buildings, with their concrete parking lots serving as playgrounds, were in total disrepair.
Thanks to the leadership and persistence of the Grove Parc Tenants Association, HUD selected POAH to acquire and redevelop the property. The new plan will replace obsolete buildings with a healthy mix of buildings to serve the community’s residential, commercial and recreational needs. JCUA’s Community Ventures predevelopment loan helped to fund the collaboration between POAH and the Grove Parc Tenants Association to assure for meaningful resident input into the plans.
Demolition, which is the necessary first step, started in early April (2010) and new construction is set to begin in May. Before construction could begin, POAH had to go through a lengthy process to remediate the asbestos in the buildings.
The first phase of new construction, Woodlawn Center South, is a 67-unit tax credit development on Cottage Grove between 62nd and 63rd Streets.
POAH has worked hard to secure nice relocation options nearby for Grove Parc families. The multi-phase project is expected to provide for the replacement of all of the original subsidized units.
New plans for the neighborhood already have resulted in excitement and optimism for residents. People are stopping by to take pictures of the dramatic demolition as the long-awaited first step in a holistic, comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan begins to unfold.
JCUA congratulates POAH and the Grove Parc Tenants Association on this important milestone.
For more than four decades, JCUA has been active in Chicago, working to create and preserve low income housing for the poor. Learn more on the JCUA website.