September 8, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Commends City Council Approval of Ordinances Supporting Affordable Housing, Improved Access to Jobs and Urban Farms

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today, Mayor Emanuel commended Chicago City Council for approving nine ordinances that support the development of affordable housing for seniors and low-income renters, provide access to quality jobs, and promote the creation of urban farms and gardens.

“Our goal is to foster the development of neighborhoods where affordable housing, jobs and open spaces contribute to continued growth and vitality,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Facilitating investment in our communities is essential to the future economic health of our city.”

97th Street SSA, LLC

The negotiated sale of 2.65 acres of vacant, City-owned land was approved for the construction of an 18,000-square-foot Social Security Administration building in the Pullman community. 

To be constructed by 97th Street SSA at 9705 S. Cottage Grove Ave. the $4.8 million facility will accommodate 35 employees as part of a 10-year lease.

The approved sale price for the land is $465,000. Proceeds will be used to offset the cost of environmental remediation at site.

Class 6(b) Renewal for Total Sweeteners, Inc.

A Class 6(b) tax incentive was approved for a 60,000-square-foot industrial building at 2234 W. 43rd St. in Brighton Park. The incentive will enable Total Sweeteners Inc., a distributor of food ingredients, to maintain 55 employees in the building.

The Cook County Class 6(b) classification encourages industrial development by offering a reduced property tax assessment rate for 12 years. Total tax savings is estimated at $2.1 million over the period.

Class 6(b) Tax Incentive for WMS Gaming, Inc.

A Class 6(b) was approved for a 120,000-square-foot industrial expansion project at 2704 W. Roscoe St. in the Avondale community.

Being developed by WMS Gaming Inc., a leading designer and manufacturer of video gaming machines, the new $35 million, four-story building will provide expanded research and development space. Amenities will include game development studios, research and development laboratories, demonstration rooms, an auditorium, office space and employee facilities.

The property tax incentive, valued at $3.8 million over 12 years, will help the company maintain 520 full-time jobs and to hire up to 25 additional full-time employees.

All Saints Residence

A loan agreement, the sale of one City-owned parcel, and fee waivers were approved for the construction of All Saints Residence, an $8.4 million housing complex for low-income seniors.

Being developed at 11701 S. State St. by All Saints Housing NFP, the 42-unit building will offer monthly rents starting at $630. Tenants will pay 30 percent of their income towards rent and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will pay the balance. Assistance with medications, bathing and dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and transportation will be provided to tenants by on-site staff.

The City will invest up to $900,000 in loans and $162,800 in donations tax credit equity in the project. The development is eligible for donations tax credits because of the donation of land from the City and Catholic Charities valued at $370,000. The land will be provided for $1.

The project will also participate in HUD's Section 202 Supportive Housing Development program, which helps finance the construction of affordable housing with supportive services for seniors.

Viceroy Apartments

Also approved was an ordinance that would authorize $3.9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for the redevelopment of the old Viceroy Hotel on the City’s Near West Side.

The 81-year-old building, at 1517-21 W. Warren Blvd., is planned to be converted into 89 low-income, studio apartments by Heartland Housing in conjunction with First Baptist Congregational Church. 

The renovation calls for full kitchens and private baths in each apartment, ground floor office space, and a coffee shop. Eighteen of the units will be used to house formerly incarcerated women. 

The building opened in 1930 as the Union Park Hotel. It was designated as an official City landmark in 2010. Currently owned by the City and valued at $2.3 million, the building will be sold to the developer for $1.

The project will generate 40 temporary construction jobs and five permanent jobs.

Judge Fisher Apartments

An approved intergovernmental agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority will provide $320,000 in TIF financing for site improvements to the Judge Fisher Apartments in Edgewater.

Improvements to the building at 5821 N. Broadway Ave. will include a new accessible entrance ramp, a reconfigured ADA-accessible parking lot, and a new storm drainage system. A new community garden will also be constructed as part of the $2 million project.

Resurrection University and Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center

Also approved was a proposal to provide $4.8 million in TIF assistance to facilitate the relocation of a nursing school from the Village of Oak Park to the Humboldt Park community.

To be operated by Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, the school will relocate to five floors of St. Elizabeth Hospital at 1431 N. Claremont Ave. A $13.5 million renovation of the 11-story building will create new classrooms, a student lounge, conference rooms, offices and an operating room simulator.

The project will accommodate a growing demand for nurses and other allied health professionals trained at advanced levels.

The school has an enrollment of 275 students with 50 employees. The new location will double enrollment and add 27 new jobs.

IGA with the CTA

Also approved was an ordinance to sell a nearly one-acre City-owned property in Greater Grand Crossing to the Chicago Transit Authority for the expansion of a Green Line maintenance yard. The property, at 315 E. 63rd St., will be sold for $1.

Urban Agriculture Zoning Code Amendment

New zoning code provisions were approved to promote the expansion of community gardening and urban farming within city limits.

The provisions will:

  • Expand the size limit on community gardens to 25,000 square feet
  • Relax fencing and parking requirements on larger commercial urban farms in order to hold down overhead costs for entrepreneurs and community organizations that launch and maintain these enterprises
  • Allow for hydroponic and aquaponic systems and keeping honey bees under set conditions
  • Create green jobs and provide fresh produce in communities

The City worked with its sister agencies, urban agriculture experts and community members in an effort to help strengthen community ties and turn available empty lots into viable, productive urban green spaces. 




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