April 12, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Celebrates Ribbon Cutting of Harvest Commons Apartment Complex as Part of Eisenhower Corridor 'Neighborhoods Now' Developments

$22.3 Million, 89-unit Apartment Project Restores Chicago Landmark to Provide a Home and On-site Social Services to Those Who Need It Most; Eisenhower Corridor One of Seven Areas Targeted in Mayor’s Chicago “Neighborhoods Now” Plan, Creating Thousands of Jobs

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Near West Side community leaders and site developers today for the formal re-opening of the $22.3 million Harvest Commons apartments, a designated City landmark that was converted into 89 low-income studios with on-site social services.

Redeveloped during the last year by Heartland Housing in conjunction with First Baptist Congregational Church, the project is part of Mayor Emanuel’s “Chicago Neighborhoods Now” initiative, which is coordinating $2.9 billion in new economic development, housing, and quality of life improvements in seven opportunity-rich sections of Chicago.

“Chicago’s neighborhoods are its backbone, and this affordable apartment project will allow those who love their community to stay in their community with affordable housing options and social services,” Mayor Emanuel said. “I will continue to work with community and private partners in the Eisenhower Corridor and throughout the city’s neighborhoods as we are all invested together in these projects that will allow a better quality of life for Chicagoans and their families.”

Located at 1519 W. Warren Boulevard, Harvest Commons created over 230 jobs and was made possible through $3.9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance and $1.2 million in donated tax credits from the City. The City previously owned the building, valued at $2.3 million, and provided it to the developer for $1 through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

“This development serves as a realization of a shared vision for our Near West Side Community,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th Ward.  “I am very pleased to have the support of Mayor Emanuel in taking the initiative to see Harvest Commons as an anchor, and to continue to pursue a neighborhood-wide approach to community development.” 

Built in 1930 as the Union Park residential hotel and renamed The Viceroy in 1963, the six-story building primarily catered to itinerant guests before closing in 2006, when it was purchased by the City. City Council designated the Art Deco structure as an official landmark in 2010.

The Heartland Housing project was selected in response to the RFP for its combination of affordable housing and social services. The project created full kitchens and private baths in each apartment, office space and a social enterprise café on the ground floor, and an urban farm on adjacent land. Heartland Human Care Services will provide on-site job readiness training, case management, mental health and drug abuse counseling for residents, all of whom will earn less than 60 percent of area median income. Seventeen of the units will be leased to ex-offenders undergoing a St. Leonard’s Ministries re-integration program. 

"At Harvest Commons, nearly 90 Chicagoans will have a safe place to live and restart their lives," said Michael Goldberg, executive director of Heartland Housing, a division of Heartland Alliance, the Midwest's leading anti-poverty organization. "These renovated apartments along with on-site supportive services will help those who are the most vulnerable gain stability, improve their health, and develop job skills needed to improve their quality of life."

“Harvest Commons will serve to help further our mission to improve and develop our West Side neighborhood by providing the critically needed housing and services to this vulnerable population,” added the Rev. George Daniels, Sr. Pastor of First Baptist Congregational Church.

In addition to Harvest Commons, more than $160 million in new development is moving forward within the Eisenhower Corridor that will generate thousands of temporary and permanent jobs. Priority City-assisted projects include the redevelopment of the Blue Line transit station at 430 S. Damen Ave.; new streetscape projects on portions of Damen and Fulton Street; a new bike station for commuters near the new Morgan Street Green Line transit station; and improvements to Union Park; among other public and private projects.

Also moving forward is a $100,000 planning study to determine the size, scope and location of a permanent, year-round public market that could contribute to the mixed-use vitality of the Fulton Market area, which already supports a dense concentration of food related businesses.

The Chicago Neighborhoods Now initiative includes portions of Englewood, Pullman, Rogers Park, Uptown, Little Village, Bronzeville, and the Eisenhower Corridor. 

The Chicago Neighborhoods Now areas were identified as City departments and sister agencies convened throughout the fall and winter to discuss how past, current, and future projects can foster quality-of-life synergies for area residents and businesses.

Heartland Housing is a leader in developing and managing affordable housing in the Midwest. A division of Heartland Alliance-the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest---Heartland Housing has developed and managed more than 1,700 affordable homes across the Chicago region and Midwest since our founding in 1888.