The push to build one of America’s first affordable housing facility for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender seniors is one step closer after Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the financial plans to fund the $27 million development to City Council Wednesday.
Construction crews will soon break ground to transform the former Town Hall Police Station at the corner of North Halsted and West Addison streets into a 79-unit senior apartment complex.
Using the mayor’s proposal, $14.5 million will be generated to help fund the development through a $5 million city loan and $1.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits.
“The assistance is designed to provide important housing options for Lake View seniors as well as preserve one of the community’s most prominent and iconic buildings,” Emanuel said.
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Funding for the project comes from a number of sources. According to Director of Real Estate Development at Heartland Housing, Hume An, the organization is joining the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit and federal historic tax credit, among many others, to pay for the facility.
Originally built in 1907, the two-story station was operated by the Chicago Police Department until 2010, when it was replaced by a larger, modern police station nearby. That year, the Department of Housing and Development issued a Request for Proposals to redevelop the building and a parcel of vacant land next door.
Heartland Housing’s proposed redevelopment, selected last year, will combine the refurbished police station with a new six-story apartment building on the adjacent land. The complex will largely be comprised of studio and one-bedroom units, and two ground-floor retail spaces will face Halsted Street.
City support for the project will also include $1.5 million in donations tax credits, made possible by the sale of the former station and the adjacent 27,000-square-feet of land for $1.
Earlier this month, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved a preliminary landmark recommendation for the brick and limestone police. The designation will protect the building’s south and east Classical Revival style facades from significant alteration.
The project is slated to be finished sometime in the spring of 2014, and according to representatives with the Center on Halsted, everything down to the paintings on the walls will be catered to the gay and lesbian crowd. While the new center won’t discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation, it will be clear to seniors that community life at this home will be very different.