In a $25 million purchase that guarantees the preservation of more than 300 affordable apartments in east Woodlawn, across the street from the future Obama Presidential Center, Jonathan Rose Companies today announced the purchase of the 318-unit Jackson Park Terrace. Located in Chicago’s South Side at 6040 South Harper Avenue, the property was acquired by the Rose Affordable Housing Preservation Fund V in joint venture with Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), which has preserved or built more than 1,000 mixed-income apartments and homes in Woodlawn over the past decade.
Built in 1973, Jackson Park Terrace provided greatly needed affordable housing in a community starved for investment. It was developed by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation (WCDC), one of the nation’s first community development corporations, led at the time by Bishop Arthur Brazier and activist Reverend Leon Finney.
Rose and POAH presented a plan to HUD, elected officials, residents, advocacy organizations and the City, all of whom agreed on the critical importance of preserving this affordable housing development in the rapidly changing Woodlawn neighborhood. “We feel that it is both an obligation and a privilege to preserve this historic development and appreciate the partnership and critical role that HUD and the Illinois Housing Development Authority played in making this possible,“ said Nathan D. Taft, partner at Jonathan Rose Companies, who led the negotiations. “It is perhaps ironic that Jackson Park Terrace was created to provide affordable housing that the private market would not; the need now is to protect this valuable asset from market pressures.”
“For the past 12 years, we have worked throughout Woodlawn to preserve affordability while increasing diversity and density, “ said POAH Midwest Senior Vice President Bill Eager. We hope that this purchase and our purchase of nearby Island Terrace will inspire others to ensure that affordable options continue to be available in other changing communities.”
“Growing up, living in and representing Chicago’s South Side, I have witnessed both good times and hard times, including the challenging days when few were willing to provide the investments in the housing, stores and jobs that all communities and people need,” said 5th Ward Alderwoman Leslie Hairston. “The purchase of Jackson Park Terrace and a guarantee of long-term affordability and further investment is gratifying, and I hope a model for others drawn to Woodlawn at this time of renewal.”
In addition to an immediate infusion of $4 million for needed building repairs and upgrades, Rose and POAH will implement a residents’ services plan focused on resident health, youth engagement,employment, and financial stability. The $4 million will be used to improve the property’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, needed structural repairs and deferred maintenance. All renovation work is led by GMA, a Chicago-based construction firm headed by Cornelius Griggs and well-known for its renovation of the Pullman National Monument’s Visitor Center.
Commenting on the purchase, Reverend Dr. Byron Brazier of the nearby Apostolic Church of God spoke of its importance: “My father, Bishop Arthur Brazier and Doc Finney took a chance, and invested all they had not only to provide affordable housing in Woodlawn but to keep the community itself alive and hopeful. With Rose and POAH joining those of us who want to ensure that Woodlawn is the diverse and vibrant community for which they worked, where all people can live, work, shop and thrive, I am confident that we can realize WCDC’s ambitious goals from a half-century ago.”
Immediately, and throughout the renovation period, residents have access to extensive meeting spaces, a community room with a kitchen, a fitness center, and outdoor recreational areas. Residents can also garden at the Hoop House, a community greenhouse on the property operated by a local non-profit Experimental Station.
The property will be managed by Rose Community Management (RCM). It is the first of three multi-building properties that RCM is slated to manage in Chicago by the end of 2022. The acquisition was financed by an assumed FHA loan and is subject to regulatory agreements with HUD and IHDA. In connection with the transaction, the joint venture agreed (in 2020) to extend the affordability restrictions in these agreements for an additional 36 years until 2056. The property is located on land subject to a long-term ground lease from the University of Chicago.