Continuing its 12-year mission to preserve affordable housing opportunities in the changing Woodlawn community, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) announced today it has finalized the acquisition of Island Terrace Apartments from PNC Bank. Located at 6430 South Stony Island, across from the planned Obama Presidential Center, Island Terrace has 240 apartments for a broad range of incomes and household sizes.
“We are delighted to announce our purchase of Island Terrace Apartments”, said Bill Eager, POAH Senior Vice President. “Through this acquisition, we now have preserved and expanded housing opportunities from the west end of Woodlawn to the very eastern edge.”
Once owned by George E. Johnson Sr., founder of the famous Chicago-based cosmetic company (Johnson Products Company), and owned by PNC bank since 2015, POAH’s $29.5 million purchase of Island Terrace was greeted with enthusiastic support of 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston. “PNC’s thoughtful sale of Island Terrace to POAH ends the anxiety that so many felt,” said Alderman Hairston. “POAH’s record of housing preservation, high-quality building and renovation work and thoughtful management makes us confident in the future of affordable housing in this fast-changing community.”
“The imminent building of the Obama Presidential Center has fueled fear as well as excitement with concerns about speculators and sky-rocketing housing prices,” said Kristin Faust, Executive Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) whose allocation of 9 percent low income housing tax credits (LIHTC), along with a financial commitment from the City of Chicago, made the purchase possible. “We are delighted to be able to assist in POAH’s preservation of this and other housing developments in Woodlawn – which is, in many ways, a model for preserving mixed-income neighborhoods.”
“The continued availability of affordable rental housing for families and seniors is at risk across the country as a wave of affordable properties are being sold to owners with little or no interest in maintaining these properties at affordable rents, which is why we purchased Island Terrace Apartments five years ago,” said John Nunnery, Senior Vice President and Manager of Preservation Investments for PNC. “As properties like Island Terrace are sold, they are at risk of eventual conversion to market rents, which is why we are thrilled we found the right developer in POAH to move Island Terrace forward into the future.”
POAH’s acquisition marks an important victory for the coalition of community stakeholders, government and elected officials who have spent the past few years crafting an affordable housing strategy for Woodlawn as development of the Obama Center approaches.
Marisa Novara, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Housing expressed her appreciation for the collaborative effort to ensure long-term affordability in the Woodlawn neighborhood. “When we passed the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance in 2020, our chief goal was that everyone who lives in Woodlawn now should be able to stay,” said Marisa Novara, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Housing. "I want to thank IHDA, PNC, and POAH for this tremendous step in that direction and for their long-term commitment to the community and people of Woodlawn.”
POAH will take over property management through its affiliate, POAH Communities, immediately and begin renovations next year on the property which was built in 1969. The work will include improvements to the building’s major systems, modernization of the one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, and upgrades to resident community spaces. POAH will finance the acquisition with a loan from Merchants Capital and its own equity.
“We are thankful to the City and State for the resources that made the preservation possible,” said Eager in speaking of the complex partnership that made it possible to buy and rehab the property. “We are also grateful to the community, aldermen, and City officials who have been resolute in their quest to ensure that Woodlawn preserves housing affordable to all. We have long worked to ensure that Woodlawn is an ever-stronger community that meets the needs of its diverse residents and provides the housing, services, retail stores, and amenities that every community needs. It’s a commitment we will continue.”
POAH, which is celebrating its 20th year in 2021, began its work in Woodlawn in 2008, undertaking the successful redevelopment of the 504-apartment Grove Parc Plaza along Cottage Grove Avenue on the western side of the community. Since then, POAH has acquired or built nearly 1,000 apartments in Woodlawn, with the vast majority targeted to low-income individuals and families, and 2,400 in total in the Chicago market. POAH’s most recent purchase in Woodlawn was the 59-apartment Father Martin Farrell House for seniors and disabled individuals at 1415 East 65th Street, which is also within walking distance of Jackson Park and the Obama Presidential Center.