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CHA approves funding for new development

The CHA Board of Commissioners this week approved up to $24.8 million in funding for the first two development phases at Southbridge, a contemporary mixed-use, mixed-income community on the site of the former Harold Ickes Homes in Bronzeville.

The former public housing project, which was completed in 1955, was 11 high rises that were demolished in 2011 as part of Chicago’s ambitious Plan for Transformation, a goal to rehabilitate or replace dilapidated public housing projects with mixed-used affordable housing complexes.

The latest project is Southbridge, a 877 unit complex that would include 244 units for low-income, CHA residents and up to 60,000 square-feet of planned commercial/retail space.

The first of three phases, Southbridge Phase 1 is expected to break ground in early 2019 and be completed in 2021. It will include 68 public housing units, 18 affordable, 114 market-rate and 18 units for homeownership.

“It is a new era for those who formerly lived in the Harold Ickes Homes,” said CHA CEO Eugene E. Jones, Jr. “But it also represents the expansion of Chicago’s vibrant South Loop. Southbridge will be at the center of the historic Bronze-ville, dynamic Chinatown and bustling McCormick Place Square neighborhoods. And it will be steps away from CTA’s green and red line stations and multiple bus routes. We couldn’t be more excited.”

A joint venture consisting of The Community Builders and McCaffrey Interests was selected as the development team and approved by the CHA Board in June 2015. The $24.8 million for the first two phases will provide funds for project redevelopment activities, including site remediation.

The development and construction team will hire residents throughout the construction pro- cess through CHA’s Section 3 program which provides opportunities and support for resident-own- ed businesses.

On-site amenities will include elevators, balconies, decks, club room, fitness room, bike storage, dog spa, parking and retail stores, as well as on-site property management and resident services. The retail stores will be located in mid-rise buildings along State Street.

The development will also include the rebuilding of Dearborn Street, 23rd Place and 24th Street, and the installation of new infrastructure, including water, sewer and electric for the site.

The Harold Ickes Homes was originally situated on approximately 18 acres within the Near South Side community area and located between 22nd, State, 25th and Dearborn.

Also at a recent Board meeting, Jones, Jr. reported that CHA has received strong bond ratings and stable outlooks from the two major bond rating agencies, including Fitch Ratings which, for the first time in its history, has rated a U.S. public housing authority and handed down a AA- with a stable outlook. CHA also received the same rating from Standard & Poor’s.

“I am proud that our fiscal stewardship has resulted in such strong ratings and outlooks,” Jones said. “CHA is well-positioned to support its five-year capital plan that is critical to CHA expanding housing opportunities and helping meet the affordable housing needs of Chicago.”


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