The last 35 remaining unoccupied homes in the historic part of the North Pullman neighborhood will soon be renovated and put up for sale as affordable single-family homes thanks to an agreement between the City of Chicago, the Cook County Land Bank, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) and an experienced private developer that was approved by the City Council.
A $900,000 grant will be awarded by the City of Chicago to Area Wide Realty (AWR) who will buy 17 homes from CNI and 13 from the Cook County Land Bank Authority and begin making major improvements; CNI will retain the other five.
Under the agreement, a $900,000 grant will be used for the purchase and rehab of 35 long-abandoned historic rowhomes on a four block stretch along Champlain and Langley avenues, from the Cook County Land Bank and CNI, which had originally purchased the homes with the intent of redeveloping them for affordable housing.
CNI will maintain ownership of five of the homes, renovate and sell them, while the other 30 will be purchased, rehabbed, and sold by Michael Olszewski of Area Wide Realty, which has a long history of renovation and sale of homes in Chicago neighborhoods.
“As part of an administration committed to both affordability and equity, we are proud and excited about the 35 Pullman Homes whose financing we hope will be approved by the City Council,” said Commissioner Marisa Novara.
“This public private partnership builds on trusted relationships that have proven their ability to produce quality housing that strengthens families and communities. In Pullman, the housing has special significance. Built more than one hundred years ago but left to languish in the late 1990s, like Pullman itself the housing has ‘good bones,’ is sturdy and ready to meet the housing needs of this century’s occupants. We look forward to celebrating the first-home buyers with their neighbors in Pullman.”
The financing for the rehab of the five CNI developed homes will come from the proceeds of the sale of the 17 they originally bought, while the rehab of the 30 homes will be done with private financing secured by Area Wide Realty. All homes will be sold to individuals or families earning between 80 and 120 percent of area median income, with the expected price of the homes being around $120,000.
“We had originally thought that these homes would be used for affordable rental housing, but the financing was not available,” explained David Doig, President, CNI. “But, with necessity the mother of invention, we are doing something that the entire community is excited by – increasing homeownership in an area once written off by many.”
All of the 35 homes are within walking distance of the Pullman National Monument site and near several new neighborhood amenities including: the One Eleven Food Hall at the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center; Pullman Park; the Pullman Community Center; Artspace Lofts; and coming next spring, a free-standing Culver’s restaurant.
In the fall, hundreds of new jobs will be coming to Pullman created by the opening of two new commercial buildings – the 150,000-square-foot Amazon facility, and the 400,000-square-foot warehouse, the first Opportunity Zone project to be completed on the South Side.
“As someone who has lived through the hard times here when no one thought Pullman and Roseland had a chance to survive, it’s gratifying to see that all are pulling together to continue the renewal that is happening here,” said Alderman Anthony A. Beale. “I am excited for the work to begin so we can add these homes to next year’s Pullman Homes tour and welcome the newest residents.”