(Chicago Heights, IL) – Today, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) authorized $1.5 million in the form of Low-income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) for the redevelopment of a portion of the former St. James Hospital site in downtown Chicago Heights, IL. The funds have been allocated to aid in the construction of a four-story, 100-unit veteran community to be located at the southeast corner of Lincoln Highway and Chicago Road.
The project, which is being led in partnership by the City of Chicago Heights and the Housing Authority of Cook County, is part of a program known as the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a special urban planning program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The proposed veterans’ housing development is the first proposal for new development to emerge from the Choice Neighborhoods planning effort.
“The Housing Authority of Cook County and the City of Chicago Heights have joined forces to develop new housing for low to moderate-income veterans of all ages, helping to fulfill our country’s commitment to veterans in need,” said Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez. “This project also aims to fulfill my Administration’s commitment to revitalize downtown Chicago Heights, positioning our city for long-term growth in the 21st Century.”
The Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also applauded IHDA’s decision.
“This new development will go a long way in making sure every veteran in Cook County is provided with access to decent, safe and affordable housing,” said President Preckwinkle. “It also represents the first step in our revitalization efforts throughout the City of Chicago Heights, IL. I applaud the Housing Authority of Cook County and its partners for lifting this project off the ground – we’re excited to get to work.”
The City’s plan envisions the downtown area containing a range of land uses including retail, commercial, housing, public facilities, transportation, parks, and more.
“The Housing Authority of Cook County is proud to help lay the groundwork for a new vision for Chicago Heights,” said HACC Executive Director Richard Monocchio. “Stable housing is a critical need in the area, but we hope this project will set us on a course that goes beyond the housing arena and act as a catalyst for transformational change for the city as a whole.”
The proposed four-story building will be designed to coincide with Chicago Heights’ new Mixed-Use District regulations aimed at creating vibrant and walkable neighborhoods. The development will be located next to a proposed new Town Square. The Town Square would include a plaza space for public events, such as a farmer’s market, public ceremonies, and cultural activities for residents to enjoy.
“It’s both exciting and rewarding to collaborate on projects that provide housing to a population that needs it while participating in the revitalization of a neighborhood,” says HED’s Cory Kamholz, the architecture firm connected to the project. “We’re thankful to the Housing Authority of Cook County for the opportunity to do both on a single project and are thrilled to participate in the redevelopment of Chicago Heights. This project can provide the spark needed to launch the reimagining of the St. James site.”
The estimated start date for construction is slated for January 2021.