Construction wrap enshrouds the two buildings of the prospective Parkview developments at 2139 and 2159 W. Pershing Road, Chicago, across from McKinley Park.

McKinley Park Affordable Housing Project Returns via COVID Tax Credit Relief

Published May 3, 2021

The Parkview Lofts affordable housing development at 2159 W. Pershing Road in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood is back on track after COVID tax relief enabled new bridge funding for the project, previously derailed when the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) refused financing, citing environmental concerns.

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The development project, which is planned to occur in two phases, includes 120 units of affordable housing designated for one of two vacant, historic Central Manufacturing District warehouses. Once well under construction, its sister building at 2139 W. Pershing Road will begin development into Parkview Commerce: 34 market-rate loft residences and spaces for light commercial and manufacturing use.

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The project returns thanks to how funders can calculate tax credits after a federal COVID relief measure leveraged more support toward affordable housing, said Thomas Brantley, part of the Code Real Estate Partners team shepherding the development. "The bill reloads how we can calculate the tax credit," Brantley said, providing "enough to fill the gap."

Final Approval, Then Construction

Parkview Lofts McKinley Park vacant spaceOne of the vacant spaces in the Parkview Lofts building at 2159 W. Pershing Road, Chicago, awaits transformation into affordable housing.Parkview Lofts still needs final approval from the City of Chicago and is waiting to learn its placement on the Chicago Plan Commission's agenda, Brantley said. Once approved, financing setup will be completed quickly — before the end of this year — and the first affordable housing tenants could start moving in within 12 months of the start of construction, he said.

All other aspects of the development project remain the same, Brantley said, including the design and layout of units, its amenities and the engagement of the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation to manage the property and tenants, who will pay affordable rates as calculated against the area's median income.

Unnamed Neighborhood Advocates

The project returns after a delay in 2020 when the Department of Housing denied $8 million in City of Chicago funding planned to support the development. According to a copy of City of Chicago email correspondence received by this publication, Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara met in late June 2020 with anti-MAT Asphalt advocates from the McKinley Park neighborhood.

"Advocates revisited their concerns about locating an affordable housing development in such close proximity to an asphalt plant that they believe is harmful to existing and future residents," the email states.

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The housing department and Novara did not reply to requests from this publication for more information, including who participated in the Chicago Department of Housing meeting, if the DOH is enacting a mandate against funding other projects based on asphalt plant proximity, and if similar considerations would be applied to the other two asphalt plants in the neighborhood or to the U.S. federal Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) site more than twice as close to Parkview Lofts as the asphalt plant.

No Further Delays

Brantley noted the independent April 2020 study from Specialized Ecological Services specifically investigating whether MAT Asphalt posed a hazard to the Parkview Lofts development. The firm's Technical Memorandum determined that it did not.

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"We are of the opinion that the MAT Asphalt facility was designed and is operating under best industrial practices to meet or exceed all standards for health and human safety as well as to prevent environmental impact," the study stated.

Parkview Lofts architectural rendering interior1 201902The prospective interior of a Parkview Lofts apartment is on display in an architectural rendering provided by project developers.No further delays to project development should occur based on city funding issues, Brantley said, as the Department of Housing is no longer needed as a source to support the project.

Unwavering Support

Brantley thanked both the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), which is one of the funders of the development, and 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas for their ongoing support for the affordable housing project.

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"They have remained steadfast supporters," he said. "They have never wavered."

Ed. Note: MAT Asphalt is a Sponsor of the McKinley Park News. For information about our operations and policies, see our About Us page and the Letter from the Editor "Building a Trustworthy News Business."

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