Headed for a $107 million meltdown in Bronzeville?

Curbed called attention yesterday to the City Council’s Finance Committee’s approval of $25 million in TIF funding for the renovation of the Rosenwald Apartments at 47th St and Michigan Ave. The TIF funding would cover part of the project’s latest project budget of $107 million, the balance of which would be cobbled together from a variety of low-income housing-oriented sources.

A year ago in July I met with members of Rosenwald for All, a group of local residents concerned about and opposed to the plans for the building’s redevelopment. A recent email from the group referred to the Finance Committee’s action as “pure lunacy.”

You can meet the Rosenwald for All residents in the above video, and join them for a walk around the building and a look at the neighborhood.

You can look inside the courtyard and some of the apartments in the Rosenwald in the following video, shot in 2009:

There’s an extensive FAQ about the project at the 3rd Ward Aldermanic site.

I spent the better part of two days in the summer of 2012 in the immediate area of the Rosenwald, visited the nearby area more than a dozen times last year, and talked to dozens of residents and business people. Local residents expressed fear of walking along 47th St in the area, and suggested that waiting for a bus along the street would be a foolish risk of their health. The manager of a local business told me he’d leave the area, after decades, if the Rosenwald re-opened, on the theory that it would quickly become a locus of gang activity, as it had been before it was shuttered in 2000.

The renovation of the Rosenwald is still far from a done deal. If it goes forward, it won’t be the first time the complex has been renovated.

Did the Rosenwald see its “highest and best use” in 2010 when a Transformers film had the apartments doubling as part of the Chernobyl nuclear site? Is there any reason to believe the current proposal will result in anything other than a $107 million meltdown?


  • carmelcutie 5 years

    Its Ludacris, its insane to put more low income people in this area. 107 million for this one building that’s crazy. More low income people isn’t good for attracting development. This is a prime area for a grocery store type development . I hope this project doesn’t go through. Alderwoman Dowell needs to be fired. The complete incompetence and lack of vision for this ward full of potential is so saaaaaad. The alderwoman doesn’t care about this area. She just wants to stack it with poverty to insure she can stay in office. This type of mismanagement of prime land wouldn’t happen anywhere else. Residents need to fight this hard.