Is affordable housing unaffordable for Chicago?

Chicago Real Estate Daily recently reported that the next phase of the redevelopment of the Robert Taylor Homes is moving forward. It involves the construction of 71 new mixed-income rental units in 3- and 6-flat buildings near 47th and Calumet and 43rd and Michigan.

The project will cost $28.2 million, or about $397K per unit. Financing includes a variety of subsidies ranging from an essentially zero-cost land purchase, $3 million in TIF funds, $5.2 million in tax-credit equity and an $8.7 million loan from the CHA.

A year ago we visited a Noah Properties condo project at 2431 W Belmont where 3-bedroom, 2-bath units with garage parking in 6-flat buildings sold in the high $250s. Noah Properties paid market price for the land, delivered units with high-style finishes, and was presumably able to reap a profit on the development.

One doesn’t have to look very hard in the Bronzeville area to find relatively new construction 3-bedroom and larger condos selling for less than half of the cost of the new affordable units.

How long can Chicago continue to afford to spend $400K (round numbers) and up to develop affordable housing?