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?


  • Jack 6 years

    I agree 100%. Wilson yard was jsut as bad.

  • Nathan89 6 years

    The housing in Chicago is no longer affordable. The plan in Chicago right now is to kick out the poor and black and move in the wealthy white. Chicago is going through what some would call gentrification aka get rid of n3gro’s. Do away with the 1/3 market rate, 1/3 affordable, and 1/3 public. We need more low income housing. Market rate renters can easily find rental units but the same can not be said for low income renters. Especially the brand new places they building with the washer, dryer, and dishwashers in the units is wonderful. Why not give low income people a chance to experience having those amenities too.

  • Nathan89 6 years

    The Windy City has distinctions but not positive ones. Chicago’s retail sales tax is the highest in the nation at 10.25 percent. Unions, high taxes, and political corruption have made Chicago one of the leaders in big city decline.

    Chicago again continued its population decline with a loss of 63,000 from 2000 to 2006 leaving a total of 2,833,321.

    Little known fact:

    The Chicago Housing Authority leaves thousands of its apartments vacant in any given year.

    CHA reported in 2010 that it had “delivered” 20,288 apartments, but that only 18,325 were “available for occupancy” and only 15,984 were actually leased.

    Why is there a 4,300+ unit difference between apartments available and apartments actually occupied?

    Little known fact:

    The CHA counts many of these “offline” units as ‘replacement housing’ towards their 25,000 unit commitment, even though the apartments are not housing anyone.

    Little known fact:

    We’re not talking about short-term vacancies— we’re talking about 2 years, 4 years, 6 years, 10 years vacant.

    Little known fact:

    These vacant apartments are located on all sides of the city (north, south, and west), in scattered site housing, senior housing, and traditional family housing.

    Little known fact:

    The CHA continues to receive money from HUD for a significant number of these vacant apartments, whether they are occupied or not.

    Now a well known truth:

    With over 68,000 households on the CHA’s waiting lists, many living in homeless shelters, it is unacceptable for the CHA to leave even a single habitable apartment vacant over the long-term.

  • Nathan89

    There’s another perspective on the 4,300 unit difference you cite and lots of reasons for a shortage of low-income housing beyond the plots you suspect.