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?

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