Oakwood Shores' mixed-income housing gets a good review

Arches at Oakwood Shores

New homeowners, who haven’t moved in yet, and renters, who have, give mostly positive reviews to the new Oakwood Shores development that’s replacing the Chicago Housing Authority’s Ida B. Wells and Madden Park projects in a story in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. Renters have some typical grumbles – noisy teens, one problem tenant – but overall, praise the management company and the new environment.

The real test will come when homeowners, some of whom have paid well over half a million dollars, move into the new mixed-income community at Pershing Road and Cottage Grove Avenue with CHA residents. In our discussions with market-rate buyers at North Town Village, a new mixed-income community at the CHA’s Cabrini-Green development, satisfaction tracked almost precisely the level of realism in buyers’ expectations.

Those who knew they were part of a new social experiment and a community with neighbors of widely varying incomes and experiences seemed genuinely happy with their new homes. Those who moved in thinking that Cabrini-Green would disappear the day of their closing and that they’d make a mint when it came time to sell, seemed, well, let’s say, disgruntled.

When the CHA’s Plan for Transformation launched in 2000, we figured Cabrini had the best shot at making mixed-income development on this scale work, largely because it sat on the edge of Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast and River North. The location on the fringe of those highly gentrified neighborhoods did spur sales, but it also skewed expectations. The mixed-income neighborhoods replacing massive swaths of public housing on the South Side might face a slower sell, but in the end, enjoy more stability.

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