Village homes rising in Near West

A local developer has broken ground on the first units in a residential development that marks a creative new approach to building affordable and market-rate housing in a joint-venture deal with the city.

The West Village Homes will comprise a mix of two-flats, three-flats and single-family homes on 45 scattered lots that the city owns on the Near West Side. Under the “HomeStart II” program, the developer will pay market-value prices for the lots only after the homes on them are built and closed.

“West Village Homes is the first time city-owned land was used for collateral in conjunction with private financing to develop housing in the city of Chicago,” said City Housing Commissioner John G. Markowski, who joined Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd ) and developers Ted Mazola and Gus Mauro, of New West Realty, at a ground breaking in January.

The $25 million infill project will include up to 110 affordable and market-rate units. Plans call for 18 two-flat condominiums, 87 three-flat condos and five single-family homes to be built between Warren, Taylor, Damen and Maplewood.

Under the program, builders face less risk and lower carrying costs because they do not have to pay for the land until after a home is sold. The city is able to encourage building in an area where it has made redevelopment a priority.

“The HomeStart II program used for West Village Homes could be a model for future development of city-owned land,” Markowski said. The city currently holds title to more than 10,000 vacant lots in Chicago.

Pre-construction base prices are expected to start in the $230s for a two-bedroom two-bath condo in a typical two-flat. Three-bedroom two-bath condominiums will start in the $240s, and three-bedroom duplexes with 2.5 baths are priced from the $300s. Single-family homes with three bedrooms start in the $330s.

The typical two-flat has a two-bedroom condo on the first floor and a three-bedroom duplex above. The three-flats have three condominiums with three bedrooms and two baths each. Features include hardwood floors, master bedroom suites, granite countertops, wood cabinets and designer appliances. The masonry buildings, designed by architects Hartshorne & Plunkard, will have diverse facades that match the turn-of-the-century architecture of the Near West Side.

“The West Village Homes joint venture is very significant because it will provide important in-fill housing in communities that have started to develop but have been held back somewhat because of an abundance of vacant city-owned land,” said Mazola. “The landmark residential project will allow quality development to occur on that city-owned land, supporting the whole redevelopment of the community.”

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