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Developer Spends Nearly $1 Million in Upgrades at Astor House, Records Show

By Benjamin Woodard | September 24, 2014 5:24am
 Tenants at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd. had said BJB Properties wanted them out.
Tenants at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd. had said BJB Properties wanted them out.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — The developer who bought the troubled Astor House intends to spend about $1 million to fix up the building, records show.

Extensive work continued this month at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd., where many original tenants had been evicted following BJB Properties' purchase of the apartment building in 2012.

Nine building permits issued to the address since April last year showed planned renovations to three elevators, for an estimated $315,000, and interior rehabs of 123 apartments, for $525,000, and other alterations, including brick work and electrical updates. Several other planned renovations bump the figure to nearly $1 million.

Housing activists decried BJB's plans last year, saying the developer was evicting 47 tenants — many of them with low incomes — to make way for wealthier tenants who were able to pay higher rents.

Before it was sold, the building had been cited for several building code violations and was in rough shape, according to records and the people who had lived there. Elevators were dysfunctional and many units were infested with bed bugs, they said.

Property records show that the building was sold for $6.2 million in October 2012.

Activists and residents had protested BJB's plans, which resulted in many long-time tenants leaving or being evicted, including Charles Roth, an ill man who died a few days after being evicted from the building.

BJB, however, maintains its actions were proper and that most of the evicted tenants had stopped paying rent.

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