HUMBOLDT PARK — A 72-unit affordable housing complex named after late South African president Nelson Mandela is now open in West Humboldt Park.
The complex, led by developer Bickerdike Revdelopment Corp., includes 13 buildings spread over scattered sites bounded by Central Park, Chicago and Kedzie avenues and Franklin Boulevard.
Four of the buildings are located near Troy Street and Franklin Boulevard. [DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]
The buildings offer a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for people earning up to 60 percent of area median income. The rents range from $667 for a one-bedroom to $942 for a three-bedroom. Amenities include off-street parking, bicycle storage, wiring for cable and high-speed internet, secure intercom entry systems, energy efficient heating and plumbing systems and a laundry facility.
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), whose ward includes the project, David Reifman, commissioner of the city's Department of Planning and Development, Bickerdike CEO Joy Arguete and other partners on the project all convened for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon near a few of the buildings at Troy Street and Franklin Boulevard.
Burnett praised Bickerdike for spearheading the project, which has been in the making for at least four years.
"The Bickerdike organization is one of the strongest advocates for affordable housing. This organization stands so strong. They remind me of Nelson Mandela," Burnett said. "It's not just a housing organization. It's a holistic organization. Not only are they building housing, but they're also building people and they're building spirit."
Reifman said the project has a broader impact on the neighborhood and the city as a whole.
"West Humboldt Park is an example of a nationwide housing crisis. And like much of the West Side, its recovery is an ongoing process that requires community support, cooperation and a very focused approach to local investment. And that is what brings us here today."
He called the project a "fantastic representation" of public and private partnership.
The project cost a total of $27 million, which includes $6.5 million in tax increment financing dollars and $1.8 million in low-income housing tax credits that the city says will generate $17.8 million in equity toward the project. The rest of the funding comes from private and federal loans, according to the city.
Mandela is known for being South Africa's first black president and winning the Nobel Peace Prize, among other achievements. The New York Times described Mandela, who died in 2013, as an "international emblem of dignity and forbearance."
Inside one of the first floor apartments. [DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]
A rendering of the complex [Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp.]
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