Affordable Housing Investor makes 2 deals on South Side

Adding substantially to its stake in Chicago, a national investor in affordable housing has bought two large South Side apartment complexes in recent weeks, promising to keep rents low while improving tenant services.

The purchase by Jonathan Rose Coss includes properties opposite the under-construction Obama Presidential Center in Englewood and Woodlawn, which houses 485 apartments. Rose is a New York-based firm that combines a profit motive with a stated mission of improving affordable housing and helping communities.

“We believe in trying to make every property buying opportunity a community of opportunities,” said Nathan Taft, Rose’s Partner and Senior Managing Director. By the end of the year, he said he expects Rose to have about 2,000 apartments in the Chicago area.

The South Side acquisition includes local partnerships for practical management. Most units are enrolled in the federal Section 8 housing subsidy program that limits tenants’ monthly payments to 30% of their income.

In the Woodlawn deal, Rose acquired 6040 S.O., in a joint venture with the Preservation of Affordable Housing, a national non-profit group operating in Woodlawn. Bought the 318-unit Jackson Park Terrace at Harper Avenue. The $25 million sale includes a 15-story high-rise and adjoining townhome, near the site of the Obama Center in Jackson Park.

The units were built in 1973 by the former Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, which later went bankrupt. The new owners pledged to provide $4 million for structural repairs and improvements. He said the work will be carried out by Chicago-based GMA Construction Group, which is famous for its work on Pullman National Monument’s Visitor Center. The owners also said they would improve access to social services.

Woodlawn residents have expressed fears that the Obama project will bring development to the area, raise rents and drive residents out in the long run. Taft said his company’s investment will help the region remain affordable.

“It is perhaps ironic that Jackson Park Terrace was built to provide affordable housing that would not be in the private market; the need now is to protect this valuable property from market pressures,” Taft said.

In another South Side deal, Rose has partnered with 5T Management to purchase a 13-building complex called Englewood Gardens for $10.7 million. The buildings are 167 units and were owned by Chicago Community Development Corporation.

The buildings extend from 6500 to approximately 7100 south, with addresses on General Boulevard and streets such as Eggleston, Perry, Parnell and Stewart Avenues.

5T will oversee a renovation that will include new flooring across all units. Tenant access for health care professionals and other service providers is also promised.

South Side’s elders praised the investment in statements issued by Rose. Eld. Leslie Hairston (5.)th) called the Jackson Park Terrace sale, a “guarantee of long-term affordability and further investment”. [that] gratifying, and I hope to be a model for others drawn to Woodlawn in this time of renovation.”

Eld. Janet Taylor (20.)th), said, “Chicago is blessed with great housing stock – that we have local developers who work closely with well-respected companies such as Rose assures me that our community will have the resources they need. We need it.”

Earlier this year, the company made another Chicago purchase by purchasing the 146-unit Archer Courts project at 2242 S. Princeton Avenue for $11.6 million.

The company was established in 1989 and has around 18,000 apartments across the country.

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