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At its Sept. 22 meeting, City Council approved $150,000 toward the renovation of Perlman and Walchirk Senior apartments, 2300 Noyes Court and 1900 Sherman Ave., in conjunction with the Housing Authority of Cook County. The total project cost of nearly $26 million will be funded through a variety of sources, primarily low-income-housing tax credits.
The Perlman building was completed in 1978, the Walchirk in 1984, said Sarah Flax, the City’s Housing and Grants Administrator. Both buildings offer housing for low-income seniors, and both are in need of serious rehab. The new buildings will offer a “substantial increase in accessible and adaptable units,” she said, with some units designed for sensory disabled tenants.
Evanston will team with Cook County under a “seldom-used HOME regulation that allows Evanston and Cook County to combine HOME funds in a collaborative project that benefits both jurisdictions,” according to Ms. Flax’s memo to City Council. The City’s contribution will be dwarfed by Cook County’s $3.1 million.
Low-income-housing tax credits allow investors to deduct, dollar for dollar, any contribution to the project from annual income. It is unclear which entity will receive the tax benefit.
HACC approached the City, seeking a waiver of building-permit fees to make up for higher than anticipated construction bids. According to the memo, “Waiving the permit fees is not recommended. Although waiving permit fees can be an effective way of reducing the cost of developing affordable housing, staff recommends developing a policy on the use of permit fee waivers.” Absent a policy, requests for waivers may be inconsistently applied.
Construction is slated to begin in December and proceed in tiers. Residents will be offered the option of relocating within the building or being placed elsewhere and will be able to return to their renovated unit after construction has been completed “We’ve worked really hard” to accommodate tenants, said Alderman Judy Fiske, whose First Ward contains both buildings. Because the buildings are both partially vacant, “we have a lot of flexibility,” she added.
The projected is scheduled to be completed by July 2016.