Ceremonial groundbreaking at Perlman Apartments on Oct. 29. RoundTable photo

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Many elected and appointed officials gathered to celebrate the renovation of Jane R. Perlman Apartments, 1900 Sherman Ave., and Victor Walchirk Apartments, 2300 Noyes St., on Oct. 29. The buildings, which contain a total of 199 apartment units, are owned and operated by an affiliate of the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC).

The buildings were built in 1978, Richard Monocchio, executive director of HACC, told the RoundTable. He said each building will have extensive work performed on their exteriors, and the interiors will be “gutted” and renovated. “They’re going to look like new,” he said. The total redevelopment cost for both buildings is estimated at $25.7 million.

All of the common areas will be upgraded to make them compliant with federal accessibility standards, and 10 units in each building will be made accessible. There will be two sensory units in each building.

The current tenants in the building are low-income seniors and persons with a disability, and after the renovations the units will continue to be set aside for seniors and persons with a disability whose income is at or below 60% of the area median income. The tenants pay 30% of their income toward rent, and federal subsidies cover the balance. The average income of the current tenants is about $15,000 per year, Mr. Monocchio told the RoundTable.

He said there are enough vacant apartments in each building, so that tenants can be temporarily relocated within the building while their units are being renovated.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said this is the first project in Cook County to use the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which allows HACC to utilize private debt to finance the renovation. She said, “A project like this is critically important in providing a stable home for hundreds of senior citizens and people with disabilities.” 

Ms. Preckwinkle also praised the collaboration between local, county, state and the federal governments that made it possible.

 Christine Moran, Illinois Housing Development Authority, said the IHDA provided $1.5 million in tax credits, which will generate about $17 million in equity for the project. Ms. Preckwinkle added that Cook County Bureau of Economic Development is providing $3.5 million in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding; and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said the City of Evanston is contributing $110,000 in HOME funds.

Mayor Tisdahl said, “The project is terribly important … to provide our seniors with the best possible place to live.” State Senator Daniel Biss said, “I have a lot of enthusiasm for what is happening here today. It’s important to treat people in a humane manner. This is essential to provide quality housing for seniors in Evanston.” Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky said, “This County is fortunate to have someone with the vision, the know-how and the commitment to get this done.”

The project is expected to create 70 jobs, said Mr. Monocchio.  A job fair is planned for early November.

Construction is expected to start in December and the Perlman Apartments are expected to be completed by December 2015, and the Walchirk Apartments by May or June 2016.