The Real Deal Chicago

Nonprofit looks to rehab 200 vacant South Side homes in next five years

The Southwest Organizing Project is partnering with private developers
May 10, 2018 09:00AM

Jeff Bartow

Some 200 vacant homes on the South Side would be rehabbed and returned to the market over the next five years as part of an ongoing effort of an area nonprofit and its partners.

The Southwest Organizing Project is launching the $10 million effort in an area bounded by 59th Street, 71st Street, Western and California avenues, the second phase of a program that’s already significantly reduced the number of vacant properties in the area, according to Crain’s.

In the first phase, the group partnered with Northbrook-based Brinshore Development to spend $7 million rehabbing 15 buildings with 50 units in total. The efforts led other for-profit developers and homeowners to rehab another 65, said Jeff Bartow, executive director of the group.

He told Crain’s the second phase will be able to rehab some 200 more for $10 million thanks to lessons learned and an improved economy.

In one case during the first phase, the group spent about $230,000 to acquire and rehab a brick bungalow and eventually resold it at about $130,000. The loss was justified because “we’re helping to restart the real estate market in a middle-class neighborhood. We’re putting properties back on the tax rolls and (leading the way) for other developers to do properties here,” said Chris Brown, director of operations for the group.

Brinshore CEO David Brint said that “if they can create a housing market where people feel more secure investing, the neighborhood gets more stable, and the schools and churches get more stable.” [Crain’s] — John O’Brien