NHP Foundation secures $27M loan to renovate Mark Twain Hotel

The nonprofit already secured another $50M in public financing and tax credits for the project

Dec.December 31, 2018 12:00 PM

NHP Foundation CEO Richard F. Burns and the Mark Twain Hotel at 111 W Division Street (Credit: NHP Foundation)

The non-profit NHP Foundation secured a $27.3 million loan this month, the final piece of financing needed to rehabilitate the historic Mark Twain Hotel, a 152-unit single-room occupancy building in the Gold Coast.

The private loan from Bellwether Enterprise joins a variety of public funding approved in October by the City Council, which issued a bond of up to $40 million to back the project. City leaders also approved $5 million in zero-interest multifamily development loans and $1.3 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

The developer also secured $4.8 million in federal historic preservation tax credits, a $908,000 loan from another private lender and a $148,000 energy efficiency grant from ComEd, according to the city ordinance passed Oct. 31.

At the same time the loan was issued, NHP appeared to transfer title of the building at 111 West Division Street from one LLC to another, paying $184,000 in real estate transfer taxes in the process, according to Cook County property records. The taxes suggest a transaction worth about $23 million.

The New York-based foundation paid about $21 million for the building in May 2016, backed by a $16.6 million loan from Pembrook Capital Management, according to a press release at the time.

The Harry Glube-designed hotel, completed in 1932, includes 58,000 square feet of space, including 9,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. The number of units would be reduced from 152 to 148 under the renovation, which is set to be completed by the end of 2019.

NHP credited its 2016 acquisition of the property to the city’s 2014 SRO Preservation Ordinance, which requires owners of the short-term rental properties to spend at least six months seeking out affordable housing developers before any other buyer. As of September, 11 SRO buildings had been preserved through the measure, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city planners this year dusted off a collection of policies this year aimed at preserving affordable housing, including a free financing program for developers who maintain affordable units and a new affordability “pilot zone” spanning the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods.

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