Affordable housing nonprofit picks up 682 new units in city and suburbs

Preservation of Affordable Housing targeted 10 apartment buildings in an effort to “spread our wings” across the region, an executive said

TRD CHICAGO /
Jun.June 12, 2019 03:00 PM
Clockwise from left: Corcoran Place Apartments, Burnham Wing Schoolhouse, Burnham Manor, and Bill Eager, POAH Chicago-area vice president

Clockwise from left: Corcoran Place Apartments, Burnham Wing Schoolhouse, Burnham Manor, and Bill Eager, POAH Chicago-area vice president

Nonprofit developer Preservation of Affordable Housing is expanding locally far beyond its tentpole cluster of apartment buildings in Woodlawn.

The Boston-based firm said it is in the process of acquiring 10 buildings with 682 combined apartments on the city’s South and West sides and in suburban Elgin and Harvey. The development firm, known as POAH, is paying about $41 million total for the properties in multiple transactions.

Last month, POAH closed on a $17 million deal to buy two properties in the city’s Austin neighborhood and another two in northwest suburban Elgin from Chicago-based Burnham Management Company. The buildings’ rents are subsidized through Section 8 vouchers administered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The 94-unit Corcoran Place Apartments, spread across two buildings in Austin, are geared toward seniors and people with disabilities. POAH followed up the purchase by taking out a $4 million loan from Local Initiatives Support Corp., according to Bill Eager, POAH’s vice president for the Chicago area.

The Austin buildings join the 100-unit Burnham Manor senior complex and the 27-unit Burnham Wing Schoolhouse Apartments in Elgin to round out the transaction. The buyer backed those properties with a $10.2 million loan from KeyBank.

In a separate deal, POAH is set to buy six senior housing facilities with 421 combined apartments from the YMCA Foundation, including three on the city’s South Side and another three in south suburban Harvey, in a pair of transactions totalling roughly $24 million.

The proposals hit the “sweet spot” for POAH’s model of buying and maintaining subsidized units around the city, Eager said. The firm manages its own properties through subsidiary group POAH Communities.

Aside from one 132-unit property in Kankakee, the Elgin and Harvey acquisitions will mark the first suburban ventures for POAH since it moved into Chicago in 2008 by taking over the Grove Parc apartment complex, later renamed The Grant at Woodlawn Park.

“As we’ve made progress in Woodlawn, we’ve been trying to spread our wings in other Chicago communities,” Eager said. “These properties are a natural part of that progression.”

The 10 added buildings give POAH just over 1,865 units across the Chicago area, part of a nationwide portfolio of about 12,000 units spread across 11 states and Washington, D.C.

This year, the firm got underway on a $12 million renovation of the 122-unit Greenwood Park apartment complex in Kenwood, which it acquired in 2016.

Though it mostly buys and manages existing buildings, POAH also sometimes engages in ground-up development. Last year it completed Woodlawn Station, a 70-unit mixed-income complex next to the 63rd Street and Cottage Grove CTA Green Line station.

It will also tap Skender’s new modular construction facility to build the 77-unit Garfield Green mixed-income apartment complex in Garfield Park.


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