Cinnaire plans affordable housing developments in Chicago area

Community development financial institution also building a project near St. Louis

Cinnaire Developing Affordable Housing Projects in Chicago Area
Cinnaire CEO Mark McDaniel and a rendering of the community project (Cinnaire, Nia Architects)

A community development lender is planning two new projects in the Chicago area. The lender, Michigan-based Cinnaire, will also finance a third project downstate, near St. Louis. 

The three projects will total 112 affordable housing units with 227 bedrooms, according to the Chicago Business Journal. The Chicago area developments will be on the West Side’s Austin neighborhood and in the North Shore suburb Libertyville, but Cinnaire hasn’t given exact locations. 

The three developments are part of the allocation for two low-income housing tax credit funds Cinnaire recently closed at $193 million. The projects are part of a larger effort by the group to develop or preserve 1,849 units across 22 projects in nine states. 

“This unique investment opportunity aligns financial returns with a social mission, creating value for investors and positively impacting the lives of individuals and families,” said Josh Ghena, senior vice president of equity business funding for Cinnaire. 

Cinnaire raised $417 million in equity investments that went on to support 3,313 affordable properties in 2023, the outlet said. 

Affordable housing has been a major focus for Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration, but it has faced challenges. 

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Last week, Johnson named Lissette Castañeda as commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Housing, an appointment that matches Johnson’s focus on increasing affordable housing. Castañeda previously was the executive director of LUCHA, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing advocacy. 

Johnson has sought a referendum on the March ballot that would increase the city’s real estate transfer tax for all properties over $1 million to help fund homelessness initiatives. On Friday business groups filed a lawsuit aiming to prevent the referendum from going to the voters in March. 

Another major player in Chicago’s affordable housing market, Heartland Alliance, shut down its affordable housing division in December. The organization, which was founded in 1888, oversaw developments in Chicago and Wisconsin. 

By selling off its housing division, Heartland is attempting to avoid bankruptcy and protect other services like healthcare. 

— Miranda Davis 

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