Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Related Companies, Alderman Willie B. Cochran, community leaders and residents today participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand reopening of Parkway Gardens Apartments, a 694-unit affordable housing development serving 2,400 residents in Chicago’s Southside, and to launch an annual Parkway Gardens scholarship program offering $5,000 to one resident each year for higher education. They were also joined by members of the Academy for Urban School Leadership and students from the Dulles School of Excellence to unveil a new athletic field, the first green space for the school community to hold organized athletics and other recess activities.
"As a direct result of this private partnership, here at the Parkway Gardens we are investing in a path to a brighter future for our children that starts with a supportive home and continues into a challenging classroom,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Before this green field, the area where we are standing now used to be asphalt and the Principal was spending thousands of dollars every year on Band-Aids because it wasn’t safe. Thousands of dollars can be spent better, and we don’t need Band-Aid solutions for our kids – we need relentless standards for education and a positive environment that promotes safety.”
“The development and preservation of affordable housing has been a cornerstone of Related for more than 40 years, and the reopening of Parkway Gardens is a testament to our commitment to never take a single unit of affordable housing to market rent and to building communities,” said Matthew Finkle, President of Related Affordable. “I would like to recognize Related Affordable’s Founding President Mark Carbone, and all of our community partners in Chicago, who collaborated on the acquisition and rehabilitation of Parkway Gardens and the revitalization of this neighborhood by bringing a much needed athletic field to the Dulles Academy. By working together we have been able to help transform this community and give the residents of Parkway Gardens the homes and amenities they deserve. I am also thrilled to announce the creation of the Parkway Gardens scholarship program. Beginning next year, Related Affordable will provide an annual $5,000 scholarship to a Parkway Gardens resident for the pursuit of higher education.”
“The renovation of Parkway Gardens and the opening of Dulles’ new athletic field is an example of bringing community partnerships to life,” said Alderman Willie B. Cochran. “I’ve made it a priority to bring investments into the community, and worked very closely and enthusiastically with Related on the redevelopment of Parkway Gardens and creation of the Dulles Field. This was an opportunity to lift people up and provide them the kind of housing they deserve. The athletic field is a solid example of my commitment to developing and promoting healthy living in this community. Just like this project, I will continue to work to provide positive outcomes for the residents of the 20th Ward.”
“Related Midwest is proud to unveil the renovated Parkway Gardens apartments and the brand new Dulles Field to the community,” said Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest who oversaw the rehabilitation process. “Whether downtown on Lake Shore Drive, or here at Parkway Gardens, our mission at Related is to build communities. Parkway Gardens and Dulles Field represent a $100 million investment in this community and its rehabilitation created more than 300 local construction jobs.”
Parkway Gardens is located on the Southside of Chicago and consists of 35 buildings on a 13-acre parcel. Related Affordable, a division of Related Companies, and Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) acquired the property in August 2011, extending the affordability of the units for the Chicago community for another 30 years. Wells Fargo made a $36.5 million equity investment in the purchase and renovation, comprised of its purchase of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Federal Historic Credits. The property also received $59.5 million in bond financing under the New Issue Bond Program from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which also allocated the Low Income Housing Tax Credits that were purchased by Wells Fargo. Fannie Mae, via Oak Grove Capital, provided credit enhancements for the bonds.
“We are excited to see the transformation of this housing development and congratulate all parties involved,” said Korbin Heiss, a senior vice president in Community Lending and Investment at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is committed to serving our communities, and is proud to partner with the Related Companies to help provide needed affordable housing in the Southside of Chicago.”
“As the state’s housing agency under Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is proud to have provided the critical federal financial investment to preserve the affordability of the 694-unit Parkway Gardens Apartments,” IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney said. “Governor Quinn recognizes the need to preserve safe and decent affordable rental housing for the people of Illinois, and quality jobs have been created as a direct result of his commitment.”
Related has substantially renovated the buildings investing $100 million in the property and upgrades, creating 300 local construction jobs. Today, residents benefit from new kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing, flooring, appliances, lighting, elevators and heating systems. They are also able to enjoy a number of brand new amenity spaces including; a laundry area, two playgrounds, a computer lab, barbeque areas, a vegetable garden and community green spaces throughout the property. Related has also invested in a state-of-the-art entry access and security system that links directly to the City.
“The rehabilitation of Parkway Gardens shows what can be accomplished when owners and resident associations work together,” said Shirley Johnson, Organizing Director of the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. “Related significantly improved the living conditions in the buildings, as well as the surrounding community, preserving safe, decent and affordable housing for the Southside of Chicago. Congratulations to Related and the Parkway Garden Tenants Association on a job well!”
To complement the renovations made at Parkway Gardens, Related also installed a field for the John Foster Dulles Elementary School. The new 8,410 square foot turf field replaced an asphalt lot and gives the students – 90 percent of whom live in the Parkway Gardens Apartments – an opportunity to have recess and sporting events outside for the first time in the school’s history.
“Academy for Urban School Leadership is thrilled that Related has made this significant donation of a new playing field to improve the lives of the children at Dulles School of Excellence,” said Mike Koldyke, Founder and Chair Emeritus AUSL. “This field will benefit the school and families it serves, as well as the entire community – we are so grateful for this gift.”
“We teach the students at the Dulles School of Excellence to ‘Be bold enough to use your voices, brave enough to listen to your hearts and strong enough to live the life you have always imagined’. And today we are celebrating the creation of a new athletic field that will help our students do just that,” said Dulles School of Excellence Principal Kesa Thurman. “I want to thank Related Companies for including our school in their vision to create a better Parkway Gardens community. We all know it takes a village, and I’m so grateful they included us in theirs.”
About Related: Related Companies is the most prominent privately-owned real estate firm in the United States. Formed 40 years ago, Related is a fully-integrated, highly diversified industry leader with experience in virtually every aspect of development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing and sales. Headquartered in New York City, Related has offices and major developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, South Florida, Abu Dhabi, São Paulo and Shanghai, and an existing portfolio of real estate assets, valued at over $15 billion, made up of best-in-class mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show and affordable properties. In Chicago, Related Midwest is the preeminent Chicago developer of luxury condominium and rental homes, affordable housing and unique mixed-use properties and is recognized for its innovative, market-defining developments. Related Affordable is the division of Related Companies that develops, acquires and preserves affordable housing throughout the nation. To date, Related has developed or acquired 45,000 affordable and workforce units, and currently has 29 properties under development or under contract. For more information about Related, please visit www.related.com.
About Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo’s Community Lending and Investment group provides debt and equity capital for economic development, job creation and affordable housing in areas of need nationwide. For more about Community Lending and Investment at Wells Fargo, visit: www.wellsfargo.com/com/financing/real-estate/community-lending-investment.