Financial measures approved by City Council today will enable the $110 million rehabilitation of a historic Bronzeville apartment complex that once was home to poet Gwendolyn Brooks, music producer Quincy Jones, singer Nat “King” Cole, and boxer Joe Lewis.
Vacant since 1999, Rosenwald Courts, at 47th Street and Michigan Avenue, will be rehabilitated as 239 apartments for seniors and families earning up to 60 percent of area median income.
“The Rosenwald has a long and storied history, but the City’s support for its comprehensive rehabilitation will ensure its best days are yet to come,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
Built in 1929 by former Sears, Roebuck & Co President Julius Rosenwald to provide workforce housing for African Americans, the complex consists of interconnected five-story buildings and an interior courtyard. Its proposed redevelopment by Rosenwald Courts Apartments LP will include new interiors, building systems, elevators, and a variety of exterior repairs and upgrades. The rehab plan also includes retail, office and community spaces along 47th Street.
City support will include a $58.6 million bond issue, $34.2 million in low income housing tax credit equity, $25 million in Tax Increment Financing, a $5 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant, and $2.8 million in donations tax credits. Five adjacent City-owned lots, valued at $155,000, will also be sold to the developer for $1 each and used for parking.
Designed by Rosenwald’s nephew Ernest Grunsfeld Jr., the complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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