Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Alderman Anthony Beale and Chicago Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) Board Chair, Reverend Merlon Jackson today joined representatives of several housing advocates to announce $1.5 million in funding from the national foreclosure settlement to support an affordable historic home revitalization initiative in the Pullman community. Earlier this year, the City gained authority to acquire an additional twenty vacant homes and transfer them to CNI for renovation and sale. Nearly all of the national settlement funds from Attorney General Madigan’s office, $1.3 million will go towards the rehab and sale of those homes. An additional $400,000 allocated from the City will be used to help individual homeowners purchase the homes after they’re rehabbed and ready for occupancy. The remaining $200,000 in national foreclosure settlement funding will go towards the acquisition of 15 buildings that will be developed into approximately forty new rental homes. More than $5 million has been invested to-date towards the renovation of 38 historic homes in the Pullman neighborhood.
“In redeveloping the homes in Pullman, we have set the stage for the job and service investments necessary to rebuild this historic community,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The successful redevelopment of this neighborhood will require an ongoing commitment on the part of the public sector, private developers and community organizations to turn a bold plan for economic growth and preservation into a lasting reality.”
The $1.5 million provided by Madigan’s office stems from the Attorney General’s lead role in obtaining a historic $25 billion national settlement with the country’s five largest bank mortgage servicers – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, formerly GMAC. The 2012 settlement addressed allegations of widespread robo-signing of documents and other fraudulent practices by banks during foreclosure proceedings. The CNI renovation and affordable housing program is part of the Attorney General’s larger $70 million funding initiative to support relief efforts for Illinois communities fraught with vacant and abandoned properties in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
“Whole neighborhoods in Chicago were devastated by the foreclosure crisis,” Madigan said. “The funding from the national mortgage settlement will help restore these communities block by block and serve as a down payment on a more stable financial future for families in Pullman.”
Improvements in Pullman are being anchored by Pullman Park, the mixed-use 180-acre site situated on the grounds of a former steel factory. The $100 million first phase included development of a 148,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter, a Ross Dress for Less and Planet Fitness gym located at 111th and Doty Road and generated over 300 construction jobs and 750 permanent jobs.
“People who live in Pullman know how great this community is and history buffs and home tourists know. But in the past years Pullman has come into its own - being recognized not only for its past but for its present,” said Alderman Beale. “Together this community is rebuilding the housing, attracting the companies, strengthening education, retail and transportation. This grant celebrates what we have accomplished and paves the way for the future.”
The new resources are scheduled to initiate the next phase of preservation efforts in the North Pullman area which will include neighborhood retail and restaurants, new industrial and serve as home to the Method manufacturing and distribution facility.
“Over the past decade an amazing array of vibrant community organizations, residents, civic organizations aided by leaders like Attorney General Madigan and Alderman Beale have accomplished great things in Pullman,” said Reverend Jackson. “Now named as one of America’s great neighborhoods and in-line to be designated a ‘national park’ Pullman is a place where people want to live.”
Pullman is one of seven “opportunity areas” identified as part of the City’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now initiative. Announced in March 2013, it is coordinating new economic development, housing, and quality of life improvements across seven opportunity-rich sections of Chicago. Pullman has experienced $226 million in planned and completed public and private investments that include renovation of the Pullman Wheelworks Apartments, development of the Pullman Park Community Center, additions at Gwendolyn Brooks Selective Enrollment Academy, a $1 million rehabilitation at the Palmer Park Fieldhouse and the new Method factory.
Across Pullman, projects are creating nearly 1,500 new jobs and strengthening economic development creating new affordable housing and attracting new retail and jobs to the area. Pullman is also being considered for designation as a National Historical Park, which is projected to boost tourism by 300,000 visitors a year and bring an additional $40 million in annual economic output.
Chicago Neighborhoods Now was projected to coordinate $330 million in City funding and $2.6 billion in State, Federal and private funding. Based on projections announced in the past 12 months, we have not only met, but exceeded those goals.