Location: Chicago, Illinois
Project Description & Impact: 61 affordable apartment homes for families in 4 buildings close to Armitage Avenue in Logan Square
Financing Tools Used: Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity, private lending, City funds, etc.
The Story Behind this Project
Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, a non-profit, 501(c)3 member-based community development corporation that works for the development of communities on the northwest side of Chicago developed the Zapata Apartments in order to help create affordable homes for families in the highly-appreciating neighborhood of Logan Square. For 50 years, Bickerdike has worked by and for the low and moderate-income people who live in West Town, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Avondale, and Hermosa, building and rehabbing affordable housing, creating construction jobs, developing community leaders, creating commercial and community amenities such as a grocery store, commercial space in Bickerdike buildings, etc. and providing community organizing and community planning.
Bickerdike had to overcome fast-appreciating land prices, a small but vocal group of neighbors who opposed affordable housing, and the usual thicket of complications and issues that arise with developing affordable housing in an expensive market. But Bickerdike has spent 50 years overcoming these kinds of obstacles in order to create high-quality affordable housing, stronger communities, and better opportunities for low and moderate income families to secure a better future for their children. In addition to addressing the broader need for more affordable housing for families, the development also created the opportunity for long-time families who had lived in the neighborhood and had worked to improve the community (including the local schools) to stay in the community so that their children could benefit from the improving schools and improving quality of life in Logan Square.
The development consists of 61 new, affordable rental units in 4 buildings and includes a tot lot, commercial space, a smoke-free building, and a variety of green features to lower operating costs and enhance the health and well-being of tenants. Zapata Apartments was announced the 2015 winner of the Award for Excellence in Community Impacts by the National Development Council (NDC). The Award, recognizing the top community development project in the nation, was presented at the NDC Academy Conference in Washington, D.C.