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Housing project seeks $4M in city aid

The City of Evanston is being asked to provide $4 million toward the $22 million cost of a planned 44-unit affordable housing development on Church Street.

The financing request from the non-profit Housing Opportunity Development Corporation is scheduled to be reviewed by the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee Tuesday evening.

The bulk of the funds for the project at 1811-1815 Church St. are scheduled to be provided by the Illinois Housing Development Authority through low income housing tax credits.

The five-story project includes ground-floor retail space and two levels of underground parking required by the site’s zoning. HODC says those requirements add about $3.1 million to the total cost of the project.

City staff is proposing to provide a $1.5 million grant for the retail and parking component of the project from the West Evanston tax increment financing district. The grant would be repayable if the property were sold or not maintained as primarily affordable for 30 years.

An additional $1.5 million grant from the TIF and a $1 million zero-interest deferred loan from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund would support the housing component of the project. Those funds would be repayable if the property were sold or not maintained as primarily affordable beyond the 30-year LIHTC affordability period.

The city staff memo says that after accounting for other planned TIF expenditures between now and the scheduled end of the TIF’s life in 2028, there would be no funds left over to fund any additional affordable housing projects, beyond this one, unless the state legislature extended the TIF’s life for an additional 12 years.

The HODC project would include six units restricted to households earning no more than 30% of area median income, 11 units at 50% of AMI and 25 units at 60% of AMI.

Some of the units will also qualify for project-based vouchers through the Housing Authority of Cook County and some will have accessible and adaptable features.

The city’s Land Use Commission is scheduled to make a recommendation on zoning variations requested for the HODC project at a meeting on Feb. 8.

Both the zoning variations and the funding request will ultimately require City Council approval for the project to move forward.

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