Evergreen, Synergy, Chicago Housing Authority Complete $81M Affordable Seniors Housing Community

by Jeff Shaw

CHICAGO — Evergreen Real Estate Group, Synergy Construction Group and the Chicago Housing Authority have completed construction of Ravenswood Senior Living, a 193-unit affordable seniors housing community in the Ravenswood neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. The property was previously the Ravenswood Hospital, which was built in 1974 and fell vacant in 2002. The redevelopment project cost $81 million and took a year-and-a-half to complete.

Located between Damen and Ravenswood avenues, Ravenswood Senior Living is a 10-story building that is situated close to public transit, including the Damen and Montrose Brown Line stations and the Ravenswood Metra stop.

The seniors housing property has 74 one-bedroom independent living apartments for Chicago Housing Authority residents, as well as 119 units for participants in the Illinois Supportive Living Program, an alternative to nursing home care that is administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

While the two communities are in the same building, the facilities have separate entrances and operate independently from each other. Evergreen is managing the independent living community, located at 4515 N. Winchester Ave., while Asbury Healthcare will operate the supportive living community, located at 1922 W. Sunnyside Ave. The independent living portion of the property is currently 60 percent occupied, and the supportive living portion is moving in residents at the end of July 2021.

When building the project, Evergreen tried to revitalize and maintain as much of the original structure as possible, including the facade, which was cleaned. Additionally, all windows were replaced using the original frames and a small addition on the building’s north side features a facade of metal panels. The developers implemented structural changes to the former hospital including the addition of an elevator and staircase at the entrance of the independent living community to improve accessibility for residents and guests.

Other improvements include new window openings, updated mechanical systems and modernized elevators. Both the independent and supportive living communities share the existing parking garage, which also is utilized by international private French school Lycée Français de Chicago and other commercial and residential buildings on the block.

For the independent living section of the property, the amenities include a roof deck, community room, fitness room, library/computer room, lounges and laundry rooms. The adjacent supportive living community has its own amenities, including a roof deck, dining room with meals served daily, community room, fitness and physical therapy room, salon, library/computer room, multipurpose/TV room and attendant stations on each floor.

In addition, the supportive living community has an onsite doctor’s office, which is staffed by a physician up to two days a week and offers 24-hour care provided by trained medical professionals. Applications are currently still being accepted for both the supportive living and independent living apartments. Residents of the independent living section must be 62 or older and residents of the supportive living section must be 65 or older. Also, there is an income restriction of 60 percent of Area Median Income for all apartments.

“Ravenswood Senior Living is the first facility of its kind in Illinois and will provide a pathway for low-income seniors to age in place while maintaining a high quality of life,” says Tracey Scott, CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).

Ravenswood Senior Living is owned by Evergreen Real Estate Group in partnership with Chicago-based Synergy Construction Group and the CHA. Financial partners for the independent living community include the CHA, which provided both capital funds and rental assistance for all 74 units, as well as IHDA, National Development Corp. and IFF.

Additionally, financial partners for the supportive living facility include IHDA, NDC, KeyBank, Ravenswood Community Council, IFF and ComEd through its Energy Efficiency Program.

WJW Architects designed the project.

IHDA provided first mortgages totaling $29.1 million, construction bonds totaling $12.5 million, as well as issued four percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits producing $16.7 million in equity syndicated by NDC, and Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credits producing just under $1 million in equity syndicated by Clocktower. Additionally, Chicago Housing Authority provided $22.3 million in permanent financing and Key Bank provided $9.2 million in construction financing.

“The senior population in Illinois is growing, and IHDA is committed to increasing the supply of affordable and supportive housing opportunities that allow families, friends and neighbors to age safely in place in the community of their choice,” says Kristin Faust, executive director of IHDA.

Leopardo Cos. was the general contractor for the project, with Evergreen Construction Co., a division of Evergreen Real Estate Group, serving as a subcontractor.

Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group is a developer and investment firm of affordable and market-rate multifamily apartments. Ravenswood Senior Living is the third affordable seniors housing community that Evergreen has developed on the north side of Chicago in recent years.

In 2019, the company partnered with the CHA, Chicago Public Library and Department of Housing on two developments, Independence Apartments and Library at 4022 N. Elston Ave. and Northtown Apartments and Library at 6800 N. Western Ave. in Chicago.

— Julia Sanders

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