Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Ald. Cappleman Gives Details About Lawrence House Sale & Tenant Transitions
Yesterday afternoon, FLATS Chicago finalized the purchase of Lawrence House, located at 1020 W. Lawrence. For many years, this building has been in and out of housing court for over a hundred code violations. Frequently, the previous owners wouldn't pay their utility bills and residents would come to our office to plead for help to stay warm and to cook food.
I have had discussions with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Sen. Heather Steans, the City's Dept. of Housing & Economic Development, and affordable housing developers to see if we could find a way to turn Lawrence House into well-run affordable housing. Due to the many years of neglect, in the end, we were unable to find a developer who could purchase this building and renovate it to create affordable units. Had FLATS Chicago not made this purchase, Lawrence House would likely have headed toward demolition court.
FLATS Chicago will be providing a hands-on approach to transitioning the current tenants to safe permanent housing. Director of Transitions, Sherri Kranz, who has over 3 decades of community experience, will be leading the team as they work with each individual tenant, family member, and social worker to carefully craft a relocation plan. Their past experience with transitioning residents to other affordable apartments has been phenomenal and far exceeded what is required of new owners of apartment buildings. The residents at Lawrence House have deserved better housing for many years.
FLATS Chicago has already secured a commercial tenant, Heritage Outpost, which will offer a cafe service and bicycle share program with custom Heritage for FLATS bicycles. To read more about FLATS Chicago's plans for this historic building, click here. Leasing is set to begin in the fall of 2015.
While the sale of the Lawrence House will reduce the number of market-rate rental units within the $500 per month range, Uptown still outranks the rest of Chicago with having the highest number of government subsidized units in the City; an amount that is 15 times higher than the median average of the 77 Chicago community areas.* To learn more about the challenges and the steps I'm taking to build more affordable housing in Chicago, visit our recently revised 46th Ward Master Plan.
Please feel free to stop by during open office hours with any questions, concerns, or ideas you might have about housing. Open office hours are every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning.
* Data Availability: DHED - 2Q 2010, HUD - 4Q 2010, IHDA - 3Q 2011