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Marion Jones Townhomes to be demolished for new affordable homes

Published: Monday, April 7, 2014 6:19 p.m. CDT

NORTH CHICAGO – In a development that bodes well for meeting the diverse housing needs of Lake County residents, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the demolition of Marion Jones Townhomes in North Chicago, which will official launch the plans by the Lake County Housing Authority to construct an estimated 238 new affordable rental homes for families and seniors on the adjacent site

The proposed phase I, to be completed by late 2015 or early 2016, will involve the completion of 50 units designated specifically for those over 62 years of age and older, as well as the completion of the community room, fitness center, computer lab and other landscaping. The second phase of the development, to be completed in late 2016, will entail the completion of 188 family apartments. Modeled on successful market rate developments, the new development will feature 28 mid-rise buildings in a campus setting that includes a central community building complete with computer lab, fitness center and recreation space, and activity space for children

Sr. CEO David A. Northern of the LCHA said, “Through the replacement of an obsolete housing project, we now have the opportunity to create a housing development that both more accurately meets the needs of Lake County’s diverse population while providing jobs and economic development for the County.

Northern said that while a portion of the new housing will be reserved for public housing, rentals will also be available to individuals and families who earn up to 60 percent of the area’s median income

Northern also stressed that the $37 million development will be good for the Lake County economy as it will provide a number of construction and permanent jobs. Financing for the development will come from a mixture of public and private funders, including HUD, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Lake County Housing Authority and a variety of private equity funds and lenders.

“This innovative development makes North Chicago one of the leaders in the housing industry by offering our residents mixed market value and income based units. Thanks to the Lake County Housing Authority, this investment is sure to spur economic growth throughout North Chicago as we continue to progress citywide,” said North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr

Housing Authority’s Development partner, The Benoit Group was named on January 25, 2013 over two other finalists — Habitat Company and Community Builders, — with the assistance of the community based Marion Jones Development Evaluation Committee. The Benoit Group specializes in the development of mixed-income family, independent senior and HUD-subsidized affordable housing

The existing Marion Jones complex was originally built in 1961, making it one of the oldest public housing developments in the state. Today it is home to 300 residents who will be given the opportunity to move into the new development upon its completion. In the interim all current residents ‘in good standings’ will be given the choice to move into other LCHA housing or take housing vouchers that can be used anywhere in the United States.

Relocation assistance will include advisory services, housing search assistance, actual reasonable moving expense payments.

For information, visit LCHA's website at www.lakecountyha.org.

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