Posts tagged with "SRO":

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Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards honor affordable housing, preservation

Preservation projects took home top honors during the architectural portion of this year's Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), exemplifying humanistic design in the too-often overlooked arenas of affordable housing and community development. Established by the Local Initiatives Support Corp. of Chicago (LISC), the CNDA honor achievements in real estate development and design at the community scale—an issue that's taken on some local political significance as challengers to Mayor Rahm Emanuel slam him for neglecting neighborhood development ahead of municipal elections on February 24. The CNDA ceremony was apolitical, however, with Emanuel himself offering a statement ahead of the awards: “When we think about the City of Chicago, we think of more than just downtown–we think of the historic neighborhoods, the diverse families and the vibrant culture that have come to define us.” Emanuel's deputy mayor attended the ceremony in his stead. CNDA presented three Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design. First place went to the transformation of the Diplomat Hotel into Fred and Pamela Buffett Place, an affordable housing rehab that salvaged an aging SRO in the Lakeview neighborhood. Landon Bone Baker Architects—the team behind similar work at Harvest Commons and on the former site of Cabrini Green's high-rise public housing—recycled old-growth fir for custom benches in the lobby, sprucing up the art deco mid-rise with a green roof and art installations. Weese Langley Weese took second for their conversion of an Albert Kahn auto showroom into Grove Apartments, a winningly modest affordable housing development that enhances walkability in what was once Oak Park's “motor row.” Bronzeville Artist Lofts won third place at the awards for its efforts to revitalize a once humming commercial corridor on the city's near South Side. The 47th Street lofts boast handsome timber beams and dramatic live-work spaces that lend themselves well to a modern, affordable housing rehab. Wrap Architecture revived the 1906 structure, previously Borden's dairy, precluding its demolition. Browse the full list of winners—which includes nods to the Shops and Lofts at 47 and successful efforts to name the historic Pullman neighborhood a national monument—on LISC's website.
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Chateau Hotel is Latest in Long Line of Chicago SROs At Risk

Single Room Occupancy hotels are a dying breed in Chicago. Notoriously undermanaged and generally unpopular among immediate neighbors, the majority of these base-service dwellings have been condemned or rehabbed into other residential uses over the past decade. The fate of the Chateau Hotel, one of the last SRO hotels on Chicago’s North Side, looks to be leaning toward the latter. On Tuesday, city building inspectors met with an attorney for the Chateau’s new owners in housing court to address ongoing code violations present at the depression-era hotel, located at 3838 N Broadway Street in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood. Those violations—which number over 130 and include fire code, plumbing, and waste management abuses—were brought before the building’s former owner, Jack Gore, in October. Gore recently sold the hotel to a group of land trust investors represented as Arbas Investments LP, the stakeholders of which have yet to be publicly revealed. The partnership’s attorney, Mitchell Asher, said that his clients had the funding to bring the Chateau back up to code. This would likely include a full gut and rehab of the 138-bed building—a job that the 100 tenants currently residing at the hotel would not be around to see, he said. “It has to be vacated,” Asher said. For the dozen or so residents who attended the hearing, this was somewhat expected. In 2009, Gore handed the city another nearby SRO, the Diplomat Hotel, in light of similar building and fire code violations; that building is now being rehabbed into housing for people with mental illnesses. Last year, Gore sold his Abbot Hotel property to Jamie Purcell, a principal at BJB properties who is rumored to have a hand in the new ownership of the Chateau. Occupants at these hotels pay daily to monthly rates for rooms that include basic furnishings with shared or private bathrooms. Once an abundant source of housing in Chicago, SROs are a requisite option for some who can’t lease apartments because of background and credit issues and could otherwise be on the streets. Donna Crosier has lived at the Chateau for two-and-a-half years. She and her husband pay $575 a month for a room with a bathroom, but no fridge or stove. Crosier said she doesn’t mind eating out, but what gets to her is the lack of maintenance services in the building, namely rodent control. “That’s not fair, and it doesn’t help the building,” said Crosier. In the hallway of the Daley Center courtroom following the hearing, Alderman James Cappleman (46th) promised residents that his office would begin the supportive housing process ahead of eviction notices at the hotel, where, he said, the continuing code violations were the sign of “a broken system in Chicago.” “You’re living in market-rate housing, but you’re just living in market-rate housing that is so sub-standard,” said Cappleman. “It’s worse than I’ve even seen.” A hearing to discuss a compliance order at the Chateau has been scheduled for March 5.