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Affordable-housing nonprofit buys Uptown, Bridgeport properties

August 3, 2020

4431 N. Clifton Ave apartment building

Originally published in Crain's Chicago Business 

Preservation of Affordable Housing, a non-profit apartment investor, has acquired 247 apartments in Uptown and Bridgeport, expanding its portfolio beyond 2,000 units.

Boston-based POAH bought four properties in Uptown and one in Bridgeport from the Chicago Community Development Corporation, a longtime affordable-housing investor. POAH profit has been expanding rapidly in Chicago the past few years, acquiring 700 units in 2019, but had yet to establish a presence in the two neighborhoods.

“We want to continue to grow,” said Bill Eager, senior vice president of POAH and the organization’s Midwest leader. “We want good properties and properties that need good owners like us.”

POAH paid $2.4 million for the properties and assumed about $6.6 million of first mortgage debt and $27 million of public debt issued through the city and Illinois Housing Development Authority, Eager said. The buildings include 109 units that are subsidized through the federal government’s Section 8 program.

POAH began working on the transaction before the coronavirus swept into Chicago, turning the local real estate market upside down. With so many people out of work, many apartment owners have had a hard time collecting rent, and a statewide eviction ban prevents them from evicting delinquent tenants. Anxiety is high among affordable-housing advocates.

“There’s a lot of concern out there,” Eager said. “There’s obviously a lot of need. The need for affordable housing is only going to get greater if the economy gets worse.”

But POAH has managed to hold up, collecting a little more than 90 percent of rent due, he said. And the non-profit has been able to avoid layoffs or draconian budget cuts. One reason: POAH owns a lot of Section 8 units with rents largely covered by the government.

In Uptown, POAH acquired:

Uptown Preservation Associates, a 77-unit property at 4431 N. Clifton Ave., 900 W. Windsor Ave. and 927 W. Wilson Ave.

Clifton Magnolia, a 59-unit property at 4416-4422 N. Clifton and 4416-26 N. Magnolia Ave.

Hazel Winthrop, a 30-unit property at 4426-4428 N. Magnolia, 852-854 W. Sunnyside Ave., 4813-4815 N. Winthrop and 912-914 W. Montrose Ave. 

Sunnyside Kenmore, with 26 units at 847-849 W. Sunnyside and 4130 N. Kenmore Ave.

Voice of the People in Uptown, a housing non-profit that owned stakes in the buildings with Chicago Community Development, will remain an investor in the properties.

In Bridgeport, POAH bought the Archer Avenue Senior Residences, a 55-unit building at 2928 S. Archer Ave.

POAH, which entered Chicago in 2008 with an acquisition in Woodlawn, now owns properties in 10 neighborhoods, including Austin and Grand Boulevard, and two suburbs, Harvey and Elgin.

Photo: Costar Group