I’m very pleased to report that at my urging, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) agreed to purchase the Levy House, a 56-unit senior citizen affordable housing building at 1221 W. Sherwin, just east of Sheridan.
As I reported in an email sent to 49th Ward residents last week, the long-time owner of the building, CJE SeniorLife, an organization that provides a range of services for senior citizens, including affordable housing, informed me in August of their intention to sell the building on the open market. A market-rate developer put an offer on the building and for a time it appeared that CJE might accept the offer with no guarantee that all the units in the building would remain affordable for the current residents. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown wrote an article on the issue last week.
I identified several affordable housing providers, including the CHA, who offered bids on the building and CJE to their credit accepted a bid from the CHA that will preserve the affordability of the Levy House. The sale is subject to the approval of both the CJE SeniorLife Board of Directors and the CHA Board of Commissioners. I do not anticipate either board will turn down the agreement.
I joined CJE Chief Financial Officer Tom Lockwood at the Levy House this morning to announce the exciting news to the residents.
Mr. Lockwood and his associates assured the residents that they would continue to receive all the many services CJE currently provides even after CHA assumes ownership of the building.
I want to thank CJE for selling the building to a party that will keep the building affordable. I also want to recognize Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Department of Planning Commissioner David Reifman and CHA Chief Executive Officer Eugene Jones for the important role they played in facilitating the deal.
Finally, I want to give special thanks to those who took the time to write to CJE urging them to sell the Levy House to a buyer who would commit to maintaining its affordability. CJE reports receiving hundreds of such emails. It is further evidence of our neighborhood’s strong commitment to affordable housing and a powerful testament to our commitment to help our fellow neighbors at their time of need.
Despite our challenges, there is no question I represent the best neighborhood in Chicago.