Sweet Chicago public housing deal for Miami Dolphins owner goes horribly sour
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017
* A friend of mine asked me yesterday if I’d read a late February Tribune story about a South Side housing project called Parkway Gardens. I did see it, but I didn’t read it very carefully because the piece was kind of all over the place.
I read it again this morning and looked for the hot buttons my friend mentioned last night. This story has everything. So I’m going to make it easier for you to read.
* According to the report, in a little over five years, there have been 41 shootings at Parkway Gardens, including the recent murder of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes and last August’s killing of a cousin of Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, who was shot while pushing a baby stroller containing her newborn child. Former First Lady Michelle Obama lived in Parkway Gardens as a child.
The article claims residents also complain about problems with roaches and mice, and the project’s latest HUD inspection score put it “just above what was historically the threshold for passing.” But the real problem is the violence.
* The place was developed and managed by a company owned by Stephen Ross, the wealthy owner of the Miami Dolphins. Ross gave Mayor Emanuel’s campaign fund $25,000 in 2015. The Trib reports that the company has a $20 billion real estate portfolio and has a new luxury rental building on Lake Shore Drive and is developing the site of the failed “Spire” tower.
* The company acquired the complex for $40 million and ended up spending a total of $100 million after the rehab, according to the article. But the company didn’t do it alone. Taxpayers helped - a lot.
According to the Trib, the company received $59 million in bonds issued by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. It also got $30 million in federal low-income housing tax credits for 10 years, and another $9.6 million in tax credits after the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It also received a $10.4 million federal developer’s fee, for a grand total that appears to be just shy of its $100 million outlay, not including rent…
* Mary Mitchell and Mark Brown both wrote about Parkway Gardens in February columns…
* The media attention seemed to work, according to the Tribune article…
OK, fine. Let’s hope something happens. But where’s the outrage from the alderman and state and federal legislators who supposedly represent that complex? It’s just bizarre that nobody has spoken up more about this.