In 2007, Woodlawn’s resolute Grove Parc Plaza residents invited POAH to the community. POAH, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to restore at-risk affordable housing, saw an opportunity to bring a greater sense of stability in the ongoing restoration of Woodlawn.
Grove Parc Plaza was a 504-unit Section 8 housing development built in the late 1960s to serve low income residents. It suffered from significant design flaws and concentrated poverty. By 2007, the property was severely distressed and threatened with foreclosure and demolition. Despite the property’s significant problems, some 400 very low-income households called Grove Parc home. POAH stepped in to preserve this property’s federal affordable housing subsidies.
After acquiring the property in December of 2008, POAH began to address its significant challenges, working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan that would affect the broader Woodlawn neighborhood. Through a creative financial structure that involved pooling low-income tax credit equity from JP Morgan Chase, finances were obtained to replace Grove Parc with a new LEED Silver-certified apartment building called Woodlawn Center South. The project was so successful that it garnered a Residential Energy Efficient Award, which recognizes the efforts of those that successfully leveraged government funds to make U.S. homes healthier, more durable, and more efficient.
POAH remains committed to ensuring that the transformation of Woodlawn Center South is fully connected to broader community renewal. With the completion of WCS, a five-year redevelopment effort is currently underway that consists of several new buildings, including a youth center and housing for seniors. A centerpiece of the project is the Woodlawn Resource Center, which provides the community with access to job placement, financial counseling, education, and training opportunities.
Included in the redevelopment is 65,000 square feet of commercial retail space. Matanky Realty Group, a full service real estate firm that was established in the Chicago metropolitan area in 1955, has joined the vision for the Woodlawn community to lease property made available. Business and commerce are the cornerstones of a vibrant neighborhood, and with these new developments in Woodlawn, enterprises will continue to bring a steady flow of increased amenities and employment opportunities.
Matanky is committed to work alongside POAH and community organizations to expand commerce in the neighborhood. They have been awarded Developer of the Year on multiple occasions for Chicago Kedzie Plaza and seek to use the same effective formula for positive change in Woodlawn.