HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan lauds historic housing partnership during Pullman Housing Redevelopment Tour

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan today visited Chicago and toured the historic Pullman Wheelworks, a newly purchased 210-unit affordable housing building on Chicago’s south side. Mercy Housing Lakefront and National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corporation (NHT/E) hosted the tour to highlight the latest preservation strategies they are employing together to address the region’s affordable housing crisis.

“The Pullman neighborhood revitalization shows the power of partnerships in bringing quality, affordable housing to families – and choice and opportunity to the community as a whole,” said Secretary Donovan. “The partners here today have taken on an ambitious effort not only to transform a community to meet resident needs and tap economic opportunity, but also to preserve a building with a rich architectural legacy to benefit both the neighborhood and the residents. Families that have raised children and built a community here over the last 30 years will be able to stay in this vibrant, redeveloping neighborhood because of that shared vision and commitment.”

Pullman Wheelworks is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is being redeveloped and preserved as part of an overall neighborhood revitalization plan, led by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI). The plan also includes the rehabilitation of some of Pullman’s historic and unique row homes through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is administered through the City of Chicago and Mercy Portfolio Services.

“We’re pleased to welcome the Secretary to Chicago to showcase the preservation of this historic building and the community development occurring in the neighborhood,” said Mark Angelini, senior vice president, real estate development, Mercy Housing Lakefront. “The many layers of financing employed in the purchase of the building were significant to help us overcome barriers to buy the property. We thank the many partners who contributed.”

Three levels of Government: HUD, The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), and the City of Chicago came together through the John D and Catherine T.  MacArthur Foundation sponsored initiative known as the Preservation Compact. The Community Investment Corporation and the National Affordable Housing Trust also played key roles. Together these partners contributed to the purchase of the property.

According to the Preservation Compact, by 2020 Cook County’s supply of low-cost rental housing is expected to drop by 78,000 units. These losses will outstrip the projected new construction of 40,000 affordable rentals over the same period—meaning that for every newly built unit nearly two are likely to be lost.  With the purchase of the Wheelworks building, the partners have saved 210 of the units that were slated to be lost. More than 600 people would have lost their homes and likely would not find replacement housing affordable to them.

According to a report by the Preservation Compact and the Urban Land Institute, the number of low-income renter households is projected to grow by nearly 34,000 between 2005 and 2020, making it increasingly difficult for the Chicago region’s most vulnerable families and seniors to find or retain an affordable home.

Scott Kline, vice president, National Housing Trust/Enterprise said, “Assembling so many sources of funds and stakeholders has been an enormous task.  We came up with a few innovations along the way especially with respect to retaining the Section 8 subsidy. The MacArthur Foundation was a leader in developing innovative solutions. We are fortunate to have them as partners.”

Residents of the newly rehabbed building, scheduled for completion in about 18 months, will enjoy new and expanded community rooms, new management offices, newly developed and more secure entrances, more laundry rooms and a new computer room for training classes and general use. The apartments will also receive major renovations to kitchens, bathrooms, and balconies in addition to new windows throughout the building.

Located at 901 East 104th Street, Pullman Wheelworks is the latest development for this historic Chicago Southside neighborhood. A large private development currently under construction includes a planned Wal-Mart and additional retail development by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

Mercy Housing Lakefront
 ( is a non-profit affordable housing organization providing innovative housing solutions in response to community needs. We have developed and currently manage 23 properties serving more than 3,500 residents.

We are working with partners to build or preserve 7,500 affordable homes, help 2,000 families avoid foreclosure, create 8,000 jobs, and prevent displacement or homelessness for 20,000 people.

Mercy Housing Lakefront is the great lakes regional business center of national Mercy Housing, Inc.

National Housing Trust-Enterprise Preservation Corporation: A joint effort of the National Housing Trust and Enterprise Community Partners, NHT/Enterprise partners with community groups, for-profits and investors to buy and renovate affordable apartments that are deteriorating or at risk of being converted to market rate. Based in Washington, DC, NHT-Enterprise has preserved more than 5,500 affordable homes in nine states and the District of Columbia.