City weighing housing options
By bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org October 24, 2012 10:38PM
10-26-07 Evergreen Terrace/Evergreen Sedgwick 435/425 w Evergreen. Brian Jackson
Updated: November 26, 2012 7:24AM
JOLIET — The city is likely to decide whether to hire a company to manage and redevelop Evergreen Terrace while it’s in the midst of a trial to determine whether Joliet will get ownership of the housing complex.
Holsten, a Chicago real estate development and management company whose projects have included the conversion of a portion of Cabrini Green into town homes and condominiums, would be the company brought in to help Joliet prepare to take over Evergreen Terrace.
Joliet city attorney Jeff Plyman acknowledged that the city has to first get ownership of Evergreen Terrace, and he could not predict how long the legal dispute might run if there are more appeals in the case.
But, Plyman told the Joliet City Council Land Use Committee on Wednesday, “We need to be able to tell the court that we have a company that’s ready to go on management and redevelopment.”
The committee agreed and recommended that the full city council consider hiring Holsten. The council meets for a special budget session on Monday and for its regular meetings on Nov. 5 and 6.
The city would pay Holsten up to $50,000, Plyman said, to help plan for the future management of the housing complex. If the city takes ownership, Holsten would get 7 percent of Evergreen Terrace revenues to manage the complex.
Evergreen Terrace is a 356-apartment complex under private ownership but subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Joliet officials have said the HUD subsidies would continue if the city takes ownership. The complex generates enough revenue to pay off the bonds that would be issued to acquire Evergreen Terrace and cover the costs of a management company, city officials say.
The long-term plan is to eventually redevelop a portion of Evergreen Terrace into mixed-income housing while retaining apartments that are there now as well.
Holsten has developed and manages 2,700 units of affordable housing, said Andrea Marvucic, senior vice president of finance and development.
“Most of the projects that we worked on are in blighted areas,” Marvucic told the land use committee. “We not only turned around buildings but turned around communities.”
In addition to managing properties, Holsten also provides social services for tenants.
The city filed a condemnation suit to take over Evergreen Terrace in 2005, contending that the complex had been plagued for years by crime and building code violations. The private ownership group has been joined by HUD in fighting the condemnation suit, which is being tried in federal court in Chicago.
The case has been to the U.S. Supreme Court twice as the owners have tried to stop the city’s condemnation effort. But, Plyman told the committee, “We’ve won every stage of the proceedings.”