The former The Sears, Roebuck and Company printing plan, located at 3201 W. Arthington St., is getting a new lease on life as a 181-unit affordable housing building. During Ald. Michael Scott’s (24th) April 27 community meeting, Todd Wollcott, the project developer for Mercy Housing, said that the company is putting finishing touches on the newly christened Lofts of Arthington.
Woollcott said that they have already leased out 80 units and he actively encouraged any interested residents to stop by the leasing offices and get a tour of the property. And while the cheapest option in the building is $785 a month, Housing Choice Section 8 vouchers are accepted. In addition, 66 units are reserved for tenants who are on Chicago Housing Authority’s public housing wait lists.
The former printing building is one of the buildings that were built as Sears, Roebuck and Company Complex, which served as the company headquarters until the Sears Tower was built in 1973. The building was originally used to print the company’s mail order catalogs, and it later became a product testing site. Like the rest of the complex, it was abandoned when Sears left North Lawndale entirely in 1987, and the building has been vacant ever since.
Mercy Housing is a affordable housing developer headquartered in Denver, Colorado. It has a number of other properties in Chicago, including Austin’s Parkside Terrace (143 N Parkside Ave), Lavergne Courts (4938 W Quincy St) and Victory Centre of Halewood senior housing development (2370 N. Newcastle Ave).
Wolcott said his that company didn’t use TIF district funds and other city funding to turn the printing building into Lofts on Arthington, although Mercy Housing did take advantage of the low-income and national historic preservation tax credits. According to the CHA website, the project also got some funding through the agency’s bonds.
During the meeting, Wolcott said that the company started the printing building remodeling in 2015, and they’re getting close to the finish. He said that the building was broken down into tall, loft-like apartments.
According to the project web page, 79 one-bedrooms, 52 two-bedrooms, 40 three-bedrooms & 10 four-bedrooms. The one-bedrooms rent for $785 a month, while 2-bedrooms rent for $940 a month, three bedrooms rent for $1,085 a month and four-bedrooms rent for $1,210 a month.
Wolcott said that all utilities are included, and he touted other amenities.
“[The building has] a fitness center, a computer lab, and there’s a pretty large community room you can use for birthday parties,” he said.
The packet also tenants must meet certain income limits in order to quality for non-CHA units. The minimum income limits are based on the size of the apartments, with tenants required to earn at least $18,840 a year if they lease one-bedrooms, $22,560 if they lease two-bedrooms, $26,040 if they lease three-bedrooms and 29,040 if they lease four-bedrooms.
The maximum income limits are based on household size, so individuals can’t make more than $32,340, and two-person households can earn no more than $36,970. Income caps are $46,140 for three-person households, $46,140 for four-person households, $48,860 for five-person households, $53,580 for six-person households, $57,240 for seven-person households and $60,960 for eight-person households.
Wolcott said that the development accepts Housing Choice Section 8 vouchers, but the packet notes that they have to go through the same application process as other non-CHA tenants. It indicates that all applicants must go through a credit history and criminal background checks, specifying that, depending on severity, those factors may not be deal-breakers.
When asked about building security, Wolcott told the residents that there was a front desk person manning the entrance during daytime hours, and security the rest of the time.
“You can only go through the front door, and cameras are pretty much everywhere,” he said. “Safety is very important to us.”
The development’s leasing office is open on weekdays, from 8:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.