A rendering of Morgan Park Commons, which is one of 24 development that will receive part of the City of Chicago’s $1 billion affordable housing investment. Image provided by Brian Berg
A rendering of Morgan Park Commons, which is one of 24 development that will receive part of the City of Chicago’s $1 billion affordable housing investment. Image provided by Brian Berg

The Morgan Park Commons receives part of more than $1 billion investment in Affordable Housing


The Far South Community Development Corporation and The Preservation of Affordable Housing are partnering on Morgan
Park Commons, a 12-acre redevelopment, located at 115th and Halsted. The Morgan Park Commons is one of 24 developments
that will receive part of the Department of Housing’s more than $1 billion investment in affordable housing.

Abraham Lacy, president of the Far South CDC, said the goal of Morgan Park Commons is to bring density and population
back to the area, which once had a Jewel Food Store located there as part of the south Halsted Street Mall. The location had been vacant for almost 11 years. The Jewel Food Store moved to 119th and Marshfield. The development at the site would be a mixeduse concept, with 390 units, 250 rental and 140 single family homes, up to 20,000 square foot retail, as well as a community center that connects with three acres of green space that connects to the Major Taylor Trail.

D3 Realty, owned by Leon Walker, also is a partner in the development. The first phase of the project will have 80 units of the 390 rental units that will border adjacent to South Halsted
Street. The Far South CDC was recently awarded the tax credits, which along with the investment, will move the project forward.

The organizations are looking at a 2023 Spring/Summer construction date. The goal is to hire as close to 100% minority contractors as possible, to ensure the investment is going
back into the community that it is serving.

The Preservation of Affordable Housing was invited to take a look at the Morgan Park Commons proposal by Lacy and The Far
South CDC. It is the Far South CDC’s vision, and it controls the entire 12-acre site. The organization had not done a tax credit finance affordable housing deal before and were looking for a partner to help them execute that. That is where POAH came in.

Lacy shared the overall plan with POAH, which includes Bill Eager, senior vice president of POAH Midwest.

“I think it’s a really exciting vision for the site. It’s unusual to come across a site of this scale. It’s even more unusual to come across
a site of this scale where a community partner has a really strong idea of what they want to do,” Eager said.

Having a really strong community partner in the Far South CDC is what interested the POAH to the project. The presence of a strong community-based partner on the ground for the Morgan Park Commons was part of the appeal.

For the Far South CDC, the affordable housing projects the POAH has taken on throughout the years, made POAH an ideal
developer for Morgan Park Commons.

“What they bring to the table, they’re the muscle behind all of this. They’re the ones who have the depth of experience, and of development. We’re learning from them. To learn from them is a treasure in itself,” Lacy said.

Lacy also spoke about the catalytic nature of the projects that the POAH has done. POAH doesn’t leave communities after
the development has been constructed. It also helps the community with regards to homelessness and housing, not just the development. That is why Lacy thought it would be a good fit.

The Morgan Park Commons furthers the Far South CDC’s mission, which is to create affordable housing to address the housing crisis that is going on across the City of Chicago
and the County. Once the project is constructed it will benefit everyone around it, the businesses, public transportation,
school districts and homeowners.

Morgan Park Commons builds the Far South CDC’s development capacity. POAH considers it a success if the Far South CDC doesn’t need them after two or three phases.

“Once you get one or two under your belt, it gets immensely easier. I’m hoping that working with us here allows the Far South CDC to expand its own capacity to do development,” Eager said.

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