SALUD CENTER OPEN IN SOUTH CHICAGO

Bill Eager, senior vice president of Real Estate Development for the Midwest Region for POAH, speaks during the opening of the Salud Center. Photos by Antonio Dickey/POAH
Bill Eager, senior vice president of Real Estate Development for the Midwest Region for POAH, speaks during the opening of the Salud Center. Photos by Antonio Dickey/POAH

 Salud Center open in South Chicago

BY TIA CAROL JONES

The site of the former YMCA, located at 3039 E. 91st St., has returned to being a community center after the Claretian Associates and Preservation of Affordable Housing partnered on a renovation project. The Salud Center opened on Saturday, Dec. 18, and includes 101 affordable senior apartments.

The renovation project cost $29 million and took 1 year to complete the 40,000 square foot Salud Center and 1 ½ years to complete the senior units. The pool and gym had been out of use for more than four
years. The gym is open, while the pool is set to open in 2022.

The Salud Center was one of six YMCA buildings purchased by the Preservation of Affordable Housing. It purchased three YMCA buildings in the City of Chicago and three in the suburbs. The South Chicago
location was different than the others in the city POAH purchased because it had a recreation center as part of the property.

Bill Eager, the senior vice president of real estate development, Midwest Region of POAH, talked to Angela Hurlock, the executive director of Claretian Associates, about purchasing the property and during that conversation they decided to partner. POAH would focus on the housing and the Claretian Associates would focus on
repurposing the non-residential part of the property. POAH has a 70-30 partnership with the Claretian Associates. The Claretian Associates will operate the YMCA space. It moved its headquarters into the Salud Center.

The “Claretian Associates has worked tirelessly to renew the Salud Center for the South Chicago community,” Angela Hurlock, Executive Director of the Claretian Associates said in a release. “When we were first approached about the building’s closing, many residents and community members encouraged us to do our best to ensure its long-term affordability and to restore its community center. That’s when we began to engage with POAH to create a partnership that would benefit South Chicago and our most valuable assets – our residents.”

Most of the residents who lived in the units stayed during the rehabilitation of the property. Renovations to the units included accessibility upgrades to cabinets, grab bars, offset controls on tub, new flooring in kitchens and baths, new light fixtures, new unit entry doors and hardware, as well as new air conditioners. When there is a vacancy at the property, new residents will be able to apply and will be put on a waitlist. Eager called this partnership with the Claretian
Associates one of the best.

“They’re just a high capacity, well-functioning organization, they’ve just been
great. We’re so delighted that we can get this non-residential space reactivated. Clearly, it’s a big hit with the community. It was a really important community center and I think people are happy,” he said. “We can
do a lot of work on the housing but without the right partner, it’s hard to repurpose the non-residential stuff.”

Congresswoman Robin Kelly acknowledged the Salud Center’s revitalization as a great example of collaborative efforts happening in South Chicago to bring resources to the community.

“Not only does the Salud Center provide affordable housing to our seniors, but it also provides recreational space for youth, resources for our growing businesses and fitness opportunities for everyone. I am so grateful to everyone who worked together to bring this project to life. The Salud Center
is a space our whole community can be proud of, and I look forward to the future collaborative endeavors coming to South Chicago,” said Kelly.

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