CHICAGO-Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp. held its grand openingTuesday for the new Rosa Parks Apartments here in the Humboldt Parkneighborhood. The $27.2 million complex consists of 94 affordablerental homes in eight buildings.

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The properties were built over vacant, abandoned homes in anarea bounded by Kedzie and Drave avenues, Huron Street and FranklinBoulevard. The city conveyed the parcels, worth $2.2 million, toBickerdike to build the complex, and also invested $7.1 million inloans, $3.5 million in tax increment financing and $713,000 fromthe Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund.

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The development features eight one-bedroom, 36 two-bedroom, 45three-bedroom and five four-bedroom apartments in variousconfigurations, including a 27-unit, four-story building. Theunits range from 720 to 1,300 square feet in size with monthlyrents projected to be between $482 and $1,028.

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Boyd Raveling, VP with Pioneer Engineering and EnvironmentalServices, said the property includes sustainable design elementssuch as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and agreen roof. Raveling’s company helped with the pre-developmentwork, and he says the project, which is applying for LEED Silvercertification, is an outstanding example of how distressed land canbe transformed into community-enriching development.

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Raveling says he’s definitely seeing more interest in Chicagodevelopment. "We’re kind of on the front lines for development inChicago, we’re involved when it enters the due diligence phase butbefore a signed contract," Raveling says. "In the past two-threemonths we’ve definitely noticed a marked uptick in site assessmentactivity.“

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