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CHICAGO-Construction Trade Associates Inc. will build 36 condominiums on four lots in the Washington Park community, which it will acquire from the city for $116,000, a fraction of their appraised value. Persistence paid off for city officials, who got much more than $5 for lots near 49th Street and St. Lawrence Avenue in the Washington Park community.

The three-bedroom condominiums will be built in six buildings scattered at 4800 S. St. Lawrence Ave., 4950 and 4956 S. Champlain Ave. and 600-14 E. 50th St. The parcels were recently appraised at $660,000, and the write-down of $544,000 has been recommended for approval by the community development commission. Construction on the $5-million project will begin in early 2004, with completion some time in 2006.

Prices for most of the units will range from $210,000 to $289,000, but four units priced at $198,000 will be set aside for buyers qualifying under the city’s affordable housing initiative.

The city struck a deal in August 2001 with Shorebank Development Corp. to sell six sites for $1 each. However, parent company Shorebank later withdrew its offer, deciding to focus on its core business following a restructuring, according to Audrey Mathis of the department of planning and development.

Returning to the drawing board, the department had just one taker when it issued another request for proposals. However, 4th Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle considers the city fortunate it came from developers Art Gurevich and Michael Bolden, who have done similar small-scale multifamily projects on the South Side.

“I’m glad we were able to repackage something so it just isn’t $1 for market-rate housing,” says department of housing commissioner John G. Markowski, noting the city got $116,000 for the lots plus four units set aside for households making the area median income or less.

A fifth parcel has ended up in Alderman Dorothy Tillman’s 3rd Ward. “The developer chose to proceed with the parcels in the 4th Ward,” Preckwinkle says.

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