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CHICAGO-A single-room-occupancy multifamily building in the Rogers Park neighborhood will undergo a $2.6-million renovation. The city is contributing $400,000 in tax increment financing to help rehab the Ashland Arms at 6406-12 N. Clark St.

GKM Partners bought the 92-year-old building in 2003, says department of planning and development project manager Michelle Dewlen, when the 44-unit SRO was “beyond delapidation, with pages of code violations.” The renovation will create 20 affordable rental units, 12 of them studios and the other eight one-bedroom units. The project also will create three retail spaces on the first floor.

Although the developers note the lower rate under Cook County’s Class 9 property tax classification made the project attractive, the need for additional capital became apparent as they proceeded with work. The partnership paid $1.1 million for the building, property records indicate. The tax increment financing was recently endorsed by the community development commission.

Although the tax increment financing received a unanimous endorsement, commission member Anne Kostiner questioned proposed rental rates in the building, which are about $2 per sf. “I don’t think you can say these are affordable,” Kostiner says. “I think they’re charging too much, especially for the small ones.”

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