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CHICAGO-Difficulty obtaining financing for the multifamily portion of his $113-million mixed-use project forced developer Peter Holsten to add units to his plans, which required a return trip to City Hall. It also reopened the controversy surrounding plans to develop the 5.7-acre Wilson Yards site at Broadway Street and Montrose Avenue.

Previously planning to build 150 rental units in two buildings, Holsten Real Estate Development Corp. now hopes to build at least 178 affordable units–100 of them in a tower earmarked for senior citizens and another 78 in a building for families. Tenants in the one-bedroom apartments in the seven-story senior citizens building will earn 60% of the area median income or less, while income limits in the other building will range from 30% of area median income to 80% of area median income. Also a seven-story building, it will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Holsten had planned to get an $11-million HUD grant to pay for more than half the cost of a planned 72-unit building for senior citizens, one of two multifamily rental buildings in the nearly one-million-sf Uptown project. However, after initial encouragement, HUD officials discouraged Holsten from applying for the Section 202 grant, noting the building would be too close to noise from the Chicago Transit Authority elevated tracks.

“The $11 million will be sorely missed,” says Holsten, whose revised plan was endorsed by a 6 to 2 vote from the plan commission Thursday. Financing for the senior citizens building will now include $8.5 million in private activity tax exempt bonds and tax credits, $7.5 million from an increased tax increment financing package and $4 million from city department of housing HOME funds, Holsten says. Financing for the 78-unit building for families will include $15 million from Illinois Housing Development Authority tax credits, $4 million from tax increment financing and $1 million from the city department of housing, Holsten adds.

The city’s economic development commission approved $26.5 million in tax increment financing for the project, which includes a Target store, 12-screen movie theater and an 826-space parking garage, a 115-vehicle reduction from the previous proposal. However, the project now requires $35.5 million in TIF assistance.

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