IRVING PARK — As the new Independence Library nears completion, seniors who qualify for the project’s affordable housing units can start applying to live there.
The $23.6 million project at 4022 N. Elston Ave., the former site of the Hollerbach Funeral Home, is a collaboration between Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Housing Authority. John Ronan Architects was chosen to design the mixed-use complex, and Evergreen Real Estate Group will oversee the building’s development as well as the eventual management of the housing tenants.
The building is being financed through an arrangement with the Chicago Housing Authority and relies on funding from federal sources and tax credits.
“So the library piece of the project is in the process of being finished right now and we’re looking at the library itself being opened by January,” said David Block, director of development at Evergreen Real Estate Group. “And as far as housing is concerned we’re anticipating that by March the housing with be open.”
Above the library there will be 44 housing units for people 62 and over who have incomes below 60 percent the area’s median income based upon 2019 earnings. The housing portion of the development includes 36 one bedroom units and eight two bedroom apartments.
Evergreen is also behind the Oso Apartments development at 3435 W. Montrose Ave., which also features 100 percent affordable housing and broke ground October.
The Chicago Housing Authority began accepting applications for units at the Independence project on Wednesday, according to the office of Ald. Carlos Rosa (35th).
Block said the waitlist for the non-CHA units at the 4022 N. Elston Ave. development will open Jan 3, 2019.
For decades, the Independence Library branch has been without its own building.
The library started as the Irving Park Woman’s Club literary society in 1888. Starting in 1901, each club member was asked to donate one book or magazine to form a circulating library, according to the Chicago Public Library.
By 1913 the the club opened a library at the Independence Park field house at 3945 N. Springfield Ave. The library was located there until about 1928 and eventually moved to the brick storefront at 3718 W. Irving Park Rd., which is now Keller’s Martial Arts, throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.
On July 15, 1995 the library moved again, this time into a commercial storefront property in the 3500 block of West Irving Park Road. The library remained there until a fire on Oct. 30, 2015 caused branch to close. Since that fire the Irving Park area has been without a public library.
After the fire, the city announced it was going to have the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Public Library team up some mixed-use development projects that would combine a new library with affordable residential housing — and the new Independence branch was born.
“We’re very excited to finish the building and we’ve had a lot of interest from prospective tenants,” Block said. “We think it’s going to be a perfect project for the area.”
To apply for the senior housing units, visit www.thecha.org and click on “Apply for Housing—Public Housing & PBV Applicants Only!” This screen will default to public housing. Choose PBV to find the correct list of properties and select Independence Apartments/Northtown Apartments.
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