The Studios, a supportive housing development managed by Mercy Housing Lakefront will be part of the Prairie District Apartments. Credit: Jamie Nesbitt Golden

SOUTH LOOP — Mercy Housing is moving forward with plans to expand its affordable housing portfolio after City Council approved a request to build a five-story complex at 18th Street and Michigan Avenue and overhaul a nearby building.

City Council signed off on the organization’s Prairie District Apartments plan during Wednesday’s council meeting. Mercy plans a new 50-unit apartment building and the renovation of the existing six-story complex at 18th Street and Wabash Avenue.

Mercy Housing operates 34 affordable sites across the city, ranging from supportive housing to senior and family housing, including the Rosenwald Courts, which reopened in 2016. 

Mercy Housing announced the project in December 2021.

The new building will have 39 one-bedroom units, 11 two-bedroom apartments, a fifth-floor terrace, a shed for bike storage and a partial green roof, plans show. Each floor will have 13 units. Onsite laundry facilities will be provided as well. Fifteen spaces will be set aside for parking.

The project aims to be sustainable, providing residents with EV charging stations and a quick walk to CTA trains and buses, developers previously said.

Construction could involve approximately 150 tradespeople with nearly 30 full-time equivalent jobs created, developers have said. The apartment building will have 12 staff working onsite around the clock, two more than previous estimates, according to the presentation they shared last month.

The 100 single-room occupancy units in the Wabash Avenue building will be converted into “high-quality” efficiencies ranging between 338 and 555 square feet.

Mercy Housing officials said they hope to exceed the city’s goals for participation from minority- and women-owned businesses by looking for BIPOC-owned and operated architecture firms and general contractors.

The project received a $900,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago’s Affordable Housing Program in October. The project is set to receive additional funding from the city, according to a Construction Journal post from March.

Construction will begin in the winter, officials said.

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