Friday, September 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 9/8/17
During a Sept. 5 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees gave the village’s attorney and staff the go-ahead to put together a redevelopment agreement that would dictate the construction of a 68-unit, 5-story apartment building on the site of a vacant lot at 800-820 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, which is currently owned by the village.
The nonprofit Interfaith Housing Development Corporation is developing the building, which will target tenants who make no more than 60 percent of the area median income. All of those tenants, Interfaith officials have said, are required to have some kind of income.
Interfaith officials added that they’ll try looking for a grocer to fill the first-floor commercial space in the proposed building, although they explained that they can’t guarantee that they’ll land a grocer as a commercial tenant.
Immediately before the Sept. 5 meeting, a TIF hearing was held, which is a requirement because the property Interfaith is seeking to buy sits in the village’s Madison St. TIF district and was purchased with TIF funds.
Officials with both the village and Interfaith explained that the nonprofit will nonetheless pay property taxes and will not seek any TIF funding.
As he has in the past, Perry Vietti, Interfaith’s president, stressed that the proposed development, despite its classification as affordable housing, is not “public housing.” Most low-income housing in the U.S. is now typically financed through low-income housing tax credits, Vietti said.
Interfaith had tried developing in Maywood in 2012, but was turned away after many residents rallied against the proposal. Vietti has stated recently that much of the dialogue about the proposal five years ago was driven by misconceptions and confusion about what Interfaith was trying to do.
Back then, Vietti explained, many people thought that Interfaith was trying to build the equivalent of a public housing project in Maywood; this wasn’t the case, he said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley crystallized why most residents voiced their disapproval in 2012 and why some still have those same concerns today.
“People have a problem with the word ‘affordability,'” Talley said, before expressing his support of the proposal. He said that the Interfaith development will “add value to the village.”
Vietti said that Interfaith will work with residents, village staff and village officials “to make sure that what we build is what you want. We don’t want to just ram something down somebody’s throats.”
Maywood Trustee Isiah Brandon said that he was “truly excited about the development” and that welcoming Interfaith would help improve the common perception about the village that many people in the business development community have about Maywood.
“[There’s this tone] about Maywood that we are not serious about development,” he said. “[Accepting Interfaith] sends a message that Maywood is serious about economic development.”
Angela Smith, Maywood’s business development coordinator, also expressed her support for the development.
“Community development sees this as an opportunity to have a continuum of Maywoodians staying in the our community,” she said, adding that the building will be only one of three in the village with an elevator for elderly residents who may not be able to navigate stairs.
Smith said that the development could attract young, working people with aspirations to rent within the village and elderly people who may want to move out of homes that they can no longer maintain. She argued that attracting people to the village’s downtown area — which is along Fifth Ave., between Lake St. and Quincy St. — could be a catalyst to more business locating in the area.
David Myers, the Maywood’s assistant village manager, said that a citizen’s working group will be formed throughout the development process so that residents can give their input as Interfaith works toward completing the building.
Addressing some residents’ concerns, Smith said that, although Interfaith officials met with the Maywood Housing Authority, Interfaith will likely not receive direct vouchers from MHA.
Vietti said that Interfaith wasn’t interested in seeking housing vouchers from MHA; rather, the meeting was designed to give MHA a heads-up about the proposed development.
Smith said that the Interfaith development could generate upwards of $124,000 in property tax revenue a year. Vietti said that the development would cost about $20 million.
The village board directed staff and the village’s contracted attorney to work with Interfaith on drafting a redevelopment agreement that the board would approve at a later date. They’ll also work to close the purchase of the village-owned property, which according to recent documents, was appraised at $200,000.
Village attorney Michael Jurusik said that, once the property is sold, the revenue from the sale will go back into the Madison St. TIF fund. Jurusik said that if the board “gets to the point of approving a draft redevelopment agreement,” it is “actually approving this development.”
Jurusik said that the village would be approving a redevelopment agreement that calls for an exact build-out, which means that Interfaith would be obligated to construct the building based on the specifications — including the design, building materials, etc. — laid out in the agreement.
Jurusik added that the village will not turn over the property until Interfaith has secured financing, completed building plans, applied for a building permit and are ready to build.
Vietti said that he was confident that Interfaith would secure financing, adding that, in the best case scenario, construction could start “14 months from now.” VFP