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Boreal Community Media

Update on Harborview Apartments from Jason Hale, Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Executive Director

Oct 11, 2023 04:10PM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Boreal Community Media 

From the Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority - October 11, 2023


The HRA is aware of concerns in the community about the pending sale of Harborview Apartments in Grand Marais. We are also aware that there is some misunderstanding and confusion around the situation.

Here are the facts as we know them as of 10/10/23:

According to the County, the property was built in 1978 and consists of 31 units; 27 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom units.
• Harborview was listed for sale for approximately $2.2M in late February/early March 2023.
• The property is under contract and is supposed to close this Friday.
• This is a legal, private transaction over which neither the HRA nor the City/County has any leverage or right to stop.
• The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has reviewed and approved this sale, as is required while the affordability contract remains in place.
• Once it learned of the property being listed, the HRA sent the listing to non-profit housing owners and developers, trying to find partners who would buy and commit the units to remain affordable.
• Unfortunately, to our knowledge none of them were interested and they did not pursue the property.
• The HRA continues to work to bring new housing to the community to create new opportunities for affordable units; this is complicated, expensive, and takes years.
• Deeply affordable properties like Harborview are almost exclusively built using low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) today.
• This year, the HRA is supporting One Roof Community Housing’s application for LIHTC to acquire and preserve Birchwood Apartments as affordable for the next 30+ years.
• New construction LIHTC projects usually take 3+ years from application to occupancy, and that is assuming they are funded the first time
• The affordability contract with HUD expires on 6/30/25. This is how most Rural Development and low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects are done: they are kept affordable for approx. 30 years (depending on the program), after which point the owners have the option to renew the contract and maintain the affordability or not renew it.
• Harborview must operate as it is now (affordably) until that the contract with HUD expires.
• The future owner must give at least a 1-year notice to tenants if they intend on changing the rents/converting the property to market rate; this means they could inform tenants of their intention by 6/30/24 at the earliest.
• Once we know who the buyer is (after the sale closes), we will contact them to learn more about their plans for the property and try to work with them on options to maintain affordability.
• Unfortunately, the purchase, rehab, and increasing of rents is an issue happening across the country to older, affordable properties like Harborview.
• See the following article for more perspective on this challenge:
We will continue to follow the situation closely and update this page if/when we know more.
For more information, visit: https://www.cookcountyhra.org/