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Planning agency to review South Side church’s senior housing project

The development backed by Trinity United Church of Christ would mark a new phase of an envisioned “model community” called Imani Village.

A rendering of senior housing planned at 9619-45 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
A rendering of senior housing planned at 9619-45 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
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City officials have given initial backing to a plan by Trinity United Church of Christ to build affordable housing for seniors in Pullman.

The church owns 23 acres running southeast from 95th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. It has proposed two, five-story buildings on the mostly vacant site, an ambitious new phase in its goal of creating what it calls Imani Village.

“We’re trying to create a model community” addressing local problems that include food insecurity and lack of health care, said Patricia Eggleston, executive vice president of Trinity’s development arm.

The senior housing would provide 133 units, all categorized as affordable under city ordinance. Eggleston said income standards for renters are still being settled.

She estimated the buildings’ construction cost at $20 million to $23 million. Trinity, which owns the property, has partnered with SPM Properties & Development on the project and hopes to finance it with low-income housing tax credits.

A zoning change for the project has landed on the online agenda for the Nov. 18 meeting of the Chicago Plan Commission, an agency that reviews development projects. Proposals get that far mostly when there’s broad agreement on the design among the city’s planning staffers, community leaders and the local alderman. A favorable vote would send the plan to the City Council.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), whose ward encompasses the site, could not be reached for comment about the project.

Eggleston said she hopes work on the first senior building, containing 70 units, can start next year, with delivery in 2023. The second building would be started a short time later, she said. The plan calls for 44 parking spaces. The architecture is by Chicago’s Johnson & Lee.

The Imani Village senior housing would be at 9619-45 S. Cottage Grove. A former manufacturing building on the property would be torn down, according to the zoning application.

Elsewhere on Trinity’s property, a building rented to Advocate Aurora Health Center will remain, Eggleston said. She said the long-term plan for the rest of the property includes for-sale housing, a hotel, a vertical farm with a year-round farmers market, a recreational building and expansion of the health services. The site has a Metra stop nearby and is across Cottage Grove from Chicago State University.

Trinity is about a mile and a half west of the development.