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From rodents to elevator issues, city inspectors find numerous violations at Parkway Gardens

The sprawling subsidized housing complex was put up for sale in April by Related Midwest.

Parkway Gardens Apartments in the 6400 block of Martin Luther King Drive
Parkway Gardens Apartments in the 6400 block of Martin Luther King Drive.
Sun-Times file

More than 50 building code violations have been issued to the owners of the Parkway Gardens affordable housing complex in Woodlawn after city inspectors spent two days scrutinizing the property.

Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) asked the city’s Department of Buildings to take a look at the sprawling complex after hearing a laundry list of complaints from residents.

Inspectors spent two days there in March carrying out a “detailed and comprehensive” review of a complex consisting of 694 apartments in nearly three dozen buildings spread across 13 acres. The inspectors turned up violations ranging from missing window screens and broken window panes to rodent issues and malfunctioning elevators, Department of Buildings spokeswoman Mimi Simons said.

The violations will be processed in Cook County Circuit Court, she said.

Related Midwest, a real estate and development firm that’s owned the property since 2011, listed it for sale in late April.

A spokeswoman for Related pointed to millions spent on renovations, security and social services during its 10 years of ownership and said the building violations were being addressed.

“We are actively working to immediately address the issues raised and continue to work with the residents and city of Chicago to provide affordable housing options in the community. Our investment in and commitment to the property remains intact despite the decision to sell,” the spokeswoman said.

A prominent marketing feature for prospective buyers is a contract with federal housing authorities that ensures subsidized rent for years to come. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would need to sign off on the transfer of a subsidized housing contract to any new owner.

Taylor said she’s passed complaints from residents on to Related but the company didn’t make the necessary fixes. “Nothing was getting done,” she said.

Parkway Gardens stretches from 63rd to 65th streets between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Calumet Avenue. A portion of King Drive along Parkway Gardens known as “O Block” — a reference to a gang member who was killed nearby — was once the most dangerous block in the city.

It’s unclear how much interest Related Midwest is seeing from potential buyers.

Rapper Lil Durk, who grew up at Parkway Gardens, expressed interest in purchasing it in a Tweet he posted April 30.

“I’ll buy it don’t matter how much it is,” tweeted the 28-year-old rapper, whose real name is Durk D. Banks.

Representatives for Banks didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Rapper Chief Keef grew up at Parkway Gardens as well, as did rapper King Von, who was killed in a shooting outside a club in Atlanta in November.