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NHP Foundation Reopens Chicago’s Historic Mark Twain Property

The single-room occupancy property underwent a $54.3 million renovation.

CHICAGO — The NHP Foundation has reopened The Mark Twain, a historic single-room occupancy (SRO) affordable housing development on Chicago’s Near North Side. The $54.3 million renovation project consisted of 148 apartments, each equipped with rehabilitated private bathrooms and new private kitchenettes. Other upgrades included new plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems; a rooftop deck; restoration of the vintage façade and lobby; and 9,600 square feet of upgraded retail space on the ground floor.

Rental assistance in the form of project-based vouchers will be provided by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) for each of the units at Mark Twain, ensuring long-term affordability. Fifty residents who lived at the property before the project began have returned to the renovated building. The remaining apartments will be leased to persons on the CHA waitlist.

The city’s contribution included issuance of $27.3 million in multifamily housing revenue bonds, a $5 million multifamily loan and $1.3 million in low-income housing tax credits that generated $12.7 million in equity. The NHP Foundation acquired the property in 2016 as part of the city’s SRO Preservation Initiative. Since its passage in 2014, the initiative has led to the preservation of 11 buildings, consisting of more than 1,400 units.

Architect Weese Langley Weese and contractor Linn-Mathes led the rehabilitation work. The five-story building opened as a hotel in the 1930s. It has operated as an SRO since the 1980s and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Single-room occupancy is a form of housing that is typically aimed at residents with low incomes who rent small, furnished rooms.

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