The intersection of Clark and Division and surrounding blocks are packed with construction crews hard at work. The Near North Side neighborhood is just blocks away from downtown and is expanding rapidly with luxury apartments. In the midst of all this change stands the historic Mark Twain Hotel. Built over 80 years ago, the hotel has come to offer affordable housing through the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) model. Thanks to the NHP Foundation, a Chicago ordinance and financers like CCLF, the Mark Twain Hotel will retain its affordable housing in this high-demand neighborhood.
In 2014, the City of Chicago passed the SRO Ordinance, which incentivizes SRO building owners to sell their properties to owners that will maintain them as SROs. This is an effort to preserve this type of affordable housing in Chicago, which is often an answer for people experiencing homelessness. This ordinance allowed the NHP Foundation to acquire the property with a mission to protect affordable housing across the city. Earlier this quarter, New Mark Twain, LLC received a loan for $5.25 million from CCLF for predevelopment, which helped leveraged $36 million from other partners. Other financing partners included Pembrook Capital Management LLC, Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital, US Bank, and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
This project, which is planned to be completed in twelve months, has already been lauded in many media outlets including the Chicago Tribune. “One of the reason’s Chicago Community Loan Fund was founded, was to provide alternative financing for projects that meet critical community development needs,” said Bob Tucker COO and Executive Vice President of Programs for Chicago Community Loan Fund. “The Mark Twain SRO project meets several needs by preventing the relocation of vulnerable residents to unfamiliar neighborhoods, preserving affordable housing in a community with very few units available and demonstrates the importance of the City of Chicago’s SRO Ordinance.”