FALL 2022

From the POAH Midwest Office

I’ll keep this missive short, as I believe this newsletter speaks for itself.  POAH has been and will for the foreseeable future continue to be busy with a full plate of development activity both in Woodlawn – our Chicago home base – and beyond.

We are very excited about our newest Woodlawn acquisitions -- Island Terrace and, in partnership with the Jonathan Rose Companies, Jackson Park Terrace, both of which secure long-term affordable housing for low-income residents close to the Obama Presidential Center – calming fears and instilling confidence that the benefits of the new Center will be enjoyed by all for years to come.

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Bill Eager, Senior Vice President,
POAH Midwest

Solar Power Brings Savings to POAH Residents and Properties

Approximately 100 residents of POAH-owned and managed buildings are enjoying the rewards and savings of a unique and ground-breaking arrangement between POAH and a new solar farm in Kankakee, IL.  

POAH is an “anchor” subscriber at Gar Creek Solar, a 40-acre solar farm on former agricultural land that produces up to 3.5 megawatts of electricity. As an anchor subscriber, POAH is purchasing 10% of the power generated at Gar Creek to benefit two senior apartment complexes – South Suburban Apartments in Harvey, IL, and the Salud Center In South Chicago.

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Sam Greenlee – A Singular Voice – and a Long-Time Woodlawn Resident that His Family and Admirers Hope You Will Get to Know and our City Honors

Family, friends and admirers of the late playwright, poet, U.S foreign service officer and Woodlawn native Sam Greenlee Jr., are working to honor his legacy and bring his work to a new generation.


Greenlee, best known for his book “The Spook Who Sat By the Door,” which is being re-released by Wayne State University Press this fall, grew up in West Woodlawn and later lived at 6146 South Kenwood, recently renamed for housing activist Mattie Butler.


A group of Woodlawn residents led by Mike Medina is asking the city to name the 6100 block of Kenwood Avenue in Greenlee’s honor and have submitted a petition with more than 100 signatures toward that effort.

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Red Clay Dance Company has just opened its new School of Dance in Woodlawn! The Red Clay School of Dance exists to ensure that dancers of all skill levels have barrier-free access to high-quality, comprehensive dance training and artistic mentorship. There are a limited number of scholarships available for eligible students, ages 8-17. Fall classes start soon, so register today! To learn more about their classes, visit redclaydance.com/school.

Mattie Butler Apartments and Development Team Receive 2022 Landmarks IL Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award 

This past May, Congressman Bobby Rush, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and others gathered to celebrate Mattie Butler’s work in Woodlawn and the partnership between her organization, WECAN, and POAH that will preserve 106 apartments in East Woodlawn and keep them affordable for future generations.


This November, that critical partnership will be recognized and celebrated more broadly when Landmarks Illinois presents POAH and WECAN with the 2022 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Leadership.


The properties, formerly known as the Johnson and Butler-Lindon Apartments, were initially saved from market conversion by WECAN in the 1990s. In 2017 Mattie sought a preservation-minded new owner with the infrastructure and resources needed to preserve the housing for the future. 

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POAH Acquisitions Guarantee More Affordable Housing in Woodlawn

Partnership to acquire Jackson Park Terrace follows Island Terrace purchase 

The affordability of 318 rental apartments located across from the site of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) will be guaranteed for at least the next 30 years thanks to the purchase of Jackson Park Terrace Apartments by POAH, in a partnership with the Jonathan Rose Companies.


The complex, composed of a 15-story high rise and adjacent townhomes, was developed in 1973 by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, led at the time by Bishop Arthur Brazier and activist Rev. Leon Finney, two community icons.


Jackson Park follows POAH’s acquisition of Island Terrace in 2021, which will secure an additional 240 affordable rental apartments just a few blocks south and also close to the OPC.

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Preservation and Renovation of Senior Housing in Harvey Heralded as “New Beginning”

“It’s a new beginning and a blessing to all my fellow tenants,” said George Ellis, a seven-year resident of the South Suburban Senior Housing Apartments, speaking at the residents’ celebration to mark the start of POAH’s preservation and rehabilitation of the 120-unit affordable housing complex in Harvey, IL. 


POAH purchased the property on 155th Street along with five other buildings from the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago in 2019, including two additional properties in Harvey. When the purchase was made public, some in the community feared the buildings would no longer be exclusively for seniors or remain affordable. Today, thanks to POAH and its community partners, the South Suburban Apartments are not only remaining affordable and exclusively for seniors, but are also undergoing a $15 million renovation, its first in 20 years.  


“Our investment goals in Harvey are not only to ensure that the properties are well-maintained and affordable but most importantly, that the residents who live there are well-cared for,” said Bill Eager, Senior Vice President, POAH Midwest.

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New Developments in Illinois, Michigan Promise New Opportunities

Despite rising interest rates and construction costs, POAH Midwest has seen an uptick in development activity that extends well beyond Woodlawn, to other Chicago suburbs but also to the city’s suburbs and nearby states.

The most exciting news comes from Detroit, where POAH recently completed construction of The Freelon at Sugar Hill, a 68-unit, mixed-income property in the heart of Midtown and within walking distance to some of Detroit’s best museums, music venues, restaurants and education and employment opportunities.  

Named after the late Phil Freelon, a nationally-known Black architect and one of the lead designers here, the building also provides 11,000 square feet of first-floor shops that serve the neighborhood. Among the exciting new business tenants is fashion designer Tracy Reese’s Hope For Flowers. Ms. Reese’s past clients have included former First Lady Michelle Obama.

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