Illinois housing board approves Cary Pedcor apartment tax credits

CHICAGO – A planned apartment complex in Cary now has the necessary tax credits to make the project financially feasible.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority on Friday approved 1,084,963 low-income housing tax credits to Pedcor Investments to build the Garden Place Apartments at First and Pearl streets.

Carmel, Indiana-based Pedcor Investments plans to build a 60-unit apartment complex with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments spread out in six low-rise buildings on a vacant 4.5-acre lot.

To make the $18 million project feasible, Pedcor requested more than 1 million in low-income housing tax credits in return for restricting rents and income of tenants in the complex for 15 years.

Mike Smith, senior vice president of development for Pedcor, said the company will begin to line up buyers for its tax credits and said there are financial institutions already interested.

Work on the project is expected to begin in the spring, depending on the weather, Smith said. The first building would open five to six months after construction begins, with additional buildings opening every month afterward.

The IHDA program administers federal tax credits. To receive the credits, Pedcor would have to primarily serve residents who make 60 percent of the area median income or less. Investors in the property then can get tax credits in return for project equity, which reduces the amount needed to finance the project and makes rent more affordable.

When awarding the tax credits, which is a competitive process, IHDA looks for local support for the project, the types of amenities developers plan to include and the features of each apartment. It also considers how many units are handicap accessible and are for seniors, how close the property is to mass transit, parks, libraries or schools and whether the developers are working with nonprofits, among other things.

Pedcor was one of 14 projects to be awarded tax credits on Friday. IHDA received 31 applications during this round.

“Garden Place Apartment[s] was awarded tax credits ... because it was one of the highest ranking applications we received,” IHDA Executive Director Mary Kenney said. “We are thrilled this development will bring much-needed housing options to the working class families of Cary.”

The project has received heavy opposition and the Political Action Committee Cary Matters was formed.

Cary-resident Derek Coyle attended the meeting to voice his opposition to the project.

He said the Illinois Attorney General’s Office is looking into the group’s complaint about village meetings not being held in a large enough location to listen to project opposition.

Coyle told board IHDA board members Cary is a small town and its tax base cannot support the Pedcor project. He added the schools are already overburdened.

Coyle also wrote a letter to IHDA asking the agency reject Pedcor’s tax credit application.

“Please leave our town alone and let us live our middle-class lives in peace,” Coyle wrote.

Smith said the apartment complex would not be a burden and would pay its fair share of property taxes, and enrollment in local schools has been decreasing in recent years.

The meeting was attended by Cary Village President Mark Kownick, Village Trustee David Chapman and Village Administrator Chris Clark.

In prepared comments, Kownick said the project was considered at multiple public meetings including two public hearings where testimony for and against the project was heard.

Kownick said board members who support the project believe Pedcor will be a “good corporate citizen and will manage its long-term investment in Cary with quality service.”

He added he had a responsibility that residents are heard and proposals are fairly evaluated.

“I believe that was done,” Kownick said.

Cary Matters also ran a letter writing campaign to encourage residents to write to IHDA about their opposition to the project. IHDA receive about 650 letters from people opposing the project.

Kownick did submit a letter to IHDA in support of the project.

In June, Cary’s Village Board approved a zoning change for the lot from manufacturing to residential to allow the project to go forward. The board then upheld its decision in July.

As part of the 2003 Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, the state wants every municipality with at least 1,000 people to have at least 10 percent of their housing units deemed “affordable.” Cary is one of 11 McHenry County municipalities not meeting the mark. According to the state, only 6.9 percent of its housing units are affordable.

The Pedcor project would bring it up to 7.4 percent.

Those communities need to submit a plan to the Illinois Housing Development Authority by July 2015 showing how they will increase their amount of affordable housing units.

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