CARY – The controversial Garden Place apartment complex held its official open house Thursday, the same week it hit 100 percent occupancy.
Indiana-based Pedcor Companies is behind the new 60-unit affordable housing complex at First and Pearl streets in Cary, which opened some units for occupancy in February. Village officials first approved the project in 2014, but the need to change site plans caused delay.
Hundreds of residents and some trustees opposed the project, but Mayor Mark Kownick has supported it.
“Economic development follows inviting great residents to be a part of our community,” Kownick said Thursday. “Our businesses thrive and look for opportunities to employ people who are local.”
Kownick pointed to the Sage Products expansion as an example. The company – Cary’s largest employer – plans to nearly double its workforce in the coming years, he said.
“They want to have employees live close to home,” he said. “When you are pulling people from Harvard and Marengo, that adds to the cost [for employees]. … This is a wonderful development, and the people that are part of this are welcome in the village of Cary.”
Pedcor is part of the Illinois Housing and Development Authority’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which administers tax credits. To receive the credits, Pedcor has to primarily serve residents who make 60 percent or less than the area median income.
Brendan Kiley, community outreach manager at the IHDA, called the project a “milestone” for Cary.
“It is an extremely competitive process to secure funding from IHDA,” Kiley said. “We score each application carefully and consider support from elected officials, neighbors and the experience of the development team to make sure our resources go to the developments that will have the greatest impact. … What have been vacant lots for eight years will now be a vibrant community.”
Pedcor Executive Vice President Tom Crowe said he hoped the complex would be a resource for village residents for decades to come.
“Our intent is to make this apartment community a long-term asset for the village of Cary,” he said. “Pedcor’s commitment to the village is to manage this property in such a way that it continues to be a beautiful place for the many decades to come.”
Village Trustee Jim Cosler, a vocal opponent of the project, said in a statement to the Northwest Herald that it will take time to evaluate the effect the development has on the village.
Cosler was a leader of the Cary Matters political action committee and fought the Pedcor development before being elected to the Village Board.
“As an elected steward of our village, I sincerely hope that today’s ribbon-cutting marks a new beginning for this controversial project. It is with unwarranted optimism that I hope to see a profound improvement in both communication and management as they relate to the handling of this housing project,” he said. “Pedcor’s plans and the way they were carried out created a deep divide within our community, which pitted neighbor against neighbor and friend against friend. Only time will tell the true impact the Pedcor project will have on the village of Cary.”