Chicago’s Aurora Hotel to be Renovated for Low-Income Seniors
An apartment for low-income seniors, the historic former Aurora Hotel in suburban Aurora, will be undergoing rehabilitation after more than 20 years since its development.
The city has set aside $400,000 of its block grant funds for community development with details pending on the city’s contribution to the project on Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, according to the Chicago Tribune.
There are “several issues on this property,” Chris Ragona, Aurora’s community development manager, told aldermen during a meeting of the city council’s public health, safety and transportation committee during the discussion of the overall funding for this year’s grants.
The former luxury hotel, opened in 1917 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was transformed into 56-unit affordable housing in 1996 for seniors age 60 and older. The subsidized resort charges a monthly rent of $500, well below the average rent of $1,499 for a 900-square-foot apartment in Aurora, according to rentcafe.com.
At the time of development, the owner received assistance from several state and federal sources, including $750,000 to comply with historic preservation guidelines. The city council also voted to grant a $550,000 loan to the owner with a 1% interest rate as part of the project.
While the property has almost fully occupied, the landlord has been hit with vacancy rates between 10-20% at one point in the pandemic. Ragona expects Aurora city officials to have a more detailed agreement over the summer for the owner of the property.
“In order to keep rents low, there’s not a lot of money left over for other things,” Ragona said. “So when there are serious vacancies, it has an effect.”
[Chicago Tribune] – Connie Kim