Home Grown

Housing development

Tandem Realty

Arlington Heights, Cook County

In 2008, construction of two of the three proposed buildings in the Timber Court was completed. These buildings contain 14 of the approved 21 units of affordable housing (20 percent of the units in each building), bringing much-needed diversity to the current housing stock. If/when the third building is constructed, it will contain the additional seven units for the total of 21 affordable units.

Target

Families with a range of incomes, including low to moderate. For the affordable homes, preference will be given to seniors, residents and employees of Arlington Heights.

Development information

Type: Condominium
Total Units: 108
Total Affordable Units: 14 (when fully complete, 21)
Affordable Price Points, approximately:

  • One-bedroom: $132,800
  • Two-bedroom: $143,900

Funding sources

  • Private financing
  • $100,000 grant from village for road improvements

Lessons learned

It is essential to have policies in place so village officials, the public and developers know what is expected.

The development

Timber Court is a 108-unit condominium development located in Arlington Heights, just east of Route 53 and Dundee Road. Arlington Heights approved plans for Timber Court in May 2005, and construction of the first two of the approved three buildings was completed in 2008. Plans to construct the third building are on hold. When completed, Timber Court will provide Arlington Heights and the neighboring area with 21 affordable homes (20 percent of the total development), bringing much-needed diversity to the current housing stock. The affordable condominiums are priced for households at or below 80 percent of area median income, which was $57,900 for a family of four in 2014, and will remain affordable in perpetuity through a deed restriction. The remaining one-bedroom condominiums are priced from the low $200,000s and the remaining two-bedroom condominiums in the mid $200,000s. There is no design or material differentiation between market-rate and affordable homes. The site is surrounded by an assortment of uses, including office and commercial space, and multifamily and single-family homes. The location is accessible to transportation, three miles north of the Arlington Heights Metra station and near three major highways.

Creating affordability

The village required the affordability component of the development as part of its planned unit development entitlement process. Tandem Realty was granted a density bonus of 28 homes to create affordability within the development, as well as other zoning variations, including changing commercially zoned land to residential, an increase in building height, and a lot area and setback minimum reduction.

Public involvement

Strong leadership was key to overcoming community opposition, which mainly centered on the developer's request for an increase in density. The Village held three grueling late-night meetings. Tandem worked closely with the community and Village, appearing at the public hearings and working with Village staff to implement changes to improve the plan. Arlington Heights’ decision to approve the development was based on the fact that Timber Court complies with Village efforts to increase housing affordability and support sensible growth and innovative community development and design. In addition, Northwest Community Hospital, a major area employer, voiced support for the development, citing their employees’ need for more nearby workforce housing like the product Tandem Realty was proposing.

Arlington Heights has long demonstrated its great leadership on the issue of workforce housing, including adopting the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus' Housing Endorsement Criteria in 2002. These criteria support economic development and sustainability, increased housing options, quality design and housing construction near transit and employment. Tandem Realty was one of the first developers to submit a proposal of this size that meets the Village's new criteria.

Lessons learned

The Timber Court experience proved invaluable to the Village even though re-zoning took time to iron out internally and creating truly affordable price points took some research and negotiations. While this process took significant time, the public was meaningfully involved, and Village staff was able to create a whole new skill set and have a better understanding of the process for creating a mixed-income development.

Due to the downturn in the housing market, especially the condominium market, when the construction of the first two buildings was completed, the Village revised its program to allow for the rental of the affordable units. The units must be rented to low-to-moderate income tenants at affordable rents. Therefore, although the target market for the units has been expanded to include renters, the units have been maintained as affordable housing units.

Contact

Department of Planning and Community Development, Arlington Heights
847-368-5200, www.vah.com

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