The Metropolitan Planning Council joined the Village of Riverdale in celebrating the groundbreaking of a redevelopment project for the Pacesetter/Whistler Crossing neighborhood.
On November 13, 2007, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) joined the Village of Riverdale in celebrating the groundbreaking of a $38 million redevelopment project to convert the 50-year-old Pacesetter property into Whistler Crossing, a mixed-income, mixed-use community offering both for-sale and rental housing options to current and future residents. Meant to address the distressed condition of the Pacesetter property in south suburban Riverdale, Ill., Whistler Crossing is the result of years of work and broad collaboration between Riverdale and many key partners, including the Urban Land Institute-Chicago and the MPC, through its involvement in the Campaign for Sensible Growth.
Built in the 1950s, the 397-unit Pacesetter townhome development was initially built to attract employees of the nearby Acme Steel Mill. The owners of Pacesetter quickly faced financial difficulties, and by 1960, all of the homes had been sold to individual owners. Over the next 30 years, as Pacesetter became increasingly isolated from the rest of Riverdale, drugs and crime became prevalent in the neighborhood.
MPC has been involved in the Pacesetter redevelopment process since 2003, when Riverdale brought in the Campaign for Sensible Growth and the Urban Land Institute-Chicago to hold a Technical Assistance Panel. The panel advised Riverdale on available public and private financing options for the redevelopment, and was followed by a one-year commitment by panelists to counsel the village. Since 2004, MPC has advised the Village and the development team led by Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation.
Riverdale Mayor Zenovia Evans (far right) shows MPC staff around Pacesetter.
Attended by state, county, and local officials, including Cook County President Todd Stroger and Riverdale Mayor Zenovia Evans, Tuesday’s groundbreaking was a major success for all involved. The $38 million project included substantial support from many public and private lenders. Sarah Berke of the Chicago Community Loan Fund, which contributed a record $1 million loan, said, “Chicago Community Loan Fund is very proud to have been involved in this project. We hope its success can be emulated elsewhere.”
Riverdale Mayor Zenovia Evans says the redevelopment of Pacesetter “marks the beginning of quality housing for working families. We are bringing in quality management for people that want to live, work and play in a great community. [Whistler Crossing] also marks the beginning of reinvestment in Metropolitan Chicago inner ring communities.”
November 13 Whistler Crossing groundbreaking: Riverdale Mayor Zenovia Evans (third from left); Cook County President Todd Stroger (first on right); DeShana Forney, Ill. Housing Development Authority (second from left); Andre Ashmore, Ill. Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity(fifth from left); Lorri Newson, Turnstone Development (seventh from left); Doug Farr, Farr Associates (eighth from left); and Calvin Holmes, Chicago Community Loan Fund (to the right of Doug Farr).