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The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award

What happens when dedication and vision is pitted against entrenched opposition? Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation found out when it managed to secure $40 million in financing after a 12- year struggle. The result was Wilson Yard, which turned a community eyesore – a burned out CTA bus barn – into a lively, mixed-use complex that offers affordable housing for seniors and families as well as a Target store, an Aldi grocery store and other retail.

With the introduction of Wilson Yard come new opportunities for Uptown, which has struggled to balance new developments with the needs of a divergant population. Wilson Yard was not without its challenges. The plan went through 50 versions, and the configuration of the site itself - a single, massive building with structural elements that would be shared by all four incoming entities - meant that all financing had to be secured simultaneously before construction began. A small but vocal segment of the community called for market-rate housing, but the project partners, troubled by the rapid gentrification that had already pushed many lifetime residents out of the neighborhood, were undeterred.

Holsten secured funding from 15 different sources and used New Market Tax Credit dollars to bridge the gaps. In the end, the 178-unit development not only brought more affordable housing to the neighborhood, but has spurred growth in the local retail scene.

For the creative adaptive-reuse of a vacant building and the subsequent positive impact on the neighborhood, the Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation is awarded The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project award.