Rehabbed Covenant Hotel opens, bringing 30 affordable studios to Lincoln Park

Rehabbed Covenant Hotel opens, bringing 30 affordable studios to Lincoln Park

LINCOLN PARK — The $21 million rehabilitation of the historic Covent Hotel opened Thursday, bringing rare affordable housing to Lincoln Park.

The Covent Apartments, 2653 N. Clark St., is a $21 million redevelopment led by the nonprofit NHP that turns an old hotel with rooms into a mixed-use building with 30 affordable rental studios.

The project, which broke ground in November 2023, involves converting the hotel’s 64 rooms into larger studios, each with their own kitchens and bathrooms, city officials said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. The studios will be permanent supportive housing limited to renters making 30 percent or less and 50 percent of the area median income, which is just under $100,000 in Lincoln Park.

“This project represents a success story and the preservation of one of the only remaining residential hotels of the 20th century,” said Jim Horan, acting commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing, which provided $5 million in multifamily loans for the project.

All studios at Covent Apartments are furnished. credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Covent Apartments studios have their own kitchens. credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago

As part of its renovation, the hotel’s eight ground-floor commercial spaces were converted into four larger retail spaces, city officials said. The first floor also contains a residential lobby with a new elevator to facilitate access to the building.

Many of Al Rehab’s old room doors and windows have been preserved to preserve the historical significance of the Covent Hotel, which opened in 1915 to accompany the adjacent theater that was demolished in the 1960s.

City officials said the three-story building had long been used as a one-room apartment, but had fallen into disrepair after the death of its previous owner.

Before construction began, the hotel had about 20 tenants, according to NHP. They will all be given priority to return to the renovated studio units once rehabilitation is completed.

The Chicago Housing Authority also approved 30 project-based vouchers for incoming Covent residents, including current tenants, officials said. Vouchers allow residents to pay 30 percent of their income toward rent.

One of the studios in the newly rehabilitated Covent Apartments. credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago

I give birth. Timmy Knudsen (43), who inherited the project when former Ald. Michelle Smith resigned from her position last year, praising project leaders for going through the “difficult” zoning map amendment process to complete the affordable housing project.

“It takes time, and I think from a city and zoning perspective, we like that because then the projects are done thoughtfully,” Knudsen said. “But in the same regard, we need to make sure it doesn’t take too much time. … We’re really trying to strike a balance here.

The renovation of the Covent Hotel is part of a planned development that includes the construction of a modern, seven-story building designed by architecture firm Brininstool + Lynch in the parking lot east of the historic building.

“Now the project starts right here,” Knudsen said.

Adnani said the developer’s purchase of the parking lot will help fund the rehabilitation of Covent.

Although this new structure calls for 84 rental units, only two will be offered at a reasonable price. To meet the city’s affordable requirements, developers will pay the city $794,000 to cover a shortage of low-cost units at the site.

Officials said this money will go directly to fund the renovation of the old Covent Building.

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