Historic Chicago hotel rehabbed for low-income housing

Officials from Chicago and the NHP Foundation celebrated the opening of a renovated historic housing unit offering affordable single-room occupancy.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday that restoration of the Mark Twain on Chicago’s near north side will help keep the city affordable.

The city teamed up with the NHP Foundation, a nonprofit real estate organization dedicated to preserving and expanding affordable housing, in a $54 million rehabilitation of the building. It created 148 affordable apartment units with private bathrooms and added private kitchenettes.

It has all new plumbing and electrical systems, a rooftop deck, its vintage facade is restored and it has nearly 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of retail space on the ground floor.

The Chicago Housing Authority will provide rental assistance to the Mark Twain’s occupants. Fifty residents who lived there before the renovation have returned and the balance of the apartments will be leased to people on the housing authority’s waiting list.

The city provided more than $46 million in revenue-bond funding, loans and tax credits.

The five-story Art Deco building designed by Harry Glube opened as a hotel in the 1930s. It has operated as a single-room occupancy hotel since the 1980s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.