Developers hope East Garfield Park modular home complex will be an affordable housing solution


CHICAGO (CBS) — Developers are banking on factory-built homes on the city’s West Side as an answer to Chicago’s affordable housing shortage.

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar got a first look at a model home on Tuesday.

The Harrison Row Townhomes are now under construction at Harrison Street and Francisco Avenue in East Garfield Park. They are a project set to offset rising housing prices for working-class families.

“This is something that’s creating a new landscape in an area of Chicago that’s been overlooked for decades,” said Kevin Brinson.

Fain’s Development LLC, a company of which Brinson and Quentin Addison are principals – helped develop the Harrison Row Townhomes.

When completed, 33 homes – all built and fabricated in a factory – will be an option intended for first time home buyers.  

“This was one of our ideas that we put together is to build modular homes in this community,” Addison said.

They are hoping the same development plan can be replicated in other neighborhoods.

“Oh yes, we are working on it as we speak,” Addison said. “We plan on doing 1,000 homes within the next five years.”

Annette Shelton is the realtor for the project.

“There is nothing like this in the city of Chicago yet,” Shelton said. “This is brand-new technology.”

Shelton walked us through a three-bedroom model home.

“They are affordable. They’re priced at $245,000,” she said. “They’re affordable under the Chicago Housing Trust program.”

A 30-year agreement with the Chicago Housing Trust program is aimed at preventing gentrification. For example, to qualify for one of the homes, a couple can’t make more than $100,000 a year.

Charissica Taylor-Allen said there is nothing else like the development in the neighborhood.

“Something different and new,” she said.

Taylor-Allen already lives in East Garfield Park and is a potential Harrison Row Townhomes buyer.

“It’s very encouraging to see that change is coming,” she said.

But for Margaret Williams, who lives in an affordable housing complex across the street, she worries about the possibility of gentrification one day.

“It’s not affordable – to people like me,” Williams said. “Somebody else from somewhere else will come in.”

The timeline for laying the foundation, assembling, and installing each home is about 90 days – far less than a typical construction project.

So far, one home is under contract – and on Wednesday, the project goes live.

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