On the Drawing Board
The former Aledo Junior High School is on its way to being transformed into vibrant workforce housing. Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), a non-profit community-based development organization, is working to redevelop and revitalize the historic Aledo Junior High into 30 high-quality rental apartments. GROWTH is working with the school’s owner WJ Albertson, local community champion for the project, who purchased the former school this past summer with the intention of working with GROWTH to create Northside Lofts, an affordable, high quality workforce apartment development effort that will infuse nearly $12 million of new investment and create new housing opportunities for those that wish to live and work in downtown.
Northside Lofts complements our completed and ongoing efforts to remake historic downtowns into a thriving destination for new business and resident growth.
The intent of the development is to create vibrant workforce housing for those holding the jobs our efforts are creating downtown and throughout Aledo. This will increase the residential base of downtown and also creates a new tax base for the City of Aledo while promoting all the great amenities that downtown has to offer.
GROWTH introduced its proposal for Northside Lofts to the Aledo community in the summer of 2021, and since then has hosted two community forums to ensure that the redevelopment meets local expectations. Its 30 units of rental housing will range from studios to two-bedroom lofts. Energy-saving, green technology will be implemented to allow for lower utility bills and make the development more attractive for long term affordability. Parking will accommodate 34 parking stalls, and plans include a basketball court, community garden, and internet café for residents, to name a few of the many amenities planned for Northside Lofts.
GROWTH's Vice President, Charlotte Flickinger, is leading the development effort for Northside Lofts alongside Andrew Fisher, Construction Director for GROWTH and Growth General Contracting LLC. “GROWTH appreciates the welcome it has received from the Aledo community. As a community-based development organization, we pay attention to what members of the community are looking for in terms of redevelopment. We took care to request input and have incorporated those elements within our revitalization strategy for Northside Lofts,” commented Charlotte. She continues, “The work we do has an impact that builds stronger communities and creates opportunities for all. We are eager to work with the Aledo community on the redevelopment of Northside Lofts."
GROWTH submitted its request for the final piece of this multi-tiered financing structure to the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) on February 14. Northside Lofts is one among 62 proposals competing for this highly sought-after resource and GROWTH anticipates that approximately one of every three applications will be funded; however, GROWTH is confident that Aledo will stack up well against any other proposal because of our public and private dedication, coordination, and thoughtful planning, not to mention the great demand for more housing options downtown! The IHDA will notify applicants about their financing in early summer 2022. If successful, construction is slated to begin before the end of the year.