Renovation Underway At Brown Shoe

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The Brown Shoe building in Litchfield is undergoing a $3.7 million renovation, thanks to the Montgomery County Housing Authority (MCHA) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). When work is complete next year, leasing will begin on the 47 two and three-bedroom units with unique living spaces in downtown Litchfield.

"They're going to be nice, and they're all going to be non-smoking," MCHA CEO Kelly Moroney said.  "It's what we do.  I'm confident we can run it properly and keep it nice."

Brown Shoe Apartments opened in 2007 by a developer from Chicago working with IHDA.  Problems soon developed–many stemming from mistakes made during the redevelopment construction process, and 12 years later, the building was less than half occupied and in danger of default with IHDA.  That's when the agency contacted the local housing authority–who has an excellent track record of redeveloping multi-family residential properties–with the offer to finance $3.7 million to rehab the property and forgive the old loans.  MCHA took ownership of the property in August.

Since then, Windsor Construction in Springfield has been busy tuck-pointing and painting the outside.  Inside, work is taking place by floor, starting with the fourth floor and working down.  That work includes replacing drywall and repainting, replacing flooring, new appliances, and "we're replacing every window in the place," Moroney said, "500-some windows."

The 20 tenants who remain in the building will be moved up to the fourth floor when work is done there, and new leases will be available when the entire building is finished next year.

Brown Shoe features 15 three-bedroom apartments and 32 two-bedroom apartments; ten of the 47 total are handicap accessible.  Leases will be lower than market rent through IHDA.

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