Success Stories

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Asian Human Services/Passages

Asian Human Services helps Asians in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood make the transition to American life.

In 2014, we loaned $650,000 for the organization to acquire a health clinic in Skokie. In 2007, we provided real estate consulting and a $750,000 bridge loan to buy a larger location for a clinic that more than doubled patient visits annually. In 2002, the organization secured a $450,000 IFF loan and a bank loan to buy and renovate the building for its school, Passages.

Today, Asian Human Services offers services ranging from job training to mental health in 28 languages, and Passages ranks as the city’s top elementary charter school in recent state tests.

Black Ensemble Theater

In 2006, Black Ensemble Theater bought a 50,000-square-foot building in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood with the goal of creating a world-class theater venue. IFF was hired as project manager for the total gut of an existing two-story structure and demolition of an adjacent one-story building to make way for a new 2 ½ story main theater.

We performed value engineering to reduce costs without compromising quality or functionality. The Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center opened in November 2011 with a 299-seat main stage, a 150-seat studio theater, rehearsal studios, classrooms, and music rooms.

City Garden Montessori School

St. Louis' City Garden Montessori School hired IFF in 2010 to first evaluate whether a historic industrial building—part of the Botanical Heights redevelopment—would meet its needs for more space. We helped structure a $5 million New Markets tax credit transaction to pay for the rehab.

The transaction included a $500,000 IFF loan, a NMTC allocation from the St. Louis Development Corporation, a loan from Peoples Bank, an investment from US Bank Community Development Corporation, and federal and state historic preservation tax credits. We also helped the elementary charter school hire a project manager.

In August 2010, City Garden Montessori School welcomed 130 students in its new home, with plans to expand to 250.

Countryside Senior Apartments

In 2007, seniors formed 20 percent of the population in Countryside, IL, with nearly one out of every five senior households earning less than $15,000 a year. The closest affordable housing for low-income seniors had a three- to four-year waiting list.

Community Memorial Foundation teamed up with Lyons Township and IFF to find a way to let seniors stay in the community. We negotiated the land donation from Lyons Township, put together the financing, made a $1.3 million loan, and obtained $8 million in federal tax credits and $3.45 million from county HOME funds. The foundation provided a $600,000 grant. We also served as project manager for the $16 million complex, which opened in October 2010 with 70 units.

School District of New Berlin

The School District of New Berlin in southeastern Wisconsin hired IFF to complete a strategic facilities plan for its seven schools in 2011. We identified renovation priorities, recommended improvements for each building, and provided a consolidation strategy.

Based on our findings, the district closed a school, saving over $3.5 million in needed renovations and up to $500,000 in annual maintenance costs. The district requested our help again in 2012 to update the plan, including creating five-year budget plans for each facility and suggesting energy-efficient upgrades.