CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Richard Daley on Friday announced his intention to appoint Loop Capital Markets LLC’s chief executive officer James Reynolds Jr. to serve as chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority’s board.
The City Council must approve Reynolds’ appointment to the CHA board before Daley names him chairman under current rules. Reynolds would take the reins of the board a decade after Daley and a revamped authority announced the so-called Plan for Transformation to demolish rundown high-rise public housing projects and replace them with low-rise complexes inhabited by mixed-income residents.
“Jim Reynolds understands the challenges we face to complete the Plan for Transformation and he possesses the leadership qualities to take us to our goal,” Daley said in a statement.
Reynolds, 56, would replace Marty Nesbitt, who has served a four-year term as board chairman. Reynolds grew up in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side and graduated from Chicago Vocational High School. He is a board member of the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness, the University of Chicago Hospitals, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, and several cultural institutions. He is chairman of the Chicago Urban League board.
Reynolds co-founded Loop in 1997 with his wife, Sandy, and Albert Grace Jr. It has expanded to about 140 employees from six when it first opened it doors. Following steady growth over the last year, the firm’s goal is to move into the top 10 among senior managers nationally and into the top five among co-managers.
The CHA — the country’s third-largest public housing agency — manages a housing stock of 17,813 units, including 6,092 family units, 9,178 senior units, and 2,543 scattered-site units. It expects to add 890 new and rehabilitated units this year, bringing its total stock to 18,703, which would put it at 74.8% of its 25,000 goal under the $1.6 billion Plan for Transformation.
The plan has come under public criticism for the temporary displacement of residents during the reconstruction process. New mixed-income projects that rely on private development support have been hampered by the housing crisis and decline in market values.
The federal government took over the agency in 1995 due to a history of financial mismanagement and operational problems. It handed control back to Chicago in 1999.
Standard & Poor’s assigns the CHA an issuer credit rating of AA-minus. The authority lacks taxing authority and does not carry a direct general obligation rating. It has issued mortgage revenue bonds and its $200 million of 2006 capital program refunding bonds are rated in the double-A category based on their security of federal grants.