A handful of minority-owned local development teams are poised to build more than $125 million worth of projects on Chicago’s South and West sides and a trio of other plans totaling $75 million could be moving forward under the latest wave of winning bids in the city’s program to revive commercial corridors in blighted neighborhoods.
City planning department officials today announced a second batch of projects selected through Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West initiative, which is meant to steer $750 million in public funding and resources into 10 designated South and West Side neighborhoods over a three-year period.
The latest winners (see renderings and more details of each below) were selected out of 15 total bids for a mix of four mostly city-owned sites in New City, Bronzeville, North Lawndale and South Chicago and could collectively generate almost 700 construction jobs and more than 300 permanent jobs, according to the city.
The four proposals picked by the city will now begin working through community feedback and city approval processes as each development team works to secure financing for the projects. Details of how much tax-increment financing or other taxpayer assistance will be deployed to each project was not immediately available.
The Department of Planning & Development also is in discussions with three development teams whose bids were not selected for the sites but could pursue their proposals on other parcels nearby, DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. He said he expects each of the four projects selected by the planning department to be under construction in 2022.
The selections follow the first wave of winning bidders for sites in Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Austin that have each been making progress toward breaking ground.
Plans for Englewood Connect, which would add to the redeveloped Englewood Square project at the northwest corner of 63rd and Halsted streets, could be ready to move forward with construction by the end of the year, according to Cox.
The development team proposing to transform Austin’s dilapidated landmark Laramie Bank building into a commercial building that includes a blues museum, a bank branch, a cafe and a business incubator is still vying to shore up the last of its financing to begin work, Cox said.
In Auburn Gresham, pushback from some residents on a plan for an affordable-housing project along 79th Street just west of Halsted Street forged a slightly tweaked plan, under which a pair of local developers plan to build two buildings to provide both housing and commercial uses, according to Cox.
“We anticipated that the community would want to continue the conversation” after the first winning bids were announced, Cox said. “A lot of times what they want, the market is not yet saying that that comes first. So we purposefully are leading with affordable, mixed-use developments that have high impact on the commercial corridor because one development begets another, begets another. What they’re leading to is really robust conversations about what’s the full complement of services that the community needs, helping to shape our future agenda about where Invest South/West goes next.”
Here are more details on each of the winning bids:
NORTH LAWNDALE: 3400-18 W. Ogden Ave.
A joint venture of Chicago developers GRE Ventures, Imagine Group and 548 Development is planning a $31.4 million project dubbed “Lawndale Redefined” across seven vacant lots along Ogden Avenue between Homan and Trumbull avenues, all but one of which the city owns.
The roughly one-acre project would include 60 mixed-income apartments—48 of which would be affordable, Cox said—three market-rate townhomes, retail and restaurant space and a standalone community center with “technology and arts programming,” according to the city. The project also would include an outdoor plaza with public art, and create 30 permanent jobs and up to 120 construction jobs.
“The challenge here was (to) create a public place on Ogden, which is very auto-centric. And I think they did a masterful job at doing that,” Cox said.
Separately, the city is working with two of the five bidders that were not selected about repurposing part of their plans for other city-owned locations nearby along Ogden. Those runner-up bids came from Proxima Management, which initially proposed a 200-room hotel on the city’s Ogden site, and a pair of developers that pitched plans for the Tapestry, a mixed-use affordable-housing complex that included a food hall and co-working space.
NEW CITY: 1515 W. 47th St.
In the largest of the four selected projects, at $51.5 million, a joint venture of Chicago-based Celadon Partners and construction firm Blackwood Group would redevelop a vacant, city-owned lot with a 50-unit affordable apartment building that includes a ground-floor business hub and youth programming space.
Later phases of the project, called “United Yards,” would include redeveloping a mostly vacant four-story building at 4701 S. Ashland Ave. with 30 senior rental apartments and a ground-floor coffee shop; redeveloping vacant land at 1641 W. 47th St. with a pair of affordable, three-flat buildings, and renovating retail space, parking and park space at an existing assisted living center at 4707 S. Marshfield Ave. Celadon Group already was an investor in senior housing projects in the area, Cox said.
DPD received three bids for the New City site and said the winning project would create 44 permanent jobs and more than 330 construction jobs.
BRONZEVILLE: 449-51 E. 47th St.
Chicago-based affordable-housing developer KMW Communities teamed with LG Development and Bronzeville Community Partners on the winning plan for the Near South Side neighborhood. Dubbed “the Legacy District,” the $19.2 million vision would include turning a half-acre of city-owned land on the southwest corner of 47th Street and Vincennes Avenue into a six-story building with 25 mixed-income residential units and 12,000 square feet of commercial space.
The project would create 174 permanent jobs and 140 construction jobs.
Separately, the city and Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, are working with a runner-up bidder for the site—a group that includes Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Loop Capital—to move forward with a portion of its proposal to develop mixed-use projects on city-owned land across the street from the proposed Legacy District.
SOUTH CHICAGO: 8840-54 S. Commercial Ave.
Chicago-based 548 Development was selected for its plan to build “Galleria 89,” a $23.5 million project on a half-acre on the 8800 block of South Commercial Avenue. The project would include a four-story, 35-unit mixed-income apartment building and a renovated three-story building with 10 mixed-income apartments. About 12,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space would be spread across the two buildings and would include a cafe, business center and a bike shop.
The project is slated to create more than 60 permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs.