Four exciting redevelopment projects are declared winners in Chicago’s ambitious “Invest South West” revitalization initiative

Long-time REVITALIZATION readers will be familiar with Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot‘s impressive Invest South West revitalization initiative for some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Now, a series of Requests for Proposals (RFP) (which we also featured here in REVITALIZATION) has resulted in four winning redevelopment projects.

On August 23, 2021, four mixed-use INVEST South/West projects planned for areas in South Chicago, North Lawndale, Bronzeville, and New City and additional collaborations with three minority-led developers.

One of my highest priorities is bringing catalytic investments to our South and West Side communities, which have gone far too long without revitalization,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

These new projects will allow us to do that and represent an important collaboration between our city departments and the communities we serve. I want to give a huge congratulations to all of our finalists and look forward to cutting the ribbon to their exciting, equity and inclusion-driven projects in the very near future,” she added.

The projects, which are valued at approximately $200 million, were selected in response to a second round of RFPs issued by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) last winter. The four RFP selections will collectively create more than 215 residential units, 40,000 square feet of commercial space, and approximately 900 permanent and temporary jobs on commercial corridor sites that are either vacant or underutilized.

The three additional minority-led proposals planned for nearby City-owned locations will create dozens of additional residential units, tens of thousands of square feet of new commercial space, and more than 100 new hotel rooms, pending refinements to be completed in the months ahead.

The RFPs’ 15 responses were subject to a months-long review process that included neighborhood roundtables and selection teams comprised of City of Chicago staff and community-based evaluators. Final selections were based on responsiveness to the goals of each RFP, developer experience and capacity, development team diversity, community wealth-building components, proposed designs, financial viability, community feedback, and other criteria.

All of the projects are led by minority firms with multiple minority- or women-owned team members.

“The RFP responses exceeded our most optimistic expectations in both quality and diversity,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “As a result, we’re ensuring that several of the runners-up have a way to move their projects forward on nearby City-owned sites. This is what social equity is supposed to look like at the neighborhood level.”

United Yards

United Yards is a $51.5 million joint venture of Celadon Partners and the Blackwood Group planned for multiple vacant and improved properties near Ashland Avenue and 47th Street.

The project will redevelop a vacant, City-owned lot at 1515 W. 47th St. with a 50-unit affordable apartment building that includes a ground floor business hub and youth programming space.

Additional phases will revitalize a largely vacant, four-story commercial building at 4701 S. Ashland Ave. with 30 senior rental apartments and a ground-floor coffee shop; redevelop vacant land at 1641 W. 47th St. with a pair of affordable, three-flat buildings; and enhance an existing supportive living center at 4707 S. Marshfield Ave. with renovated retail space, parking, and park space.

The proposed project will create 44 permanent jobs and more than 330 construction jobs.  

Lawndale Redefined

Lawndale Redefined is a $31.4 million joint venture from GRE Ventures, Imagine Group, and 548 Development.

Planned for an acre of vacant, City-owned and private land on Ogden Avenue between Homan and Trumbull avenues, the project consists of 60 mixed-income apartments, three market-rate townhomes, retail and restaurant space, and a stand-alone community center with technology and arts programming.

Outdoor amenities include a plaza with public art and other cultural amenities.

The project will create 30 permanent jobs and up to 120 construction jobs.

Legacy District

The Legacy District is a $19.2 million joint venture of KMW Communities and LG Development in partnership with Bronzeville Community Partners.

The project is planned for 0.6 acres of vacant, City-owned land on the southwest corner of 47th Street and Vincennes Avenue.

The proposal calls for a six-story building containing 12,000 square feet of commercial space and 25 mixed-income residential units.

The project will create 174 permanent jobs and 140 construction jobs.

Galleria 89

Galleria 89 is a $23.5 million project from 548 Development planned for approximately .6 acres of underutilized properties on the 8800 block of South Commercial Avenue.

The project will create a four-story building with 35 mixed-income apartments and rehab an existing, three-story building with 10 mixed-income apartments.

Approximately 12,000-square-feet of commercial space on the ground floors of both buildings will include a café, business center, and bike shop.

The project will create more than 60 permanent jobs and more than 100 construction jobs.

All renderings courtesy of the Office of the Mayor of Chicago. Featured rendering shows the Legacy District.

See the Invest South West website.

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