The Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has issued requests for proposals (RFPs), seeking the redevelopment of underutilized sites in Auburn Gresham, Austin and Englewood. The locations will be the inaugural sites for Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West program.
The goal of INVEST South/West is to create pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use projects that address local development needs while fostering additional investment on adjacent blocks. The locations are 838-58 W. 79th Street in Auburn Gresham, 5200-24 W. Chicago Avenue in Austin and two sites in Englewood, the 6200 block of South Green Street and 914 W. 63rd Street.
“These sites offer flagship opportunities to help revitalize their respective neighborhoods with quality-of-life amenities, jobs and mixed-income housing that leverage local transit and advance long-established community goals,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
The approximately 34,200-square-foot site on the northwest corner of Chicago and Laramie Avenues in Austin includes five vacant lots and the vacant, 14,340-square-foot Laramie State Bank building, a designated Chicago Landmark. The RFP seeks the mixed-use rehabilitation of the former bank and new construction on the adjacent land. All the properties are privately owned and the RFP is being issued in consultation with their owners.
In Auburn Gresham, the nearly 23,000-square-foot-site consists of six parcels of vacant land owned by the city. The RFP seeks their redevelopment with a high-quality, mixed-use project that includes ground-floor commercial spaces and residential uses above. The site is located directly across the street from the planned Auburn Gresham Healthy Lifestyle Hub and within walking distance of the 79th/Halsted Street intersection and the planned 79th Street Metra commuter station.
The approximately 4.28-acre Englewood site consists of two packages: Site B1/B2 and Site C. The sites are being offered as the second phase of the adjacent Englewood Square I project, which is a Whole Foods-anchored shopping center on the northwest corner of Halsted and 63rd streets. The goal of the RFP is to establish a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use town center that includes residential and commercial uses. Site B1 consists of approximately 61,260 square feet of land that includes a former 9,000-square-foot firehouse, a designated Chicago Landmark. Site B2 consists of 21,050 square feet of land that is also accessible by a public alley. Site C consists of approximately 105,160 square feet of land, approximately one-third of which has environmental restrictions.
Developed through a months-long community-engagement process, each RFP includes renderings of potential design scenarios, as well as a pre-qualified list of design teams that are available to help selected developers recruit emerging and minority- and women-owned architecture firms.
“These RFPs represent the true promise of INVEST South/West,” said DPD commissioner, Maurice Cox. “From the proposal stage to the selection process to the ribbon cuttings, the development process will reflect inclusivity, equity and the need for high-quality designs that foster additional community improvements on behalf of existing residents and businesses.”
The city of Chicago may consider development assistance for each proposal with incentives that could include tax increment financing support, neighborhood opportunity fund (NOF) grants, purchase-price write-downs, and other resources, based on recent market analyses of each site. Pre-submission meetings scheduled for late September will provide opportunities for would-be respondents to ask questions about the sites and potential city assistance. The due date for each RFP is November 24, 2020.
Winning responses are expected to be announced by DPD later this year. Selected developers will undergo a community-based review and approval process that may include the Chicago Plan Commission, the Community Development Commission and City Council.
Additional RFPs are expected to be issued for the seven other INVEST South/West community areas in the months ahead.
INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative under Mayor Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple city departments, community organizations and corporate partners within 10 neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides.