The Chicago Planning Commission has given the go-ahead to The Habitat Company, along with partners Chicago Housing Authority, Sinai Health System and Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, for a $200 million plan to redevelop the former Ogden Courts East site in the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood.
Known as Ogden Commons, the 10-acre development bordered by Ogden Avenue to the south, Fairfield Avenue to the west and Rockwell Street to the east will offer mixed-income rental housing, retail and commercial space.The mixed-use project will create 120,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, as well as hundreds of mixed-income housing units.
“The Habitat Company is proud to lead this public-private partnership to bring not only much-needed quality housing to the North Lawndale neighborhood, but also commercial and retail spaces that will help expand employment opportunities and health services in this area,” said Matt Fiascone, president of The Habitat Company. “Ogden Commons is more than just a group of buildings—it’s about a commitment by each partner to help enhance an historic community that will serve the residents and businesses of North Lawndale and the greater Chicago area for years to come.”
Ogden Commons will be developed in multiple phases, with the first phase comprised of 45,000 square feet of commercial space, 15,000 square feet of retail space and a portion of the planned residences. Construction on the commercial space is expected to begin during second quarter 2019 with the residential work to follow. The entire development is projected for completion in 2021, at which time Cinespace and Sinai Health will occupy a significant portion of the commercial space, expanding on their current locations across from the site.
“Ogden Commons is taking vacant land and transforming it into a mixed-use project that includes commercial, retail and housing units for residents,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This builds on the City’s effort to redevelop North Lawndale and further helps expand jobs and services for our residents.”
Cinespace specializes in the development, management and operation of studio facilities and occupies 1.45 million square feet of what used to be the Ryerson Steel Company. Its additional space at Ogden Commons will allow the growing film studio—home to a number of TV shows and movies, such as Empire, Chicago Fire and Divergent—to expand its services.
“Cinespace is proud to partner with Sinai Health System and The Habitat Company on such an exciting mixed-use community development project,” said Alex Pissios, president of Cinespace. “Ogden Commons will allow us to expand our job creation, while developing new mixed-income housing along with much-needed retail stores that currently do not exist in this community.”
Sinai Health has had a presence in North Lawndale for nearly 100 years with its Mount Sinai Hospital, along with Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Sinai Community Institute, all located along Ogden Avenue. Its new space at Ogden Commons will enable Sinai Health to continue providing quality care in new modern healthcare spaces for outpatient services.
“The Ogden Commons project is a cornerstone opportunity to invest in our community and its future,” said Karen Teitelbaum, president and CEO, Sinai Health. “It is an extension of the work we’ve been doing for decades to reach beyond our own walls and find innovative and impactful ways to fulfill our core mission to improve the lives of those we serve.”
In addition to providing newly constructed mixed-income apartments for employees of Cinespace and Sinai Health, Ogden Commons will serve as a convenient housing option for employees of other key North Lawndale businesses such as Lagunitas Brewing Company.
“Since 1971, Habitat has spearheaded projects nationwide in developing nearly 8,000 new mixed-income housing units, so we’re proud to make Ogden Commons our latest development in furthering our strong commitment to revitalizing urban communities.” said Fiascone.
The redevelopment will include extensive streetscape enhancements along Ogden Avenue, including decorative lighting, special pavers, landscaping and benches to enhance the area’s pedestrian environment and commercial viability. The expectation is that Ogden Commons will be funded by a number of public and private funding sources and serve as an economic catalyst for the area.