The Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) and World Business Chicago (WBC) presented five proposals designed to drive economic development and support the efforts of community organizations that work to revitalize commercial corridors and help businesses in select Chicago neighborhoods.
Multidisciplinary teams brought together experts from architecture and urban planning, real estate, law and finance to develop actionable, specific plans to help local communities and businesses thrive in specific neighborhoods: Little Village, South Shore, West Woodlawn, Washington Park and Austin.
In the summer of 2019, World Business Chicago convened approximately fifteen community organizations who were working together to address vacant properties on various commercial corridors. WBC then selected five neighborhoods from that group and identified a two-block area on which the CCAC teams focused their research. Each team analyzed existing property conditions, learned from community members and local leaders about their needs and developed proposals for improvements. After over nine months of work, team leaders presented their plans to an audience of nearly 100 community members, city representatives and others at the office of CCAC member, CannonDesign.
“This initiative illustrates our commitment to building economic and social equity for all Chicagoans,” said Gregory Hummel, chairman of the Chicago Central Area Committee.
“It was important for us to bring resources to our community partners and have them identify exactly what they needed to support their work to revitalize their commercial corridors,” said Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, executive vice-president, neighborhood and strategic initiatives, World Business Chicago.
While this effort began before the city launched Invest South West, CCAC is committed to supporting the city and its plans moving forward. CCAC, WBC and the teams will now work together with the respective community partners to develop an actionable set of next steps for each neighborhood. More details about Phase 2 of this initiative will be announced in the coming months.
The neighborhood teams and their leaders are: Little Village—Kimberly Dowdell and Domenic Salpietra, HOK; South Shore—Christine Carlyle, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, SCB; E 61st Street-Andrew Broderick, Perkins and Will and Brandon Crawford, Lendlease; E 51st Street—Michael Kmak, Andrew Balster and Chirag Patel, CannonDesign; Austin—Peter Ousley, d’Escoto, Inc
Several organizations and firms partnered with CCAC and WBC on this initiative: 51st Street Business Association, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Arcadis, Austin African American Business and Networking Association, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, CannonDesign, Chicago State University, Chicago Title Insurance Company, Compass, Cotter, D’Escoto, Draper & Kramer, Incorporated, Ernst & Young LLP, Faegre Drinker, Farpoint, Fifield Companies, Habitat, HOK, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, Latent Design, Lendlease, Little Village Chamber of Commerce, Near North Title Group, P. Gallagher & Associates, Perkins and Will, Roosevelt University, SB Friedman, SCB, SOM, South Shore Chamber of Commerce, Sterling Bay, The Hummel Law Group, The John Buck Company, Washington Park Chamber of Commerce, Wight & Co and Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce.