CHICAGO — More than 30 small businesses on the South and West sides will be awarded a total of $5 million in grants under the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund program, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday.
The businesses awarded funding include a Grand Boulevard grocery store, a North Lawndale restaurant and a Little Village fruit market, city officials announced at a press conference Wednesday in Washington Park. The Little Village Chamber of Commerce was also awarded funds for a cafe and incubator space, officials announced.
This is the third round of Neighborhood Opportunity Fund investments the city has made. The third round of funding is the largest to date for the program, which provides grants up to $250,000 for economic development projects along commercial corridors on the city’s South, West and Southwest sides.
Third round awardees include:
- The 51st Street Restaurant Row in Washington Park to revamp vacant storefronts to create move-in ready spaces for restaurants
- AP Deli in Roseland for facade improvements and buildout of a barbershop in an adjacent space
- BJ’s Market and Bakery in Auburn Gresham to update the longstanding Southern-style eatery
- Bronzeville Culinary Kitchens on Grand Boulevard for buildout of a new commercial kitchen and event space
- Calahan Funeral Home in Englewood to expand and renovate the funeral home
- Chubby’s Char House in Austin for buildout of a BBQ restaurant that will hire and train ex-offenders and help feed the homeless
- Cinemas Entertainment in North Lawndale for buildout of a sit-down dining area in an existing neighborhood movie theater
- Coleman’s Bar-B-Que #2 in Austin for renovations at the family-owned restaurant
- Dog-E-Stylez Grooming Salon in Back of the Yards to renovate the shop and build a dog park nearby
- Doughboy’s in Park Manor for buildout of new soul food restaurant
- Dust Em Clean Maintenance in Woodlawn to redevelop a multi-unit commercial development
- Haute Brats in West Englewood that will serve takeout food and provide workforce training
- Jeffery Java and Old Fashioned Donuts for the buildout of an upscale coffee and tea shop in South Shore
- Kenwood Dental Group to renovate the family-owned dental center
- La Copacabana Fruit Market in Little Village for updates to the full-service grocery store and fruit market
- Larry’s Barber College to purchase and renovate a longtime barber college on Halsted Street in Roseland
- Linda’s Sports Shoes in Little Village to renovate the athletic shoe store
- Little Village Chamber of Commerce to create a community café XQuina Cafe and business incubator in a vacant building
- Majani Restaurant in South Shore for the buildout of offices and a commissary kitchen for the vegan restaurant and catering company
- Mana Gourmet Foods in Greater Grand Crossing for buildout of a startup cafe and dessert shop
- Marlon’s Chicken in Greater Grand Crossing to renovate the neighborhood restaurant
- Metropolitan Premier Grocery for buildout of a new grocery store in the Rosenwald Courts building
- Norman’s Bistro, Room 43 and The Haven in Kenwood for facade improvements and construction of The Haven
- Pullman National Monument Visitors Center for the new visitor’s center for Pullman’s National Monument Park
- Restaurant Y Taqueria La Justicia in Little Village for renovations and the long-standing, family-owned restaurant
- Sky-Light Carpentry Services in Austin for buildout of new shared office space
- SkyART community art space on 91st Street in South Chicago
- South Side Community Arts Center to restore the landmark building that is home to the arts and cultural group
- St. Edmund’s Redevelopment Corporation in Washington Park to create an office building for the group
- Ted’s Place in Austin to renovate a community blues and jazz tavern
- Law Office of Theodore London to expand existing law practice into neighboring storefront
- Tropical Optical in Little Village renovations family-owned
- The Woodlawn in Avalon Park for the buildout of a startup cafe and popup restaurant space and an incubator space
The awardees were selected from more than 800 applications, according to the city. City officials did not immediately provide the dollar amounts each awardee was granted Wednesday.
Emanuel said the city’s goal “is not just for one part of Chicago to grow, but for all of Chicago’s neighborhoods to grow together.” The neighborhood projects supported by the third round of grants are expected to generate a total of $38.3 million of investment, city officials said.
“Investments in neighborhood businesses don’t just create jobs, they create a sense of community. At the end of the day, that’s what the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund is all about,” he said.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus fund program allows developers to pay a fee to build bigger and taller projects in an expanded Downtown area. Eighty percent of fund dollars are then used to support commercial projects in blighted neighborhoods.
To date, the city has doled out $12.2 million in funding to support 60 neighborhood businesses and projects, city officials said.
Since its inception, the city has collected $23 million from downtown construction projects for the fund. Another $45 million in approved projects is pending payment to the fund, city officials said.
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