CHICAGO — Five shuttered schools on the South and West sides will be turned into business incubators, dorms and other facilities under a new initiative.
The initiative is being led by the Chicago Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit that provides loans to organizations for projects around Chicago.
The fund is using a $5 million Benefit Chicago loan it recently received to create the Repurpose Initiative with a goal of using the money to provide partial funding to other organizations so they can transform five empty schools, according to a Benefit news release.
Two of the schools that will be repurposed are Overton School, 221 E. 49th St., which was closed in 2013, and Hayes Academic Preparation Center, 6529 S. Stewart Ave., which was closed in 2005.
Overton will be turned into a business incubator under the fund’s Repurpose Initiative, according to Benefit. The Washington Park Development Group will use $1 million from the fund to try to secure more funding and rehab the space into an incubator with 40 spots and a common area.
Hayes will be turned into an 88-bed, co-ed dormitory for students at Kennedy-King College, with the Washington Park Development Group also leading that project with money from the fund.
Three other empty schools on the South and West sides will be transformed into new facilities under the plan. “Preliminary” plans for those schools, which were not named, include turning them into a business incubator for young people, providing affordable housing and creating art studios and a light manufacturing work space, according to Benefit.
Benefit also gave a $5 million loan to the Community Investment Corporation, a nonprofit that will use the money to create an incentive program for providing affordable housing in some neighborhoods, according to Benefit.
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