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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Three West Side, South Side Projects Set To Get $5.16 Million From Neighborhood Opportunity Fund

Developers of the 2632 W. Ogden Ave. site, 6793 S. Chicago Ave. site and Enlace Chicago all could get significant grants.

A rendering shows what the Ogden Commons project could look like.
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CHICAGO — Three large projects set to get $5.16 million from the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund are set for a vote Tuesday at the meeting of the Government and Budget Operations Committee.

The Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus fund program, created by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May 2016, 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.

All projects set to get more than $250,000 from the fund must be approved by the City Council.

Aldermen will also vote on increasing the fund’s limit by $8.5 million to $21 million (O2019-1656).

The projects up for consideration are:

  • Ogden Washtenaw JV LLC (O2019-2578) — Developers of the site at 2632 W. Ogden Ave. would use $2.5 million grant “for the buildout of three ground-floor retail spaces within the $21.5 million Ogden Commons mixed-use project. Tenants would include Steak & Shake, Ja’ Grill, and a yet-to-be identified third business,” according to the mayor’s office. The Zoning Committee cleared the Commons project in May. It promises to transform eight acres of long vacant land in Douglas Park owned by the Chicago Housing Authority into a new complex with a hotel, 384 apartments, 547 parking spaces as well as shops and stores adjacent to Mt. Sinai Hospital.
  • SYTE Corporation (O2019-2575) –  A $2.1 million NOF grant would be used to renovate an 18,000-square-foot building at 6793 S. South Chicago Ave. into SYTE Corp.’s new headquarters with office space and a small business training incubator. The total project cost — which includes a move from Goose Island to Woodlawn — is $3.7 million. The company “provides construction and maintenance services to public and private sector clients,” according to its website.
  • Enlace Chicago (O2019-2576) – Enlace Chicago LLC would receive a $550,000 grant new $1.8 million office and business incubator at 2759 S. Harding Ave. The building would be used to provide legal and immigration services, as well as a business training incubator focusing on food, agriculture, and art, the mayor’s office says.

Interactive Map: TDL’s Guide to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund
New developments are in green — click on a pin to see an image of the development and its details. NOF grant projects are in shades of blue and listed in order of when they were announced. You can also add boundary lines for neighborhoods and wards.

Also on the agenda is a measure (O2019-1427) from Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Ald. James Cappleman (46th) to change the Public Safety Officers Home Buyer Assistance program, which was designed to encourage first responders to live in high crime areas, to the Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance program and make members of Laborer’s Local 1001 and Laborer’s Local 1092 in good standing for at least a year eligible for the program.

WBEZ reported last August that while the city made $30,000 loans available to officers, firefighters and paramedics to help pay for closing costs in one of the six highest crime police districts, officials received just 11 applications for 100 available grants. Mitts’ ward will soon be home to the new $95 million police training academy.

Aldermen will also consider three measures (O2019-1462, O2019-1463, O2019-1465) from Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) to identify funding to stream City Council committees, which is expected to cost $105,000 to get the equipment up and running in Room 201A and about $50,000 for an employee to help operate it.