SOUTH SHORE — Fifth Third Bank is committing to invest $20 million into projects in Chicago’s Opportunity Zones, officials announced Monday morning.
Projects will be developed based on community input and neighborhood’s existing assets, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, adding that the investment fits in with the goals of her INVEST South/West initiative.
“It has to be a community-driven process,” Lightfoot said. “In all of the 10 corridors that have been chosen for INVEST South/West, and you look at the Opportunity Zones, those are areas in the city where community stakeholders have already been working on plans to make their communities thrive for years, if not decades.”
Officials did not say what specific projects the funding would go toward.
Lightfoot joined Gov. JB Pritzker, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) and State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26th) as the bank announced its plans. Also in attendance was Meghan Harte, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
Decennial Group — a joint venture from leaders of Farpoint Investment, Clayco and CRG — will manage Fifth Third’s investment.
“We are looking forward to announcing projects in the coming months,” said Scott Goodman, Decennial Group co-founder and founding principal of Farpoint. “It’s just a way for us to make the South Side, the West Side and the entire community vibrant in a way it hasn’t been in decades.”
Goodman is the former ounding principal of prominent development firm Sterling Bay.
The press conference was held at the Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island Ave. Multiple officials noted the arts bank’s history and renovation, and said Fifth Third’s investment would help similar projects flourish on the city’s South and West sides.
“I remember when Theaster Gates had a dream about what to do with this dilapidated, challenged building,” Pritzker said. “Here we stand amidst so much development that can and will be done on the South and West sides.”
At the press conference, Pritzker also announced the creation of a $12 million capital program to encourage private development in Opportunity Zones across the state.
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