SOUTH SHORE — Proposals to redevelop nearly 75,000 square feet of land at 79th Street and Exchange Avenue into transit-oriented housing and commercial space will be accepted through Aug. 31, the city’s planning department announced Friday.
The Department of Planning and Development is accepting pitches to build and rehab structures on two plots of land at 2908–26 E. 79th St. and 7901–33 S. Exchange Ave.
The 1.7-acre site next to the Metra Electric line’s Cheltenham station includes three existing low-rise buildings and vacant land.
The city seeks proposals to build a transit-oriented residential building and improve the commercial corridor, as about half of the storefronts along 79th Street are vacant. The land is privately owned, save for a city-owned lot at 7909 S. Exchange Ave.
The 79th and Exchange intersection is one of the focuses of the South Shore Corridor Study approved by city officials in May. The study called for transit-oriented developments along Exchange Avenue at 75th and 79th Streets, where bus lines and Metra stations converge.
The planned project at the border of South Shore and South Chicago is one of three INVEST South/West projects for which the city requested proposals Friday, alongside two others in Humboldt Park.
The winning proposals are set to be announced later this year. For more information, click here.
“Each of these sites are community focal points that can directly deliver on the promise of INVEST South/West,” Planning Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “In terms of neighborhood improvements and growth potential, [the sites are] where developers and investors are being encouraged to focus their resources, their creativity, and their local partnerships.”
The South Side site includes the three-story Ringer Bank building at 7915 S. Exchange Ave., which was built in 1928 and is “very likely” eligible for designation as a Chicago Landmark, according to a city report.
The long-vacant building has many maintenance issues, but developers are encouraged to preserve the building’s defining features “as much as reasonably possible.”
The planning department “will strongly support” the chosen developer in seeking landmark status for the former bank, the report reads. Officials said they envision the building “as a community hub that may include professional services, a restaurant, an incubator space and other uses.”
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