BRONZEVILLE — Three development teams competing to change the face of Bronzeville’s famed 47th Street corridor pitched their vision to a virtual audience Tuesday as they compete for city money to help build their projects.
The Chicago Department of Planning and Development hosted the webinar where the three teams —helmed by Black-led firms KMW Communities, Imagine Group and Revere Properties — look to redevelop the lot at 449-51 E. 47th St. into a housing and retail complex as part of the city’s Invest South/West initiative. The site is one of 13 being redeveloped on the South and West sides.
Teams had four months to prepare proposals that focus on equity, wealth building and the promotion of local business development. A finalist will be selected later this spring. A video of the meeting is available on YouTube.
‘The Legacy District’
With “The Legacy District,” Bill Williams and his team see their project as a “systematic approach” to wealth building.
“We believe in this neighborhood. We want to see it grow and prosper,” said Williams, who added that the team has invested $16 million into the community over the last two decades.
The $19.4 million project calls for a 74,760-square-foot, six-story residential and commercial building with covered parking, communal roof gardens and a rooftop farm. Twenty-five units of housing — five of them affordable — are also part of the proposal. The team estimates it will create 340 jobs, 240 of them permanent. Community partners YWCA and DePaul University would run a women of color entrepreneurship center on the site.
“The Village,” a proposal created by Imagine Group and Milhouse, hopes to continue Bronzeville’s reputation as an entrepreneurial incubator. Their plan calls for 167,293-square feet of commercial and residential space, with 20 percent set aside for affordable housing. Hyde Park Kilwin’s owner Jackie Jackson has agreed to take on one of several empty storefronts. The project would cost $57.8 million.
“What makes our proposal very unique is how we connected to the community, how our programs and businesses we’re bringing to the table will help Bronzeville grow,” said Milhouse Lead Developer Melanie Jefferies. “We’re not only thinking about one site, but an entire corridor and making it a cultural destination.”
Revere Properties President Lee Reed presented his team’s proposal, which calls for a “holistic approach” to redeveloping the 47th Street corridor. The team wants to acquire two additional buildings across the street to complete their vision of a dining hall providing heathly food and grand culinary experiences.
The “47th/Vincennes Partnership” project would span 116,200 square feet, with 41,000 square feet of retail, 30 apartment units, and 16 condominium units. Total cost is $41.7 million, and the team is partnering with the Chicago Urban League to provide jobs and workforce development programming as part of their efforts to “promote financial growth.”
The team is also hoping to duplicate the synergy between the Bronzeville Artists Lofts and Gallery Guichard, with the latter employing residents in various positions and providing exhibition space for artists.
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