BACK OF THE YARDS — A vacant lot near 47th Street and Ashland Avenue will be redeveloped into a 50-unit affordable housing building and community hub in Back of the Yards.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Department of Planning and Development on Monday announced United Yards, a proposal from Celadon Partners and Blackwood Group, was the winning bid to transform the lot at 1515 W. 47th St. as part of the Invest South/West initiative.
“When we invest in our neighborhoods, we’re investing in the lives of real people who have every right to demand more, and they have tangible proof that they are being heard,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference. “When we strengthen our neighborhoods, we stabilize them, we grow them.”
The $51.5 million plan will include 50 apartments as well as a ground-floor business hub and space for youth programs.
The proposal will also overhaul a three-block stretch of 47th Street between Justine Street and Marshfield Avenue.
The development team also plans to restore the Rainbow Building at 4701 S. Ashland Ave., with 30 units for housing for older people and space for Stockyard Coffee House on the ground floor. They plan to build a demonstration farm with help from Star Farms at 47th Street and Marshfield Avenue and a pair of three-flat buildings at 1641 W. 47th St.
The plan also calls for a senior medical clinic and dialysis facility on the ground floor of the former Goldblatt’s building, 4701 S. Marshfield Ave.
“This development will pour millions of dollars into this neighborhood, which is much needed as the city recovers from the pandemic,” Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said in a news release. “With affordable housing, a business hub and a youth programming space, this development will promote growth and opportunity in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.”
The developers called it a “catalytic” investment that would result in benefits to the community for years to come.
Jose Duarte, the founder of Blackwood Group, said the developers are excited to be selected to transform the lot and surrounding blocks.
“By restoring the old buildings, bringing new five-story buildings … it’s going to be a source of great pride for the community,” Duarte said.
Earlier this year, the United Yards development team beat out two other proposals vying for the public lot.
Commissioner Maurice Cox said the project, along with other Invest South/West selections, was an “optimistic signal” for neighborhoods on the South and West sides.
“It’s been a community-driven process since day one and will continue … as we move forward in the next steps,” Cox said.
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