A rendering of the planned Galleria 89 development. A Dollop Coffee café would be located in a storefront in the rehabbed building at 8840 S. Commercial Ave., seen at right with the "Coffee Co." sign. Credit: Department of Planning and Development

SOUTH CHICAGO — City officials and private developers are seeking public input on a plan to bring 45 apartments to South Chicago, most of which are expected to be affordable.

Twelve thousand square feet of retail space, including a café and business center, are also planned for the project, dubbed Galleria 89. The $23.5 million development is planned for a mostly vacant stretch along the 8800 block of South Commercial Avenue.

The development team, led by 548 Development, will demolish a vacant building at 8854 S. Commercial Ave. and replace it with a four-story building with 35 apartments. A three-story building at 8840 S. Commercial Ave. will be rehabbed and host the other 10 apartments.

Both buildings will feature storefronts on the ground floor, including a Dollop Coffee at the rehabbed building. An undefined portion of each sale at the café will go toward a fund to support activities like a garden at the complex.

Officials reviewed plans for Galleria 89 and allowed residents to ask questions of the developers during a community meeting Monday. A recording of the meeting is available on YouTube.

Another meeting will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday on Zoom.

City planners will review feedback from this week’s meetings and share how it will be incorporated into the project plans during a virtual roundtable discussion at 6 p.m. Sept. 28.

Following the public input sessions, Galleria 89 will head to a city review process, which may include hearings at the Community Development Commission, the Plan Commission and City Council.

Of the 45 apartments, 27 are planned to be affordable for residents making 60 percent of the area median income, or $55,920 annually for a four-person household.

Residents demanded the project not contribute to gentrification and displacement in South Chicago, 548 Development CEO AJ Patton said Monday.

“What we’re balancing is the need for affordability, tied to the need to make this project bankable,” Patton said.

A rendering of the plaza between the new construction at 8854 S. Commercial Ave. (at left) and the rehabbed building at 8840 S. Commercial Ave. Credit: 548 Development

The developers plan to recruit a bike repair shop to the site, and will prioritize local small businesses as they look to fill other storefronts, officials said.

Galleria 89 is slated for completion within two years, Patton said. May 1 is an “aggressive” target date for starting construction, he said, though it’s one he’s pushing the development team to meet.

The developers have not taken control of the properties, must still complete an environmental study of the site and are still pursuing bank financing and low-income housing tax credits.

“It’s going to bring a breath of fresh air to 89th and Commercial,” said Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), who said she’d like to see construction begin as soon as March 15. ” … Let’s get the shovel in the ground and get moving.”

A large mural of Chadwick Boseman and the Black Panther, seen here Oct. 9, 2020, is painted on the southern wall of 8854 S. Commercial Ave. The vacant property is under a demolition order and would be redeveloped under the city’s plan. Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago

The project is part of the Invest/South West initiative. City officials are also planning streetscape improvements along Commercial Avenue from 85th to 92nd streets and along adjacent blocks of 92nd Street through the program.

Galleria 89 is one of four projects chosen last month as Invest South/West finalists, alongside United Yards in Back of the Yards, the Legacy District in Bronzeville and Lawndale Redefined in North Lawndale.

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