GRAND BOULEVARD — Three Bronzeville projects are getting a boost thanks to the Chicago Recovery Grant, a program to kickstart local businesses.
Soul City Kitchens, Bronzeville Sustainable Commercial Center and the Overton Center for Excellence are among 26 recipients getting a total of $33.5 million in grants through the program.
The Overton Center for Excellence, 221 E. 49th St., will receive $5 million for work to convert the former elementary school into office space for creative entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Ghian Foreman, who bought the site in 2015, received a separate grant, known as a Equitable Transit Oriented Development, in the fall.
Foreman said the organizers are using a variety of grants and tax credits “to produce an end result that will serve as a model for community development.”
Foreman and his team, which includes Borderless Studios Founder Paola Aquirre Serrano, have been steadily working on the $14 million project, building a rainwater garden on one side of the school and art installation on the other. The site hosts programs throughout the year to engage everyone from residents to students.
Soul City Kitchens, 5021 S. Wabash Ave., will get $1.85 million to convert an old Streets and Sanitation building into a culinary incubator for South Side entrepreneurs. Urban Equities, a Black-owned firm, will renovate the existing 1,700-square-foot building and construct an 8,300-square-foot commercial kitchen.
It will be a place where culinary entrepreneurs can connect, learn and support each other while providing the neighborhood with better food options, Urban Equities CEO Lennox Jackson said during a community meeting earlier this year.
Kitchens would be leased on an as-needed basis and complement nearby initiatives like Boxville, an incubator that allows small businesses to take a trial run at brick-and-morta”stores.
The Bronzeville Sustainable Commercial Center, 4131 S. State St., is set to receive $250,000 to build commercial space for small business owners to lease. Tenants Omni Ecosystems and 13th Flow Gym were joined by Hatch 41 — a eco-friendly coworking space — in the fall.
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