A rendering of Solar Lofts a residential development coming to the Near South Side. Credit: Provided.

BRONZEVILLE — Wednesday was a big day for the south lakefront in City Council, with a slew of new developments approved in the South Loop and Bronzeville.

Northwestern Medicine’s Bronzeville Clinic, a data center, affordable lofts and a controversial South Loop dispensary were all approved by alderpeople.

Northwestern Medicine will be allowed to build a $130 million, 120,000-square-foot facility on a vacant lot at 4800 S. Cottage Grove Ave. The clinic aims to alleviate the strain on Bronzeville residents forced to travel outside the neighborhood for health care.

The facility is estimated to bring 1,500 construction jobs and 130 permanent jobs to the area, and would be LEED certified. The developer also plans to build a public alley between 48th and 49th Streets.

Work could begin in early 2023 and be completed by 2025.

Renderings of Digital Cermak West, a data center planned for the Cermak Avenue corridor. Credit: Provided.

Meanwhile, Digital Realty will be able to expand its campus at 321-337 E. 21st Street with a 565,069-square-foot, 13-story building housing seven data center suites between the third and ninth floors.

Plans call for a bridge that would connect the new building with the existing one, and the construction of a chiller plant to keep the building cool along with additional cooling towers on the roof. 

The data company will cover the project’s $500 million price tag. The center would create 60-120 temporary construction jobs in the first and second phases, developers told residents at a community meeting in June.

The data center will employ 30 full-time employees and union engineers and have a daily maximum occupancy of 30-50 people. Parking would be available on the McCormick Place campus, developers said.

A rendering of Solar Lofts a residential development coming to the Near South Side. Credit: Provided.

In other City Council business, an old warehouse once owned by the Nation of Islam will be converted into Solar Lofts, a mixed-income building with 47 residential units, shopping, 25 parking spaces and a solar-powered rooftop.

Developer 548 Capital — the Black-led team behind two redeveloped apartment buildings in Auburn Gresham — said the building will make 68 percent of its units affordable, and plans to have participants from its nonprofit workforce program install the solar panels.

The project has the support of Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).

Black-owned Family Roots Dispensary is looking to take over a South Wabash storefront in the South Loop. Credit: Provided.

Also, a former Potbelly sandwich shop at 1146 S. Wabash Ave., will be converted into a Black-owned cannabis dispensary. Family Roots, LLC CEO Matt Brewer told attendees at a recent plan commission meeting that the $650,000 project would create 30-50 construction jobs and 30-45 permanent positions.

While nearby residents expressed concern about loitering and crime near the dispensary, Ald. Sophia King (4th) told the zoning committee that she doesn’t believe the it will cause problems in the neighborhood.

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