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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Food Hall And Event Venue Proposed For Bronzeville’s The Grove Development

The Grove Bronzeville would serve as an incubator for budding Black women food entrepreneurs and also host a coding academy.

A rendering of The Grove Bronzeville, a dining hall/entertainment venue planned for the Cottage Grove corridor.
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GRAND BOULEVARD — A Time-Out-style food hall and marketplace could soon be coming to Bronzeville.

Milhouse Development wants to build a three-story, 86,000-square-foot venue at 4731-59 S. Cottage Grove Ave., dubbed The Grove Bronzeville. In addition to a food hall and marketplace, The Grove Bronzeville would offer entertainment, developers said at a recent 4th Ward community meeting.

“Our vision is simply adding to the corridor and really being a place of destination to come to,” said Milhouse CEO Melanie Milhouse. “If we can get an influx of dollars from others — and they don’t have to necessarily move here — but they can come and enjoy it with us.”

The team envisions a first-floor food hall that would largely consist of Black female entrepreneurs heading their respective stalls, allowing them to grow their businesses. Another big draw developers are banking on is a metaverse restaurant that would transport diners to any virtual destination in the world, created by coders trained at a coding academy they’ll create in conjunction with House of Attention.

Credit: Provided.
More renderings of The Grove Bronzeville, a food hall, marketplace and entertainment venue planned for Bronzeville.

“Food entrepreneurs and coders will have the opportunity to use the 15,000-square-foot restaurant to try their restaurant in a larger format and a shorter period of time. If it’s a Tuscan restaurant, they’ll be able to eat Tuscan food and drink Tuscan wine while virtually sitting in the hills of Tuscany,” said Rachel Vass, Synzygy Cities founder and CEO, who is a co-developer on the project.

Vass said the restaurant would double as an event space, hosting DJ sets and educational programs.

The team didn’t disclose the expected cost of the project, but they told residents they’re pursuing funding from a number of sources, including New Market Tax Credits. Though the project is in a tax-increment financing (TIF) district, they’re looking for private investors, as well.

Milhouse said they hope to go before the city’s Plan Commission by November or December, which is also when they’re looking to close on the property.

In addition to House of Attention, the developers have lined up other partners: Five Iron Golf, L3 Agency and Majani Vegan, which is looking to expand beyond its South Shore location.

Once approved by the city, the project could be completed in a year to 18 months, developers said.

The proposed venue comes as the Cottage Grove Avenue corridor in Bronzeville has seen a flurry of commercial and residential development in recent years. Northwestern Medicine is in the process of building an outpatient clinic a block away from The Grove Bronzeville.

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