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Virtue Chef Erick Williams Leading Plan To Bring Condos And Retail To Bronzeville’s 47th Street

The five-building project is planned for a commercial corridor where the neighborhood Walmart recently closed. Developers hope to bring Black-owned businesses there.

A rendering of the mixed-use project helmed by Chef Erick Williams soon coming to the 47th Street corridor.
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GRAND BOULEVARD — A five-building project led by one of the city’s most celebrated chefs could soon be coming to 47th Street.

Virtue chef and owner Erick Williams is behind Bronzeville Corridor LLC, a development team looking to build 30 condos and retail stores between St. Lawrence and Forestville avenues on 47th Street.

The team unveiled their plans at a community meeting hosted by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) this month.

The proposal calls for five four-story buildings, each with commercial space on the ground floors and six three-bedroom condos on the upper floors. All the condos would have balconies, and each building would have five parking spaces outside and one ADA-accessible space inside.

SGW Architecture and Design will oversee the design. The team did not share the estimated total cost of the project.

Each condo will be 1,550 square feet. The team has not yet determined prices for the condos, telling meeting attendees they’re “following the market.”

Similar condos in the area are going for $235,000.

Credit: Provided.
Chef Erick Williams is looking to build retail and housing on a vacant lot at 47th Street and Forestville.
Credit: Provided.
The Bronzeville Corridor project calls for five, four-story buildings which would be a mix of condos and retail.

Williams, a James Beard Award-winning chef, recently opened two more restaurants — Daisy’s Po’Boy Tavern and Mustard Seed Kitchen — in Hyde Park and the South Loop.

Williams serves as principal of Bronzeville Corridor LLC.

Williams said he took the private equity route after realizing what he and his team could do in terms of filling the long-neglected corridor with “vibrancy, culture and people that care and want to be part of their own community.”

The Bronzeville Corridor project is coming at a time when the area is booming. Recent developments include the Northwestern Medicine community clinic, the UChicago Health clinic and the Two Fish Crab Shack expansion, which will also bring housing to the neighborhood.

“As I’ve built a thriving restaurant, space or corridor at Hyde Park, I believe that Bronzeville is deserving of the same type of amenities and or treatments,” Williams said at the meeting. “It’s important to me that my 6-year-old son is able to walk down the street to go to the store. I had that access as a young boy growing up in Chicago neighborhoods. And many of our lots have been distressed for an extended period of time.”

The team hopes to have a restaurant with adjacent retail space on the ground floor, Williams said. Retail space in the two end buildings will be 20,573 square feet, while the three middle buildings will have 13,188 square feet for retail space, he said.

The team is looking for Black-owned clothiers and salons to complement the restaurant, along with a fresh-food market, Williams said. They are still debating whether they want to lease or sell the retail spaces, he said.

The area is a food desert once again with the recent, abrupt closure of the local Walmart this weekend.

“The goal is to create more ownership along the corridor. It makes a lighter lift when you’re thinking about developing, and it creates a deeper investment in the community when there is an increase in ownership,” Williams said.

The project will be constructed in phases, with construction starting soon, Williams said. The team will need to get permission from the city to build a wall along the street sides on South St. Lawrence and Forestville to avoid losing a parking space.

Dowell praised the development, saying it could be “a catalyst for other things to come.”

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