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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Woodlawn Social, With 60 Affordable Apartments And 10 Townhomes On 63rd Street, Gets Key City Backing

The planning department chose the $48.4 million project as the winning proposal for long-vacant 63rd Street land, and city officials will now begin a formal review process.

A rendering of Woodlawn Social, the winning proposal for vacant, city-owned land on the 900 and 1000 blocks of East 63rd Street. Developers Preservation of Affordable Housing and KMW Communities pitched the project.
Koning Eizenberg/Harley Ellis Devereaux
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WOODLAWN — City planners are backing a 70-unit, mixed-income development with space for four shops on city-owned land in Woodlawn that’s been vacant for more than four decades.

The $48.4 million Woodlawn Social project was selected Wednesday by the Department of Planning and Development as the winning proposal to redevelop land in the 900 and 1000 blocks of East 63rd Street.

Woodlawn Social will include 60 affordable apartments in a six-story building. At least 18 would be affordable to “very low-income” households under a 2020 ordinance requirement to boost Woodlawn’s affordable housing stock.

The affordable building would have 36 one-bedroom apartments, 16 two-bedrooms and eight three-bedrooms.

A neighboring four-story building would have 10 market-rate townhomes for sale. Each townhome would be three or four bedrooms, officials said.

Both buildings would have solar panels and rooftop gardens, officials said. Developers Preservation of Affordable Housing and KMW Communities are behind the project.

The project also includes a 10,000-square-foot courtyard for residents, a 9,000-square-foot public plaza, 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space for up to four businesses and a parking lot with 26 spaces.

City officials chose Woodlawn Social out of three proposals because of its “highly creative approach to urban placemaking and locally driven programming that creates a focal point for future growth along 63rd Street,” planning Commissioner Maurice Cox said in a statement.

“The combination of affordable and market-rate housing, along with the retail and recreation spaces that this development would ultimately include, would be a boon to the Woodlawn neighborhood,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement Wednesday.

City officials are starting the formal review process for the project and considering whether to provide tax-increment financing, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and other incentives. Construction could start in mid-2024, officials said.

“This project is a victory for Woodlawn residents who are working to expand affordable housing options for local families,” Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said in a statement. “Although we have much more work to do, we are excited to activate this vacant lot that has been unused for more than 40 years.”

The winning developers have existing projects in Woodlawn.

Preservation of Affordable Housing, with support from the city and the state, parlayed a $30 million grant in 2011 into $400 million worth of investment in the neighborhood, according to a study released last year.

KMW Communities is building nine market-rate, single-family homes along Greenwood Avenue north of 63rd Street, as well as 15 townhomes and six condo buildings across Woodlawn.

An open house with the Woodlawn Social team is 5:30 p.m. May 23 at the Harris Park fieldhouse, 6200 S. Drexel Ave. 

The Michaels Organization and DL3 Realty also pitched a six-story, 73-unit development with live-work lofts and space for a brewpub, restaurant or retail. That project may be built along 63rd Street in the future “as city funding becomes available,” Cox said in a statement.

That development team also has another project in the area. Michaels and DL3 broke ground on the $30.8 million Park Station Lofts project at 63rd and Maryland in November. It was the first development subject to the requirements of the Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance.

Evergreen Imagine proposed a five-story, 62-apartment building with space for a day care or small business, a public plaza and a children’s play area for residents.

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