Community Development Commission Approves Plans For New Rental housing, Art Studio, Green Space And New Health Center

October 12, 2010

The Community Development Commission (CDC) today approved plans to create affordable rental housing, open green space, an art studio in a renovated firehouse and a new health center for the underserved.

Molly Sullivan     312.744.2976,

“We are using a variety of incentives to encourage development throughout the City,” Acting Department of Community Development Commissioner Chris Raguso said.  “These projects are great examples of how strong partnerships at the community level bring new energy to our neighborhoods and have a lasting economic impact.”

Bronzeville Associates Family Apartments Phase I

The CDC today approved a $26.8 million plan to demolish older townhome-style rental housing and replace it with new multi-story buildings in the City’s Grand Boulevard community.

The action recommends the designation of Bronzeville Associates, LP as the developer and $4.5 million in TIF assistance for Phase I of the new Bronzeville Family Apartments.

The developer will raze 60 townhomes, which are a part of the Paul G. Stewart Apartment complex and contain 90 units of rental housing, and replace them with new three-story walk-up buildings.

Phase I would include the construction of four three-story buildings and also the demolition and reconstruction of the existing community center into an expanded 6,700 square foot facility with recreation and office space.

The existing structures are being demolished due to concerns over extensive foundation settlement.  The redevelopment of the property will help to preserve project-based Section 8 housing in the community. 

Phase II will involve the reconstruction and replacement of the remaining 24 rental units.

Fire Work Community Art Studio

The CDC also approved the selection of a developer and granted the City authority to enter into a negotiated sale for the redevelopment of the former Engine Company 18 firehouse at 1123 W. Roosevelt Rd. on the City’s Near West Side.

The developers, Jason Nowak and Jessica Beauchemin, will pay $320,000 to turn the City’s oldest fire station -- built in 1873, two years after the Great Chicago Fire --  into the proposed Fire Work Community Art Studio. 

They will use $683,000 to refurbish the two-story firehouse over the next few years.  Plans include a first floor studio with kilns, glass ovens and a full commercial kitchen totaling 2,500 square feet that will focus on various forms of art training and healthy eating habits for children and teenagers; and two more studio spaces on the second floor dedicated to adult artists.  Green features will include solar panels and a green roof with a walking path.

Federal Street Park

Also recommended was the disposition of four City-owned parcels for $1 each to the Chicago Park District for the expansion of a current park in the Near South Side community.

The four parcels, located in the 2400 blocks of South Federal and Dearborn Streets, will allow the Chicago Park District to vacate the adjacent streets associated with the park and provide the community with two additional acres of public park land.

Ujima Garden

The Commission also recommended the transfer of one City-owned vacant parcel to NeighborSpace for the creation of a community garden in the Humboldt Park community.

The parcel, located at 545 N. Central Park Ave., will be used by local residents to create the Ujima Garden with a walking path and raised vegetable beds.  Plans also call for a shed, compost bin and rain barrel to be onsite.  

The City’s GreenCorps program will provide funding for installation and maintenance of the garden and is part of an initiative aimed at unifying the community and promoting healthy living.

NeighborSpace will own the land and local residents and organizations will provide the day-to-day management and upkeep. 

Access Ashland Family Health Medical Campus

The CDC also recommended approval of the sale of vacant property, located at 5117-39 S. Ashland Ave., to Access Ashland Family Health Medical Campus if no alternative proposals for developing the parcel are received.

Under a proposed plan, Access plans to construct a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art family health center to deliver health cares services to more patients in the New City community by replacing a smaller facility. 

The development represents Phase II of a plan to build a new medical campus at the corner of 52nd St. and Ashland Ave.  Phase I is currently under construction and will serve as the main medical building and Phase III will provide 20,000 square feet of research space.

Phase II, known as Access Integrated Services, will consist of a two-story building with space for a pharmacy, job training, nutrition counseling and other specialty services. 

The $3.1 million center will incorporate a number of energy-efficient features, including a green roof, sustainable buildings materials and energy-efficient mechanical equipment.

Under the proposal approved today, the land will be sold for $117,000.

Access is the area’s largest private primary health care provider to low-income residents and operates the largest network of community-based health centers in the nation with 50 locations in Chicago and the suburbs.