October 7, 2020

Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Grant Would Support New Campus for North Lawndale Employment Network


A vacant North Lawndale banking facility would be redeveloped as the new campus for the North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEM) through a $2.5 million Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant introduced to City Council today by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

The funding would support the $6.9 million rehabilitation of the two-story building at 1111 S. Homan Ave. The work would create approximately 48,400-square-feet of space for the organization to centralize its operations.

The new complex would include dedicated space for offices, training, and an apiary and production area for NLEM’s workforce development entity Sweet Beginnings LLC, a local purveyor of raw urban honey and honey-infused skin care products. The project also includes a café and Wintrust bank branch with drive-through service.

City support would also include $1.1 million in New Markets Tax Credits, which are issued by the City through a U.S. Treasury tax incentive program.

The project is expected to create up to 13 new jobs and retain 41 positions that would be consolidated on site.

NLEM is a community-based organization that provides training, coaching, and support services to the formerly incarcerated and others with significant barriers to employment.

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund uses voluntary payments from downtown construction projects to support neighborhood commercial corridors in low- to moderate-income communities on the South, Southwest, and West Sides. Projects with grant amounts exceeding $250,000 require City Council approval.


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