$25 Million in Business Development Grants Announced by Mayor Johnson

January 30, 2024

Department of Planning and Development    312.744.9267

An Auburn Gresham florist, a Chatham wine bar and a South Shore jazz-themed pizzeria are among more than 30 small businesses and nonprofits selected as finalists for Community Development Grants (CDG) that will help revitalize neighborhood retail corridors, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced today. 

Ranging from approximately $37,900 to $5 million, the grants will help pay for eligible project costs and expenses that pose barriers to small business owners, especially emerging entrepreneurs and minority owners within underinvested South and West side neighborhoods.  

"These Community Development Grants reinforce our commitment to fostering vibrant, walkable neighborhoods by supporting the dreams and initiatives of passionate Chicagoans,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said.From expanding local businesses like Essential Elements to innovative projects like The Fields Studios and Firebird Community Arts, these strategic investments will anchor additional growth, contributing to the vitality of our communities."  

Finalists were selected from more than 260 proposals that were submitted during an open application period in 2023. Proposals were evaluated by an advisory committee for factors involving location, neighborhood equity, readiness, community benefits, and other criteria. 

Total project costs are estimated at nearly $110 million.  

“In addition to having immediate impacts, all these projects will serve as anchors for additional long-term investments that contribute to vibrant, walkable and healthy neighborhoods,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright said. 

Grant awards exceeding $250,000 include: 

Essential Elements, 1634-38 E. 87th St., Avalon Park 
$675,000 to help a clothing store expand into an adjacent storefront to create more sales floor area and operating space. 

The Fields Studios, 4000 W. Diversey Ave., Avondale 
$5 million loan to help with the buildout of film studio production support space. 

Firebird Community Arts, 3312-44 W. Lake St., East Garfield Park 
$2.5 million to assist with construction of a glass blowing and ceramics studio, that includes a gallery, café, rental spaces and garden. 

Haven Dental Studio, 706-08 E. 47th St., Grand Boulevard 
$1 million to help rehabilitate a commercial space as dental offices and other business tenants. 

Revolution Workshop, 3410 W. Lake St., East Garfield Park 
$2.5 million will help renovate a former warehouse as a training center for skilled trades. 

Sankofa Village Wellness Center, 4301 W. Madison St., West Garfield Park  
$1.5 million for construction of a wellness center that will provide primary and dental care, as well as recreational space to the community.  

Bronzeville Arts & Residences East, 454 E. 47th St., Grand Boulevard  
$5 million for construction of a mixed-use space, including a restaurant, performance space, and eight residential condominiums.  

Mildred Wiley Wellness Hub, 4950 W. Thomas St., Austin  
$2.5 million to support the creation of a Bethel New Life Wellness Center that provides health screenings and other services.  

The remaining 25 grants average $188,681.  

A full list of grant winners and award amounts is available on the Department of Planning and Development’s Chicago Recovery Plan website.  

CDG grants are funded by bond proceeds, Tax Increment Financing, and the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.  

Eligible costs include new construction and rehabilitation, site acquisition and preparation, mechanical systems, architecture and engineering, technical assistance, and other expenses.  

CDG awards are distributed incrementally as individual project phases are completed.  

In addition to the CDG awards, Mayor Johnson today announced more than 40 additional awardees for grants involving climate infrastructure improvements, equitable transit-oriented development and historic preservation.  


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