INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative from Mayor Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations and corporate partners toward 10 neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides.
Through this groundbreaking collaborative by government, businesses, philanthropies, and community leaders, the City will align more than $750 million in public funding over the next three years. The initiative will seek to maximize those public investments in order to attract private capital, respond to changing commercial trends and enrich local culture.
The goal of the initiative is to re-activate neighborhood cores that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, services, transportation, public spaces and quality-of life amenities for local residents.
“The INVEST South/West initiative will bring together government, businesses, philanthropic organizations and community groups to make coordinated investments in 10 neighborhoods, giving residents more opportunities and driving inclusive, measurable growth throughout all of Chicago," says Mayor Lightfoot.
INVEST South/West will leverage $250 million in existing business development and infrastructure funding from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) through the Tax Increment Financing, Small Business Improvement Fund, and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund programs to support improvement projects that align with local priorities.
These investments will build on more than $500 million in planned infrastructure improvements that will provide transportation, housing and quality of life enhancements that bolster the vitality of the corridors and surrounding blocks. This includes area infrastructure projects already allocated, such as FastTracks improvements to the CTA Green Line, the Auburn Park Metra Station, and a new track and field facility in Gately Park in Pullman.
In Auburn Gresham, the priority corridor is 79th and Ashland, including the strip of 79th Street running from Paulina east to the planned Metra station.
In Austin, the priority corridor is Chicago Avenue, running from Kilpatrick Avenue on the east to Austin Boulevard on the west.
In Bronzeville, the priority corridor is Cottage Grove Avenue and adjacent blocks on 43rd and 47th streets.
Greater Englewood's priority corridor is 63rd and Halsted, an intersection anchored by key community assets like Kennedy-King College, the Halsted Green Line station and the Englewood Square shopping center.
In Greater Roseland, the priority corridors include South Michigan Avenue and 111th Streets.
In Humboldt Park, the City is focusing on two priority corridors: North Avenue from Kostner to Kedzie and Chicago Avenue from Pulaski to Kedzie.
In New City, the priority corridor is 47th and Ashland, running from Damen east to Loomis along 47th and from 43rd south to 49th along Ashland.
In North Lawndale, the priority corridor is Ogden Avenue, running southwest from Kedzie Avenue to Pulaski Road.
In South Chicago, the priority corridor is Commercial Avenue from 85th to 92nd streets, as well as adjacent blocks on 92nd.
In the News
- Architects invited to submit qualifications for pending INVEST South/West RFPs, Chicago Architecture Center, July 10, 2020
- More Than 30 South, West Side Businesses Awarded Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Grants, Block Club Chicago, June 30, 2020
- Lightfoot’s Invest South/West program focuses on Auburn Gresham, North Lawndale, Chicago Sun-Times, June 29, 2020
- Fifth Third Bank Announces $20 Million Investment, Block Club Chicago, Jan. 27, 2020
- City loosens rules to help small businesses, Crain's Chicago Business, Jan. 21, 2020
- City kicks off $750M investment campaign, Austin Weekly News, Jan. 20, 2020
- Chicago's new plan commissioner says hello to the South Side, Next City, Dec. 19, 2019
- Chicago is hiring seven new city planners. Here’s why that matters., Curbed Chicago, Dec. 13, 2019
- Chicago's new planning chief has fresh eyes for INVEST South/West, WBEZ, Nov. 29, 2019
- Neighborhoods on South, West sides now have easier access to tools for revitalization, Curbed Chicago, Oct. 30, 2019
- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces neighborhood investment plan, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 21, 2019
Community Engagement Events
DPD and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) hosted four kickoff celebrations across the South and West sides to launch INVEST South/West. The family-friendly events included a broad overview of the initiative, performances by local artists, and an open house with planning exercises for each community area, youth activities and food from local chefs. The schedule and related materials are listed below.
An online survey for residents and stakeholders in the 10 targeted communities closed on Feb. 12.
Englewood, Auburn Gresham and New City
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, Kennedy-King College, 740 W. 63rd St.
Presentation (.pdf) ○ Video (YouTube)
Englewood: Past Plans (.pdf) ○ Existing Conditions (.pdf) ○ Proposed Priority Corridor (.pdf)
Auburn Gresham: Past Plans (.pdf) ○ Existing Conditions (.pdf) ○ Proposed Priority Corridor (.pdf)
New City: Past Plans (.pdf) ○ Existing Conditions (.pdf) ○ Proposed Priority Corridor (.pdf)
In 2019, DPD analyzed hundreds of miles of street frontage zoned for commercial or business uses throughout the South and West sides of the city.
The department looked at data and information from a variety of sources, including business licenses, historic resources, transit service, community plans, demographics and more. Data on capital and programmatic investments came from the Department of Business Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Fleet and Facility Management, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Public Schools and World Business Chicago.
An initial analysis of three dozen possible commercial corridors was narrowed by DPD to 10 community areas by using two chief criteria: the existence of at least one well-developed community plan with a commercial component, and the existence of at least one active commercial area at a specific node or intersection.
Focusing on these 10 neighborhoods allows the City to quickly take action in under-invested neighborhoods using available resources and existing plans. After the City is able to measure the success of the initiative, the INVEST South/West initiative could be further expanded to additional neighborhoods across Chicago.
Other commercial corridors across the city will continue to be assisted by City programs, including Special Service Areas, the Small Business Improvement Fund, TIFWorks and business service organizations.