Mayor Lightfoot Announces Woodlawn Development Contest Winner

May 10, 2023

$48.4 million, mixed-use project will revitalize 63rd Street site that has been vacant for more than 40 years

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Department of Planning and Development    312.744.9267

A 70-unit mixed-use, mixed-income residential complex was announced by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today as the winning proposal to redevelop vacant City land in the heart of Woodlawn. 

The $48.4 million “Woodlawn Social” project from developers POAH and KMW was selected over two competing proposals for development sites on the 900 and 1000 blocks of East 63rd Street.  

"I am thrilled to announce Woodlawn Social as the winning project to move forward," Mayor Lightfoot said. "The combination of affordable and market-rate housing, along with the retail and recreation spaces that this development will ultimately include, will be a boon to the Woodlawn neighborhood." 

Submitted in response to a 2022 Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Request for Qualifications (RFQ), the proposals were evaluated for community wealth-building potential, economic feasibility, professional and technical competence, and design excellence, among other factors.  

Designed by architects Koning Eizenberg and Harley Ellis Devereaux, Woodlawn Social consists of two adjacent buildings planned for the southeast corner of 63rd and Ellis Avenue: A six-story, 60-unit, affordable rental building and a four-story structure containing 10 for-sale, market-rate townhomes.  

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

The RFQ attracted more than 30 responses from developers and designers. The respondents formed individual development teams that were short-listed last year to three finalists, including Michaels/DL3 and Evergreen/Imagine. 

"POAH and KMW’s winning proposal was selected for its highly creative approach to urban placemaking and locally driven programming that creates a focal point for future growth along 63rd Street,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “The runner-up proposal by Michaels and DL3 will be part of a pipeline of future projects along 63rd that can advance as City funding becomes available.” 

Each of the finalists received $25,000 stipends from the Chicago Community Trust to engage local stakeholders and create proposed designs that were reviewed by the public during in-person and virtual meetings. Nine community evaluators participated in the final selection. 

An open house where Woodlawn stakeholders can resume discussions with the development team about the project’s impact on local planning goals will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at Harris Park fieldhouse, 6200 S. Drexel Ave. 

The rental building consists of 36 affordable one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedroom units, and eight three-bedroom units. The townhome building will consist of three- and four-bedroom homes.  

Both buildings will be masonry clad and with energy-efficient features, including solar panels and rooftop gardens. 

“This project is a victory for Woodlawn residents who are working to expand affordable housing options for local families,” Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said. “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 project will now advance through the City’s formal review and approval process. City assistance could include Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), a land write-down, and other incentives. Construction could start in mid-2024. 

More information about the RFQ is available at the project web page.