C40 Reinventing Cities Competition

Updated April 15, 2021

C40 is a global network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities — representing more than 650 million people and one-quarter of the world's economy — collaborate to share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. C40 focuses on tackling climate change by driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other climate risks, while increasing the health, well-being and economic opportunities of urban citizens.

C40’s Reinventing Cities Initiative is an unprecedented global competition intended to drive carbon neutral and resilient urban regeneration. Through this competition, C40 invites developers, entrepreneurs, architects, urban planners, designers, environmentalists, neighborhood collectives, innovators and artists to collaborate and compete for the opportunity to transform select underutilized urban spaces into new beacons of sustainability and resiliency.

The winning team from the 2019 Reinventing Cities competition is working on securing financing for their proposed development, located in East Garfield Park. City planning staff also released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for another site in The Loop as a part of the 2020 Reinventing Cities competition.

The Loop, Chicago

Plymouth Court and Van Buren Street

The site is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, immediately adjacent to Pritzker Park and across the street from the Harold Washington Library Center, the main branch of the Chicago Public Library system. The site consists of several vacant, City-owned parcels and a vacant four-level parking garage. The approximately 16,000-square-foot site is one of the best in the city in terms of access to transit, with immediate connections to almost every CTA train line, including the Red, Blue, Orange, Brown, Green, Pink and Purple lines, as well as multiple bus lines along the historic State Street retail corridor.

Nearby higher education institutions include the UIC John Marshall Law School, DePaul University, Columbia College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roosevelt University and Robert Morris University. Directly west of the site is the landmarked Fisher Building for rental housing and the landmarked Old Colony Building for student housing.

The competition is occurring in two phases: an Expression of Interest phase and then a Request for Proposal phase with selected finalists. Five teams of finalists were selected in September 2020 through the Expression of Interest phase, and four of the development teams submitted RFP responses that are currently under review by the City. They include:

Assemble Chicago

A net-zero carbon, 20-story, mixed-use structure with 207 residential units and incomes ranging from 30 percent Area Median Income (AMI) to 80 percent AMI. The plan includes a two-level podium with a food hall for small, minority-owned restaurants, nonprofit office and meeting space, a produce grocer, and a medical clinic. The approximately $102 million project also commits about $2 million to improvements for Pritzker Park.

Development Team: The Community Builders, Studio Gang (WME), DesignBridge (MBE), JAQ (MBE), dbHMS (MBE), Thornton Tomasetti, Engage Civil Engineering (MBE), Site Design Group (MBE), Applied Ecological Services, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Rush University College of Nursing, and Calibrate Coaching.

Proposal Boards

Common Good Collaborative

A net-zero carbon, 21-story mixed-use structure with 305 residential units. Twenty percent of the units would be rented at 60 to 80 percent AMI, about 128 of the units would be rented at 90 to 120 percent AMI and the remainder would be market rate. The lower-levels would include a market hall and an artisan exchange for small businesses, as well as a community center to provide housing assistance and social services. The approximately $99.9 million project also commits about $2 million to improvements for Pritzker Park.

Development Team: Lendlease, KMA Management, KMA Property Management Services (MBE certification pending), A Safe Haven Foundation (501c3), Valerio Dewalt Train Associates and, Latent Design (MBE), Site Design Group (MBE), dbHMS (MBE), Thornton Tomasetti, TERRA Engineering (WBE), Primera Civil Engineering (WBE), Lendlease Construction with BOWA Construction (MBE), and Bozzuto Management Company, and Span.

Proposal Boards


A net-zero carbon, 21-story, mixed-use structure with 224 residential units. Thirty percent of the units would be targeted to artists or people that work in the creative industry with incomes below 60 percent AMI, about 112 units for incomes at 120 percent AMI and about 44 units for incomes at 140 percent AMI. Proposed commercial on the lower levels would include a café, gallery space and a medical clinic. The $128.5 million project also commits about $1.25 million to improvements for Pritzker Park.

Development Team: DL3 Realty Advisors (minority owned), City Pads, Perkins & Will, Brook Architecture (M/WBE), dbHMS (MBE), Site Design Group (MBE), SpaceCo, Thornton Tomasetti, Engage Civil (MBE), Stearn-Joglekar (MBE), Ujamaa (MBE), Power Construction, and Daccord.

Proposal Boards

Inspiration Exchange

A net-zero carbon, 12-story, mixed-use structure with 81 studio apartments, with half of the units dedicated to permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and half of the units for singles or couples with incomes ranging from 30 percent to 60 percent AMI. Lower-level uses would include a café, a medical clinic, community meeting rooms, gallery space, social services, and a five-day per week free community dining and kitchen, restrooms and other hygiene facilities. The approximately $42 million project also commits about $100,000 to improvements for Pritzker Park.

Development Team: Turnstone Development, Inspiration Corporation, Food For Soul, , Heartland Alliance Health, MKB Architects, Mir Collective (WBE), dbHMS (MBE), Site Design Group (MBE), Thornton Tomasetti, Terra Engineering (WBE), Urban Growers Collective, Back of the Yards Coffee, Pepper Construction and BMI Construction Management (MBE) , and Lightengale Group.

Proposal Boards

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and Ald. Sophia King (4th) will co-host a virtual town hall to provide downtown residents and stakeholders with the opportunity to hear directly from the development teams on their proposals and ask questions. Additionally, a community survey is now available for residents to give their feedback on each proposal.

C40 Reinventing Cities Town Hall
5 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 3, 2021 | Register or Live Stream | Take the Survey

DPD and Ald. King also co-hosted a community meeting in March 2020 to preview the C40 competition. See links to meeting materials below.

Chicago Loop Site Community Meeting
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Presentation | C40 Video

The RFP and related documents can be found on the C40 website.

East Garfield Park, Chicago

5th Avenue and Kedzie Avenue

Team representative: Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)
Architects: Perkins+Will, NIA Architects
Environmental expert: Terra Engineering
Selected: 2019

The winning proposal, Garfield Green, is a two-phase development that includes 77 rental units, 9,000 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of public open space and a 12,000-square-foot public plaza. Thirty-two of the units would be made available at affordable rates, 31 as cooperative housing units and 14 at market rates.

Garfield Green


This site involves two sets of contiguous vacant lots located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Kedzie Avenue in the East Garfield Park area, which is located west of downtown Chicago. This community is well-served by transit and is in an area where the City is developing programs to reinvest in the neighborhood.

This historic west-side neighborhood is named for the 185-acre Garfield Park that is located just a few blocks from the subject site. It is a 130-year-old community with landmarks like the Golden Dome fieldhouse, the Garfield Park Conservatory, beautiful Greystone homes and a mosaic-clad elevated station on the CTA Green Line. Originally built to house factory workers this neighborhood grew to a peak of 70,000 people in 1950. Today, with fewer factory jobs and thousands of housing units lost over the years, the population has dropped to 20,567 and includes nearly 170 vacant, city-owned lots.

The buildings’ sustainable amenities will include modular construction materials fabricated in Little Village; all of its energy needs will be supplied by solar panels; and a majority of its green roof will grow food and mitigate stormwater. Commercial tenants are expected to include a clinic to address an increase in asthma rates related to climate change. Total costs are tentatively estimated at $22.3 million.


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