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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, Bronzeville community leaders and project developers today opened Shops and Lofts at 47, a $46 million mixed-use development that will anchor the Cottage Grove Corridor in Bronzeville. The complex, located at the corner of 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue encompasses 55,000 square feet of ground floor retail, anchored by the south side’s new Walmart Neighborhood Market and 96 mixed-income rental apartments above the store and in four adjacent buildings.
“Creating and sustaining great neighborhoods only happens when you have strong leadership and a community willing to work together for a better future,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The Bronzeville revitalization is well underway, and it is projects like this Shops and Lofts that showcase how, when the public sector, private partners and residents work together, we can drive economic growth and create jobs in neighborhoods across the City of Chicago.”
Shops and Lofts at 47 is the latest major project to open in Bronzeville as part of Chicago Neighborhoods Now, an initiative launched by Mayor Emanuel to coordinate new economic development, housing, and quality of life improvements across seven opportunity-rich sections of Chicago. In the last year and a half, greater Bronzeville has experienced $1.52 billion in planned and completed public and private investments that also include the Bronzeville Artists Lofts which opened in June 2014 and a new Mariano’s grocery store which will open in 2015.
“For much of the 20th Century, 47th and Cottage Grove was the epicenter of a thriving African-American commercial district, serving communities to the north, south, east and west. We are delighted to once again see it reemerge in its historic role,” said 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns.
The development of Shops and Lofts at 47 created 150 construction jobs and will support more than 100 full-time retail jobs. The project was financed with $13 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance for site preparation costs, a $550,000 HOME loan, a $7.8 million loan from the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), over $600,000 in tax credit equity generated by donated land, $8.4 million in low-income housing tax equity, and up to $20 million in tax-exempt bonds. The retail component also includes $3.3 million in New Markets Tax Credits equity for the developer, beyond anchor tenant, Walmart.
“Chicago has been more than a wonderful new market for Walmart – it’s been a great new partner,” said Kaitlin Wolfe, Walmart’s Regional General Manager of small format stores for the Northeast Region. “We provide the fresh food, variety of goods and jobs that people want and in turn, residents and the City have provided us with great support and patronage. We are proud to be a part of Shops and Lofts.”
The partnership team was led by Mahogany Ventures, a joint-venture of the Skilken Company and TROY Development. Mahogany partnered with The Community Builders (TCB), one of the nation’s preeminent non-profit housing development entities, to develop and manage the 72 apartments above the retail space and another 24 units in three newly constructed adjacent buildings.
“Having partners like The Community Builders, Inc., visionaries like Quad Communities and the tremendous cooperation of the City’s elected leadership has made this a wonderful experience. Bronzeville has gained a new, beautiful residential retail anchor. And we have gained lifelong friendships,” said Frank Petruziello, President of Skilken.
“We’ve worked for more than a decade in Bronzeville -- with its great housing stock, schools, parks and boulevards. What was missing was a commercial center,” said Bart Mitchell, President of The Community Builders, Inc. “Thanks to this development, there is now fresh food, a variety of retail service and new employment opportunities – the foundation of a strong community.”
The idea for creating a mixed-use commercial and residential development to anchor and accelerate revitalization of Bronzeville emerged nearly a decade ago as part of a neighborhood renaissance plan created by then-alderman Toni Preckwinkle and the Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC).
“What you see here today is realization of a dream made possible through hard work and tenacity. Not only that of QCDC, but the work of our partners Mahogany Ventures and The Community Builders,” said Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director of QCDC. “Together we fought for seven years to find financiers and retail stores that believed in our vision for Bronzeville’s future,” said Johnson-Gabriel.
Announced in March 2013, Chicago Neighborhoods Now is coordinating new economic development, housing, and quality of life improvements across seven opportunity-rich sections of Chicago – Bronzeville, Pullman, Englewood, Uptown, Eisenhower Corridor, Rogers Park/Loyola University and Little Village. Chicago Neighborhoods Now was projected to coordinate $330 million in City funding and $2.6 billion in State, Federal and private funding. Based on projections announced in the past 12 months, the City has not only met, but exceeded those goals.