Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced two African-American-owned sit-down restaurants will be coming to 2650 N. Ogden Avenue at the future Ogden Commons development in North Lawndale. Ja’ Grill and Steak ‘n Shake will join Mt. Sinai Hospital and Cinespace Studios as the commercial building’s main tenants.
“Sit-down restaurants are one of the biggest neighborhood development requests of communities across our City, so Ogden Commons is a transformative development for North Lawndale,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We’re taking vacant land and turning it into places where families can get together and communities can come together. This will be a positive community asset that will encourage new commercial development, create jobs and create a brighter future for the neighborhood and its residents.
The project received $2.5 million in Neighborhood Opportunity Fund funding for the buildout of two ground -floor retail spaces, which are being filled by Ja’ Grill and Steak ‘n Shake. Ja’ Grill is owned by Tony Coates and specializes in Jamaican cuisine. This will be the second location for the business in Chicago—the first is in Hyde Park at Harper Court on 53rd Street. This will be Melvin Buckley’s second Steak ‘n Shake franchise in the City.—the first is in University Village.
In June 2017, the CHA awarded The Habitat Company LLC, Sinai Health System, and Cinespace Chicago Film Studios LLC the opportunity to redevelop vacant land commonly known as CHA’s Ogden Courts East and Lawndale Complex development site in tandem with adjacent developer-owned parcels, and create a new development to be known as Ogden Commons, a mixed-use, mixed-income community on the site of these two former public housing developments.
“By investing in projects like this for our residents we can build a strong future for the West Side and all of Chicago,” Alderman Jason Ervin said. “Our community is excited for the opportunities Ogden Commons will bring and the continued commercial boom along Ogden Avenue.”
The 52,000 square feet of office space in Ogden Commons will provide health resources for the community and assist a successful Cinespace incubator program for Chicago based independent film professionals. Future phases will include a pair of mixed-use buildings, in partnership with CHA, along Ogden Avenue with nearly 400 units of housing
The development is also expected to be one of the first in the City to utilize the federal Opportunity Zones program, a tax incentive authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury that the City of Chicago elected to focus on the neighborhoods most in need in the City, including North Lawndale.
Together, these projects will build upon the growth generated by Cinespace studios and transform Ogden Avenue as a gateway between Douglas Park and central Chicago.