Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) today announced the selection of Chicago’s winning entry in the global “Reinventing Cities” competition sponsored by C40 – a collaboration of international cities committed to addressing climate change. Chicago’s winning proposal “Garfield Green,” led by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), aims to revitalize 1.5 acres of vacant land in East Garfield Park as sustainable, mixed-income housing and related public uses.
“From investing in electric vehicles and public transportation, to reducing electricity usage in our buildings, to updating streetlights across the city, Chicago’s communities are showcasing to the world the impact that cities can have on climate change for their residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Garfield Green will be a place to live, work and play, proving reinvention is a part of Chicago’s DNA.”
Garfield Green’s two-phase proposal for the northeast and southeast corners of Kedzie and Fifth avenues 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, pending design and financing refinements that could occur later this year.
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.
"Garfield Green's extensive mix of open space, retail and affordable housing will act as a community anchor for the West Side," said Ald. Ervin. "I'm thankful to Mayor Emanuel and the C40 team for bringing this international competition and world-class proposal to East Garfield Park, and I look forward to working with our community to bring the project to fruition."
In addition to POAH, the Garfield Green project team includes Skender Construction, Perkins+Will architects, dmHMS, and TERRA Engineering. The team intends to acquire the vacant site from the City of Chicago for $600,000, pending other forms of public assistance.
In December 2017, Mayor Emanuel announced that Chicago would join more than a dozen other cities to solicit development projects that combat climate change. Two City-owned development sites were made available: the East Garfield Park site and an industrial property at 1717-1819 W. Pershing Road in McKinley Park. The contest generated 10 responses for the Garfield Park site that were shortlisted to three in September 2018. Four teams expressed interest for McKinley Park site but neither of the two shortlisted proposals met the City’s submission requirements.
“Garfield Green’s selection was based on its public benefits, the team’s experience and its commitment to renewable energy and sustainable affordability,” said David L. Reifman, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), which coordinated the City’s participation in the contest. Proposal judging was administered by the Reinventing Cities Selection Committee, which includes staff from C40, the Chicago Department of Housing and DPD.
As proposed, Garfield Green would create 150 construction jobs, including MBE/WBE hiring goals of 31 percent/nine percent. The site is located on Chicago’s West Side near the neighborhood’s namesake park, the Garfield Park Conservatory, historic greystone homes and a CTA Green Line station.
Pending a community outreach process, the proposal requires a formal redevelopment agreement that would be subject to public hearings and City Council approval prior to moving forward. The project will also require financing and zoning entitlements prior to the completion of the land sale.
Mayor Emanuel launched Chicago’s Reinventing Cities effort at the North American Climate Summit hosted by the City of Chicago in December 2017. The Summit brought together over 50 municipal leaders from across the United States, Canada and Mexico to articulate commitments to the Paris Agreement. The Summit launched the Chicago Climate Charter, a first-of-its-kind international charter on climate change. The Charter has been signed by over 70 cities to date, representing tens of millions of people across the world and highlighting the scope and scale of city climate action.
C40 Cities connects 94 of the world’s greatest cities to take bold climate action, leading the way towards a healthier and more sustainable future. Representing 700+ million citizens and one quarter of the global economy, mayors of the C40 cities are committed to delivering on the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level, as well as to cleaning the air we breathe.
POAH is a mission-driven affordable housing nonprofit with offices in Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. POAH’S mission is to preserve and steward affordable rental housing to provide stability, hope and economic security to low-to-moderate income families. POAH owns and operates more than 11,000 affordable homes at more than 80 properties in nine states and the District of Columbia.