January 22, 2021

Mayor Lightfoot and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Announce Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Finalists

30 Finalists Selected for $5.6 Million in New Grants

CHICAGO, IL— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) today announced the 30 finalists selected for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. The Mayor personally notified four of the finalists in a video shared on the Mayor’s Facebook and Twitter pages (the video can be downloaded here).Thirteen of the 30 finalists are located in commercial corridors targeted by Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative. 

 "If the challenges we've experienced over the past year have shown us anything, it's that economic anchors like the small businesses proposed by our NOF finalists are vital to the long-term success of our city," said Mayor Lightfoot. "From a Roseland bookstore to a North Lawndale restaurant, these exciting new projects will greatly enhance the economic vitality of our neighborhoods and support our citywide goal of revitalizing communities on our historic South and West Sides. I want to extend my congratulations to each of our NOF finalists and wish them the best as they bring their entrepreneurial dreams into reality." 

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund finalists were selected from nearly 400 applicants that submitted grant proposals in the fall – the second of two application rounds held by the DPD in 2020. Projects were selected based on development team experience, project viability, neighborhood needs, potential economic impact, among other criteria. 

Grant amounts range from $40,000 to $250,000 but are subject to changeas projects are refined in the coming months. Recently announced program updates now provide a pathway to 100 percent funding based on ownership and hiring plans, Finalists will be provided with concierge service by DPD to help with contracting, permits, licenses, financing and other needs as each project progresses through design, construction and completion

 "The evolution of the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund under Mayor Lightfoot to include professional services, technical assistance, and local hiring bonuses will help ensure these finalists successfully meet the needs of local residents," DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. 

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund was created by DPD in 2016 to allocate zoning fees from downtown construction projects toward business projects along South, Southwest and West side commercial corridors. Program funding may be applied toward costs involving building rehabilitation, new construction, design, site acquisition and preparation, technical services and other expenses. 

The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund finalists are: 


  • Burst into Books, 11001 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • Lior’s Café, 10500 S. Halsted St. 
  • Natural Roots Kids Hair, 1851-55 E. 87th St. 
  • One Florence Boulevard, 605 E. 111th St. 
  • Rosie’s Donuts, 7 E. 111th St. 
  • JJJ Burgers, 8904 S. Commercial Ave. 

  • Bronzeville Wingz, 4547 S. State St. 
  • Cookie’s Cocktail Lounge, 1024 W. 79th St. 
  • Fletcher Laundry, 6049 S. Halsted St. 
  • Front Yard Jerk Grille, 74 E. 71st St. 
  • Hattie Marie BBQ, 825 E. 87th St. 
  • Justice of the Pies, 2025 E. 75th St. 
  • Sarah Kuenyefu Collection, 4410-4412 S. Cottage Grove Ave. 
  • Soaj, 2313 E. 71st St. 
  • Shrimp and More, 2320 E. 79th St. 

  • Granados, 1845 W. 47th St. 
  • Pantano’s Restaurant, 2523 W. 63rd St. 
  • Star Farm, 5256 S. Ashland Ave. 
  • Stockyards Dreamcatcher Café, 1824 W. 47th St. 
  • The Joint, 6902 S. Western Ave. 
  • Thrift, 2517 W. 59th St. 
  • Wolf Den, 1924 W. 47th St. 
  • Delar’s Unisex Salon, 4132 W. 26th St. 
  • Heritage Club, 5951 W. Madison St. 
  • Potluc, 5811 W. Chicago Ave. 
  • Quintana, Inc., 3050 W. Cermak Road 
  • Soul City Studios, 5851 W. Chicago Ave. 
  • Soule Chicago, 3210 W. Roosevelt Road 
  • Theatre Y, 2006 W. Pulaski Road 
  • Tasa Coffee, 4136 W. North Ave. 
Additional finalist information can be found at www.NeighborhoodOpportunityFund.com
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