City Of Chicago, 548 Enterprise, And Related Midwest Break Ground On Industrial Site And Innovation Center In North Lawndale
The $68 Million Project Will Leverage the Location’s Strengths in Freight and Logistics, Provide Community Innovation Space, and Bring Permanent Job Opportunities to the Community
CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, along with partners from 548 Enterprise and Related Midwest, broke ground today on 4300 W. Roosevelt Road in North Lawndale as part of INVEST South/West, Mayor Lightfoot’s signature economic development initiative. The $68 million project will leverage the location’s strengths in freight and logistics with four new buildings, including two 181,760 square foot, solar-powered industrial warehouses with more than 50 dock spaces and two 5,000 square foot innovation centers and a public park for community use. The innovation centers will maximize opportunities for neighborhood groups to host community meetings and events as well as workforce development programs. The project is expected to bring 250 temporary jobs and 250 permanent jobs to North Lawndale. City support for the project includes $8 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance and the sale of 21 acres of City-owned land for $1 per lot. The groundbreaking featured a solar panel demonstration, local musical talent Bianca Shaw, and breakfast pastries and coffee provided by North Lawndale establishments Bee Love Cafe and Trini’s Tasty Pastries.
"I'm thrilled to see this project get underway and deliver job opportunities and community gathering spaces to North Lawndale residents," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Through INVEST South/West, we are creating visible enhancements while providing good paying jobs to communities that have been denied resources for far too long, and this project is no different. Not only will this project revitalize the surrounding community, but it will also strengthen our city’s industrial and innovation sectors."
The neighborhood park will adjoin the innovation center buildings and is designed to support activities such as markets, food trucks and pop-up stands. The landscaping plan by Site Design Group (MBE) aims to reintroduce native biodiversity through replanting historic ground species. The 3-acre green space will offer three distinct public spaces, a circuitous fitness path, and over 300 shade trees throughout the site. In addition, the project will include a three-megawatt rooftop community solar system that will be supported by a West Side training program and power approximately 500 West Side homes.
“The project at 4300 W. Roosevelt is an industrial development that will create 250 permanent and 250 temporary jobs in North Lawndale and will rely on state-of-the-art renewable energy technology that will bring enormous economic benefits to West Side families,” said AJ Patton, CEO of 548 Enterprise. “Being able to deliver this combination of benefits to the community—particularly on a site that has been the source of so many challenges for the community in the past—is what drove me to do this work, and I’m thrilled to be a partner on this one-of-a-kind project.”
The site is located in the Roosevelt/Cicero Industrial Corridor, bounded by Roosevelt Road, and Kostner, Kildare and Fifth Avenues. Prior to its acquisition by the City, the industrial corridor was occupied by a Copenhagen snuff plant and other industrial users before being cleared in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s, the site was a source of controversy when several aldermen took bribes to allow illegal dumping of hazardous materials on the land, which created dangerous conditions for nearby residents and led to an FBI probe known as Operation Silver Shovel.
“To turn a vacant lot with such a dark history into a valuable, opportunity-generating site for North Lawndale is incredible,” said Pastor John Harrell, CEO of Black Men United. “This project is a symbol of the community’s ability to rise above the past as we inspire and empower a whole new generation through workforce development and other community services that will help local residents succeed.”
“This opportunity serves as a transformational moment because it will enable us to provide a sustainable solution for our entrepreneurial community of North Lawndale and help to launch businesses that will generate community wealth,” said Rodney D. Brown, Executive Director and CEO of New Covenant Community Development Corp. “We will use this space as a hub for the business community to collaborate with and learn from each other so those with new and creative business ideas can build on their dreams.”
To design the four new buildings, 548 Enterprise and Related Midwest collaborated with Lamar Johnson Collaborative, a full-service Chicago-based design and architecture firm committed to enhancing the quality of the human experience, for the design of the innovation centers. Chicago-based Ware Malcomb provided design services for the industrial center.
“Lamar Johnson Collaborative is thrilled to have an opportunity to work with 548 Capital and Related Midwest to design two innovation centers that anchor the Roosevelt and Kostner development and spotlight two spectacular nonprofit organizations doing amazing work and having a positive impact on North Lawndale,” said Lesley Roth AIA, Principal, Lamar Johnson Collaborative.
The general contractors on the project are Pepper Construction, a Chicago-based, family-owned, 90-year old commercial construction company, and GMA Construction Group, a Black-owned MBE with extensive experience rehabbing developments throughout Chicago.
“The construction of this project at Roosevelt and Kostner is a game changer for the North Lawndale community,” said Ald. Monique Scott (24th). “I’m proud that it balances the need for good-paying jobs in an in-demand industry with the services that our community needs to start fresh on this site and build a bright future.”
The project is expected to be completed in Fall 2024.
About INVEST South/West
INVEST South/West is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s strategy to revitalize the commercial cores of 10 underserved community areas on the South and West Sides by allocating more than $1.4 billion in public and private resources.
About 548 Enterprise
548 Enterprise is a full-service development and construction company that works exclusively with contractors within a given community to ensure a long-term return on investment. 548 Enterprise creates multi-faceted impact in the communities it invests in, delivering renewable energy technology to communities that have been historically left out of this advancement and empowering minority business owners to grow alongside their communities.
About Related Midwest
Related Midwest, the Chicago office of Related Companies, is the preeminent developer of mixed-use properties, affordable housing communities, and luxury condominium and rental homes across Chicago. The company commands a portfolio of residential, mixed-use and master-planned properties, including pioneering projects like The 78 where the company is heading a transformational development on 62 acres in the heart of downtown Chicago to create the city’s next great neighborhood. Related Midwest is also the largest developer of affordable housing in the Midwest, with more than 10,000 units, and has never converted an affordable unit to market rate.
The firm’s other market-defining projects include ultra-luxury residential tower One Bennett Park; Fulton Market’s The Row at 900 W. Randolph, the first high-rise in Chicago built by a Black-owned general contractor (BOWA Construction) and 725 W. Randolph, a one-million square foot lifestyle office building; luxury rental towers 500 N. Lake Shore Drive and OneEleven; Lathrop, an ongoing restoration and redevelopment of the historic Julia C. Lathrop Homes into a mixed-income community; 400 Lake Shore Drive, two residential towers situated where the river meets the lake in Chicago, and Roosevelt Square, an innovative 160-acre multi-phase development on Chicago’s west side.
For more than 30 years, Related Midwest has been an industry leader in community commitment and routinely sets the bar for measurable equity, diversity, and inclusion standards on all its projects. The company is deeply committed to improving neighborhoods, creating sustainable opportunities for small businesses and community residents, and building inspirational places and homes for all. Related Midwest’s business model is built on partnership with minority- and women-owned firms as well as mentorship of small minority- and women-owned businesses as they launch and grow. The firm is a founding partner in HIRE360, a first-of-its-kind community partnership designed to expand professional development and employment opportunities in the trades.
About Black Men United
Black Men United is a national community service organization that focuses on the restoration and rebuilding of Black communities across America under the leadership of Black men. Black Men United creates an alliance of men of African descent to mobilize resources and empower communities through economics, safety, and spirituality.
About New Covenant
The New Covenant Community Development Corporation (NCCDC) works to establish sustainable economic growth and opportunities in the North Lawndale community through developing, empowering, and supporting entrepreneurs and businesses.