June 13, 2024

Mayor Brandon Johnson Announces First Neighborhood Projects to Receive New Bond Proceeds

West Englewood community farm, Austin health center among 10 finalists to receive up to $21 million in Community Development Grants

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – A West Englewood community farm and an Austin health center are the first neighborhood investment projects to be assisted with proceeds from the City of Chicago’s new Housing and Economic Development (HED) bond, Mayor Brandon Johnson announced today. 
Selected for their contributions to neighborhood health and well-being, the projects will each receive up to $5 million in bond-funded assistance for qualifying construction costs. 
“The Housing and Economic Development bond is already resonating where it is needed most - in Black and Brown neighborhoods,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “These initial allocations are just the beginning of a transformative shift in City financial support for projects that achieve local development goals.” 
Wood Street Farm Expansion, planned by Growing Home Inc. at 1824 W. 59th St. in West Englewood, will use $5 million in bond proceeds to create a USDA-certified produce processing facility for the non-profit organization’s adjacent farming operations. The $20 million, 76,784-square-foot project includes a retail store, café, teaching and commercial kitchen, and community classrooms. An estimated 24 full-time jobs will be created by the project, which will also double the capacity of Growing Home’s workforce development program to 160 people. 
Austin Community Health Hub, planned by Stone Community Development Corp. and Lurie Children’s Hospital at 5046-48 W. Chicago Ave. in Austin, will use $5 million in bond proceeds for a new building that will provide physical and behavioral health care services and community responsive health education. The $15.75 million, 22,000-square-foot project also includes gathering space for community groups and a café with outdoor seating. An estimated 27 full-time jobs will be created by the project, which celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking with Mayor Johnson earlier this week. 
The HED bond was approved by City Council in April to provide $250 million annually for five years of financial support for affordable housing and economic development initiatives, primarily in West and South Side neighborhoods that have historically lacked access to public financial incentives, especially Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Bond proceeds are equally split for Department of Housing and Department of Planning and Development projects. 
“Health and wellness projects are essential for community resilience and growth, so DPD is excited to roll out the initial bond proceeds for projects like this that leverage the experience and goals of well-established community-service organizations,” Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright said. 
Both organizations applied for funding through a Community Development Grant application period that closed in February 2024. 
Eight additional projects from the application were also announced by Mayor Johnson today as finalists to receive Community Development Grants ranging from $483,000 to $5 million. Funded by TIF, the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, and Chicago Recovery Plan bonds, the City assistance will help pay for new construction and rehabilitation costs, site preparation expenses, as well as architecture, engineering, and other soft costs.   
The selected projects and grant amounts include: 
  • BLK + BRWN Market, 3928-30 W. Roosevelt Road, North Lawndale 
    $1.15 million grant to rehabilitate an existing, 14,300-square-foot building as co-working and retail space. 
  • Double Door Theater, 1050 W. Wilson Ave., Uptown 
    $5 million to help restore the former Wilson Theater as a 15,000-square-foot music and educational venue. 
  • Evelyn’s Food Love, 5522 S. State St., Washington Park 
    $483,000 to help renovate a 1,600-square-foot restaurant space and add a rooftop deck and bar. 
  • Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream & Treats, 3935 W. Roosevelt Road, North Lawndale 
    $512,930 to rehabilitate the first floor of a vacant building as a 15,000-square-foot ice cream parlor. 
  • Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, 2614 N. Emmett St., Logan Square 
    $620,150 to build out a 4,000-square-foot retail space for CityLit Books and Monday Coffee. 
  • Uptown Food Exchange, 4833 N. Broadway, Uptown 
    $1.98 million to restore an 8,680-square-foot building as a pan-Asian food market. 
  • Whadda Jerk, 1600 S. Kedzie Ave., North Lawndale 
    $724,296 grant construct a permanent, 1,500-square-foot location for a Caribbean restaurant currently operating as a food truck. 
  • XS Tennis Food Court, 5336 S. State St., Washington Park 
    $1.28 million to construct a 6,800-square-foot addition to an existing athletic facility that will provide food and beverage services for visitors. 
The 10 Community Development Grant projects announced today are valued at more than $60 million in collective construction costs. Finalists were selected from more than 149 proposals submitted to the City earlier this year that were evaluated for location, neighborhood equity, readiness, community benefits, and other criteria.  
Community Development Grant awards are distributed incrementally as individual project phases are completed. 
More information is available at the Department of Planning and Development’s Chicago Recovery Plan website