Auburn Gresham is one of 10 priority communities selected as a part of the initial phase of Chicago's INVEST South/West commercial corridor improvement strategy.
Launched in October 2019, INVEST South/West's goal is to re-activate neighborhood cores that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, services, transportation, public spaces and quality-of life amenities for local residents. In Auburn Gresham, the priority focus is the intersection of 79th Street and Ashland Avenue and adjacent blocks.
Auburn Gresham stakeholders participated in the INVEST South/West kick-off celebration in December 2019 at Kennedy-King College. The family-friendly event was one of four held this winter to launch the initiative with in-depth activities that helped participants identify priorities, goals, and key community assets.
More than 500 attendees listened to presentations about the goals and objectives of INVEST South/West, then interfaced with dozens of public agencies about opportunities to improve the community. A summary of the event, including an overview of Auburn Gresham comments and feedback, is available at right.
In spring 2020, the City formed the Auburn Gresham Neighborhood Roundtable. Consisting of representatives from city agencies, aldermanic offices neighborhood organizations, small businesses and resident groups, the roundtable seeks to advance local goals through a broad, cross-disciplinary approach that leverages the insights, wisdom, creativity and resources of local stakeholders.
The goal of the roundtables is transparency: to ensure the neighborhood voices are heard and integrated into the priorities of public and private investments, to obtain feedback on INVEST South/West projects as they advance, and to put planners at the table with neighborhood stakeholders. The roundtable will be led and facilitated by local representation, a corridor project manager, once identified.
Questions on the roundtable can be directed to DPD@cityofchicago.org.
Winning Development Project
757 and 838 W. 79th St.
Auburn Gresham Apartments
In August 2022, construction began on Evergreen Imagine, a mixed-use project moving forward on two vacant City-owned development sites in Auburn Gresham. One site, at 838 W. 79th St., will contain 28 affordable residences and 5,200 square feet of commercial space to be occupied by West African food purveyor AYO Foods. The other site, at 757 W. 79th St., will include 30 affordable apartments and 3,300 square feet of commercial space occupied by KLEO Community Center and The Park Supper Club. During construction, anticipated to last 18 months, both sites will feature art by Chicago muralist Rahmaan Statik.
A joint venture of Imagine Group and Evergreen Real Estate Group, the $43 million project was refined through a series of community workshops to ensure the development reflected input from community stakeholders. The City is supporting the project through $18 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, $18 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) equity, a $2.5 million HOME loan and a land write-down of approximately $180,000.