Austin is one of 10 priority communities selected as a part of the initial phase of Mayor Lightfoot’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 Austin, the priority corridor is Chicago Avenue, running from Kilpatrick Avenue on the east to Austin Boulevard on the west.
Austin stakeholders participated in the INVEST South/West kick-off celebration in January 2020 at the Kehrein Center for the Arts. 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 600 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 Austin comments and feedback, is available at right.
In spring 2020, the City formed the Austin 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
As a part of the ongoing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) development initiative, Mayor Lightfoot and DPD announced three winning proposals in March 2021, including a redevelopment plan for the former Laramie Bank building on the northwest corner of Chicago and Laramie.
5200-24 W. Chicago Ave.
Austin United Alliance
Planned for the former Laramie Bank building and approximately 20,000 square-feet of adjacent land, the proposed $37.5 million project will renovate the landmark structure with commercial uses that include a blues museum, bank branch, café, and business incubator. The adjacent land will be redeveloped with a mixed-income, multi-story rental building that includes a green roof, public plaza, social spaces, and outdoor art. The project is expected to generate up to 150 construction jobs and 22 full-time positions.