Groundbreaking Ceremony Held For First Invest South/West Project In Auburn Gresham

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the groundbreaking ceremony attended by city officials courtesy of The City of Chicago

A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the mixed-use development at 757 and 838 W 79th Street in Auburn Gresham. The two-building project is located near the intersection with S Halsted Street and its construction is a major milestone as the first Invest South/West to come to fruition. Developers Evergreen Imagine were joined by the design team of Ross Barney Architects and Nia Architects along with other city representatives, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, for the monumental moment.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the groundbreaking ceremony attended by city officials courtesy of The City of Chicago

Multiple years after the program’s announcement, the Auburn Gresham property will be the first of more than 10 projects proposed by the city to help alleviate the housing crisis and spur investment while filling empty lots. The now $48 million development received some of its initial funding earlier this year in the form of $18 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) along with $18 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and $3 million from the state with the rest of the money coming from other sources.

Rendering of 838 W 79th Street by Ross Barney & Nia Architects

Between the two buildings, the development will deliver 58 affordable units with monthly rental rates varying from $925 to $1,250 per month. The three-story building at 838 W 79th Street will hold 28 apartments made up of one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts in the two-massing design. Clad in brick and metal panels, the ground floor will contain 28 vehicle parking spaces along with a 5,200-square-foot commercial space that will be occupied by AYO Foods, a West African grocery store.

Rendering of 757 W 79th Street by Ross Barney & Nia Architects

The larger building at 757 W 79th Street will rise five stories and hold 30 apartments also made up of one-, two-, and three-bedroom options. Clad in metal panels with yellow accents around the balconies, the ground floor will contain a 3,300-square-foot commercial space occupied by KLEO Community Center and The Park Supper Club according to the city. Because the project is considered a Transit Oriented Development (TOD), there will only be 14 vehicle parking spaces at this location.

Rendering of 757 W 79th Street by Ross Barney & Nia Architects

The two buildings join an array of other developments in the area including $11 million in streetscape improvements, a new $35 million Metra station, and other efforts to re-open grocery stores and provide better access to healthy foods. Invest South/West is investing over $1.4 billion into affordable housing which will have a massive positive effect on the city, and although a completion date wasn’t given, four additional projects in Englewood, Austin, Humboldt Park, and North Lawndale are expected to break ground this year as well.

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6 Comments on "Groundbreaking Ceremony Held For First Invest South/West Project In Auburn Gresham"

  1. It’s a shame that so many south side intersections have devolved into suburban retail. Hopefully this spurs significant private development.

    • Agreed.

    • Honestly, it’s much worse than suburban retail in much of the city because it lacks the variety and it’s car centric and sprawling.

    • This project, built to the sidewalk with ground floor retail, is a ray of hope. Maybe Chicago is finally turning the corner and bringing back urban buildings back to the South and West side. It often astonishes me that Chicago is still here in spite of itself. What is currently exists on the South and West sides is the result of red-lining, real estate vultures stoking the racism of the white people who lived there to the point that they would abandon houses in the middle of the night (and then tell me that “those people” ruined the neighborhood – so sick of hearing that from the people who actually devastated the neighborhood), slumlord scum snapping up apartment buildings and milking buildings for rent and providing ZERO maintenance while paying off building inspectors, Federally subsidized car use, the false vision of suburban nirvana, a sizable chunk of the members of the police and fire departments who saw (see) black people as a group to contain rather than serve and protect, and brutalize if they didn’t stay out of places like Mt. Greenwood . . . mix all together from about 1958 to now, and what is left is the lowest real estate life form – the strip mall. It’s a miracle that there is one stone on top of another.

      • This is a very cerebral post and well articulated.

        There are parts of the south-side and Englewood in particular that look like rural Mississippi which is a tragedy. So much historic architecture has been obliterated throughout the neighborhoods. Hopefully investments continue to materialize and major south-side corridors can become vibrant, walkable destinations again. Bronzville’s slow but steady transformation is encouraging to see.

  2. Sounds like a scam to me……Are they the ones receiving $39 million from the city to build a $43 million asset? Which they’ll use to mortgage the property upon completion? Then walk away with the cash-out money, most of it from the city? $4 million from them, $39 million from Lightfoot, all of it cashed-out to themselves? Then ride things for a year or a few, either sell the property, or return it to the lender, and keep the money?

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