CHICAGO (February 17, 2023)—In collaboration with the City of Chicago, today 548 Enterprise and Related Midwest broke ground on 4300 W. Roosevelt Road in North Lawndale as part of INVEST South/West, Mayor Lori E. 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, valued at $14.2 million, for $1. The groundbreaking featured local musical talent Bianca Shaw and breakfast pastries and coffee provided by North Lawndale establishments Bee Love Cafe and Trini’s Tasty Pastries.
“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 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 3-megawatt rooftop community solar system that will be supported by a West Side training program and power approximately 500 West Side homes.
“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 its surrounding area, it will also advance innovation throughout our city.”
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 Enterprise 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 Collective.
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.
Tricia Van Horn