Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces 3 INVEST South/West winning proposals

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday three winning proposals for Chicago's INVEST South/West program.

The projects are valued at more than $65 million and include a mixed-use residential complex with a blues museum and cafe, a 56-unit affordable rental building with tenant gardens, and a sustainable food and culinary campus.

"Initiatives such as INVEST South/West are critical in advancing our goal to enhance the socioeconomic vibrancy of our historic South and West Sides," Mayor Lightfoot said. "Each of these winning proposals will contribute to this goal by giving residents access to new and exciting cultural, affordable housing, employment resources. I look forward to seeing these projects come to life and supporting other INVEST South/West projects just like them in the near future."

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday three winning proposals for Chicago's INVEST South/West program.

The winning groups are the:

-Austin United Alliance, which will turn former the Laramie Building into a blues museum and café and a business incubator, with adjacent land into a mixed income rental development.

-Evergreen Imagine JV LLC, which will turn vacant land at 79th and Halsted streets into 56 units of affordable housing with private garden lots, a playground for residents, private amenities, and public open spaces.

-Englewood Connect, which will turn the landmark Green Street fire station into a commercial kitchen and establish a business incubator to train start-up businesses, create a community "living room" for local events. Vacant land will also be repurposed for hoop houses to make year-round farming.

"We cannot be a great global city when our neighborhoods are starving," Lightfoot said at her event announcing the projects. "We cannot."

The city said feedback from the community was taken into consideration when selecting the winners.

Westside Health Authority submitted a proposal for the Austin site but wasn't chosen, and said the process was not fair.

"It lacked completion," said Morris Reed, Westside Health Authority. "You don't ask for community input and then you ignore it and discard it."

The development proposals must get City Council approval. Groundbreakings could happen by the end of the year.
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