Developers are eyeing a new location to build a hotel in North Lawndale after missing out on the city’s INVEST South/West plans to redevelop a long-vacant site on Ogden Avenue.
Proxima Management is eyeing four vacant lots at 3536-3556 W. Ogden Ave. for the hotel project.
Proxima’s plan was shortlisted as a finalist among the six teams competing for the city’s approval to redevelop a patch of vacant land at 3400 W. Ogden Ave. in Lawndale. But the proposal lost out to a developer planning to build mixed-income housing and an arts and tech center called Lawndale Redefined at the lots.
City planners have continued to work with Proxima Management to identify another location for the hotel along Ogden in an effort to “unleash a level of neighborhood and community investment that we simply have never seen before,” Maurice Cox, commissioner of the city’s planning and development department, said at a community meeting last week.
City officials say a hotel along that stretch has the potential to jumpstart the local economy and bring tourism jobs. Cox said existing projects — like Lawndale Redefined, the Grace Manor affordable housing project and the Ogden Commons mixed-use health center — would benefit from “the synergy of multiple development projects.”
“We got so many proposals that they were actually not only in competition, but they were complementary,” Cox said.
The original, $48.8 million proposal envisioned an 8-story, 200-room hotel with ground-floor retail space and a restaurant. The revised plan would be similar, with a reversed layout to accommodate for the different location, city officials said.
The new site is near the Farm on Ogden, the CTA Pink Line’s Central Park station and the Lawndale Christian Medical Center. Two of the lots are owned by the city, while the other two are privately owned, with one belonging to Lawndale Christian.
The hotel would bring an estimated $100 million to the local economy in development expenses as well as through consumer spending attracted by the hotel’s visitors, according to Proxima Management’s economic assessment.
“With the film studios, the hospital, the access to the Pink Line, there’s a lot of amenities in the community that are not being activated to their full potential,” said Ravi Patel, a principal at Proxima Management.
The project would create at least 30 full-time jobs with a salaries between $35,000 and $45,000, according to Proxima leaders.
Some residents said they are not sure the jobs created by the hotel will be enough for families to thrive and generate community wealth. Hotel worker and member of the United Here Local 1 union Kimmie Jordan called on the city “not to move forward unless there’s a commitment from Proxima Management to create good hospitality jobs for the community,” Jordan said.
“We deserve no less than Downtown when it comes to the quality of hospitality jobs,” Jordan said.
Ald. Michael Scott (24th) pledged the city would work with residents and with developers to “make sure everybody has a great job” and the hotel pays quality wages, he said.
“We want to make sure we’re going to do right by our community,” Scott said.
The project is in its preliminary phases while the developers work on buying the four lots, officials said.
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