Site 1, which used to hose Garfield Park Farmers Market, as it looks today | Credit: Igor Studenkov/Staff Reporter

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) released a short list of architectural firms and developers to build three mixed-use buildings near the Kedzie/Lake Green Line ‘L’ station – and many of them are no strangers to the city’s efforts to bring developments to the historically neglected West Side.

The project, which is part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West initiative, groups the lots into three sites. The first site at the northeast corner of the intersection spans 3148-56 W. Lake St., the former location of the Garfield Park Community Garden. At the southwest corner, the second site includes 3201-09 W. Lake St. and 201 N. Kedzie Ave. The third site includes 112 N. Kedzie Ave. and 3201-15 W. Maypole Ave.

Last August, DPD invited developers and architects to apply for the project. The developers and architects were then supposed to form teams, and each team would present the proposals to the community in early December. DPD would then use that input to pick the final team.

The teams were supposed to give their presentations during the Nov. 16 meeting of the Garfield Park Community Council’s (GPCC) Open Space and Land Use Committee, which was held virtually over Zoom. Scheduling conflicts pushed the presentations back to Dec. 6.

With Invest South/West, the city tried to facilitate development in the parts of the South and West sides that haven’t seen much investment by offering developers a chance to submit proposals for vacant, usually city-owned land near major commercial corridors. The first round didn’t include any sites in Garfield Park.

As has been the case in the past, the development teams must develop the proposals within DPD parameters, which generally called for retail on the first floor and apartment units on the upper floors. The first site will feature an eight-story building with between 56 and 61 residential units and around 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

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The second site would have a six-story building with between 36 and 41 residential units and around 9,500 square feet of commercial space.

The third site would have a four-story building with between eight and 15 residential units facing the Maypole Avenue section of the lot and around 5,500 square feet of retail facing Kedzie Avenue.

The bid documents indicated that the city will choose three developer finalists and five to 10 architect/design firm finalists. The list shared on the GPCC website had five architect/design firm finalists.

Two out of the three developers are no strangers to Invest South/West initiative.  Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group was part of one of the finalist teams for the Laramie State Bank redevelopment proposal in Austin. KMW Communities is owned by West Humboldt Park native Bill Williams and was part of the team chosen to redevelop the West Humboldt Park property at 3601-25 W. Chicago Ave. The final development bidder, Citizens Building for a Better Community, is based in Austin, at 5424 W. Madison St.

River North-based JGMA is a design firm that’s part of the team chosen to redevelop the underused 10th Police District station parking lot in North Lawndale at 3201-3423 W. Ogden Ave. They plan to turn the lot into mixed-use development with affordable housing. The one other Chicago firm, the Humboldt Park-based Studio Dwell, submitted a joint response with Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa.

Other designer finalists include Los Angeles-based Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, Philadelphia-based SITIO Architecture + Urbanism and Mexico City-based Productora.

GPCC’s Open Space and Land Use Committee has served as a forum where residents get a chance to review proposed developments in East Garfield Park. The meetings are open to the public and Zoom meeting information is posted on the council’s website.

For the most up-to-date information on GPCC meetings, visit

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Austin Weekly News since 2015. His work has also appeared...