The Chicago Community Development Commission voted unanimously on Nov. 10 to allow the Chicago Department of Planning and Development to seek redevelopment proposals for a vacant lot on Ogden Avenue in North Lawndale.
The city of Chicago owns the land on Ogden Avenue, between Homan and Thumbull avenues. The city will purchase the lot at 3410 W. Ogden Ave.
The city has been trying to redelop properties in major corridors throughout the South and West Sides, as part of its Invest South/West initiative. Instead of waiting for the developer to come to the city, city officials are actively seeking out developers through the request for proposal process. The development commission lets developers know what the city's vision is while developers are welcome to submit something within the city's broader vision.
So far, most of the requests for proposals have been for South Side properties. In August 2020, the city sent out a request for proposal for the entire block between Laramie and Latrobe avenues, at 5200-5224 W. Chicago Ave., which includes the historic Laramie State Bank building.
For the North Lawndale property, the city is looking to build a mixed-use development, with a potential affordable housing component, as well as to reconfigure parts of Ogden Avenue to make the development more pedestrian-friendly. The city hopes to select a developer by the spring of 2021.
Planner Sonya Eldridge told the commission that the city will send out requests for proposals on Nov. 30, with the goal of selecting a developer within the next four to five months.
"The proposals will be ranked based on alignment with the community development goals," she said. "Community engagement will be [happening] throughout."
The property is located on a relatively quiet stretch of Ogden Ave., roughly half-way between the Pink Line's Kedzie and Central Park 'L' stations. Spanning around 40,300 square feet, it is made up of six lots at 3400-3418 W. Ogden Ave., and one lot at 1819 S. Trumbull Ave.
Brian Hacker, a coordinating planner for the development commission, explained that, while most of the property has been a vacant lot "for quite a while," the building on the privately owned lot was demolished only a few years ago. The most recent owner has died and the city was unable to locate any relatives.
Hacker said that, in order to figure out what should go on that site, the commission consulted previous planning studies for the corridor, conducted retail analysis for the corridor, held monthly Invest South/West community round tables and interviews with corridor stakeholders, and held a "visioning workshop" on Oct. 19.
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