Near South Side Developments, Including South Loop’s 1st Black-Owned Dispensary, Get Key Approvals

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GRAND BOULEVARD — Developments for the Near South Side got key approvals during a Planning Commission meeting Thursday, meaning they’re a step closer to reality.

The developments include the first Black-owned dispensary in the South Loop and Northwestern Medicine’s Bronzeville outpatient clinic planned for the Cottage Grove Avenue corridor.

Here’s a look at what’s in the offing:

Credit: Provided.
Black-owned Family Roots Dispensary is looking to take over a South Wabash storefront in the South Loop.

Family Roots Dispensary

The Planning Commission granted Black-owned Family Roots LLC’s request to convert an old South Loop Potbelly sandwich shop into a cannabis dispensary. The $650,000 project would create 30-50 construction jobs and 30-45 permanent positions.

CEO Matt Brewer, a native South Sider and Harvard Business grad who started the company with his mother and brother, has been met with some resistance from neighbors who worry the dispensary will increase loitering and crime. But Ald. Sophia King (4hth) told the zoning committee she doesn’t believe the dispensary will bring “additional negative impacts” to the South Loop.

The project still needs to pass the Zoning Board of Appeals, which requires the team to have one more public meeting.

Credit: Provided.
A rendering of Solar Lofts a residential development coming to the Near South Side.

Solar Lofts

Solar Lofts, 2556 S. Federal St., won approval from the Planning Commission to redevelop an old warehouse. Developer 548 Capital is looking to convert the building once owned by the Nation of Islam into a mixed-income building with 47 residential units, retails shops, 25 parking spaces and a solar-powered rooftop. Sixty-eight percent of the development is affordable and — through 548 Capital’s nonprofit, the 540 Foundation — participants from their workforce program will install the solar panels.

Black-led 548 Capital redeveloped two apartment buildings in Auburn Gresham, turning them into affordable housing. The Federal Street project has the support of Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), who commended Managing Partner A.J. Patton and his team for their “phenomenal work” in returning the dilapidated warehouse to use.

Credit: Provided.
A rendering 43 Green, a transit-oriented development under construction in Grand Boulevard.

43 Green Phase II

The Planning Commission approved a request from the developers of 43 Green to establish a residential-business planned development. Adjacent to CTA’s 43rd Street Green Line station, the much-touted, $35 million project would be one of the few transit-oriented developments on the South Side.

The second phase of the plan calls for a 10-story building with 80 residential units: 24 studios, 48 one-bedrooms and eight two-bedrooms. It would also have retail space, 13 parking spaces and 53 bike spaces.

The first part of the development‘s construction phase wrapped up in August. Members of the team celebrated with a “topping off” ceremony. BOWA Construction is leading buildout efforts, with JMF Designs CEO Jacinta Mercier-Fisher handling the interior design. Artist Roger Carter will oversee the installation of a mural.

The project has the approval of Dowell, who has praised it in the past, saying she hoped 43 Green will be a catalyst for other development in the area. Several developments are in the offing for the 43rd Street corridor, including The Forum and the Lillian Marcie African American Performing Arts Center.

Credit: Jamie Nesbitt Golden/Block Club Chicago
A rendering for Northwestern Medicine’s community clinic coming to Bronzeville.

Northwestern Medcine’s Bronzeville Clinic

The development team behind Northwestern Medicine’s Bronzeville outpatient clinic received a zoning change allowing them to build a residential and business development in a vacant lot in the 4800 block of South Cottage Grove.

Plans call for a $130 million, 100,000-square-foot facility to be built on the lot, with a full-service clinic offering primary/specialty care, behavioral health and preventative care. The ground floor would have space for retail and community programs, along with an onsite lab and pharmacy.

The project would bring up to 1,500 construction jobs and 130 permanent jobs to the area, and the development team hopes to make the facility sufficiently sustainable for LEED certification. There are also plans to build a public alley between 48th and 49th Streets.

Northwestern Medicine officials have spent the past year on a listening tour, asking for input from residents on what they would want from a neighborhood clinic. The health care provider is collaborating with community organizations, including Bright Star Church, with whom they’ve partnered on wellness initiatives.

Construction could begin in early 2023 and be completed by 2025.

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September 16, 2022 at 09:26AM

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