Celadon Blackwood breaks ground on $58-million Back of the Yards development

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Construction started last week on United Yards, a $58-million mixed-use project that will revitalize the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Being developed by Celadon Blackwood Limited Partnership through the INVEST South/West initiative, work includes multiple new and rehabilitated commercial and residential buildings near the 47th and Ashland intersection.

“This groundbreaking marks yet another milestone in our INVEST South/West journey to revitalize our underserved neighborhoods,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “The economic activity, job opportunities, health care, and housing options that United Yards is bringing to New City will catalyze future investment in the surrounding community.”

United Yards’ $17.9 million first phase, designed by DesignBridge Architects, includes adapting a former Goldblatt’s showroom at 4700 S. Ashland Ave. as a 15,000-sq. ft., federally qualified health center, which will provide primary care services, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Approximately 7,200 sq. ft. will be used as retail space for La Selva Apparel Company, Back of the Yards Coffee, Back of the Yards Barbershop, and Aracely’s Bakery.

The first phase also includes construction of a 6,500-sq. ft. building at 1641 W. 47th St. that will be anchored by Somos Monos Cerveceria.

Phase two, at a cost of $40 million, will include a 51-unit affordable apartment building with a 7,000-sq. ft. technology training center for minority entrepreneurs at 1515 W. 47th St., and a pair of affordable three-flats at 4706-08 S. Marshfield Ave. All phase two residential units will be affordable for tenants earning up to 60% of the area median income.

Initial work on the first two phases is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

United Yards’ third phase will include the mixed-use rehabilitation of the three-story “Rainbow” commercial building at 4701 S. Ashland Ave.

United Yards was announced in August 2021 as the winning response to a DPD Request for Proposals. It is among the largest community-led, mixed-use projects moving forward through the INVEST South/West initiative.

“The United Yards development will ultimately include over 100 units of affordable housing, as well as over 50,000 sq. ft. of retail and community facilities and public art installations,” said Jose Duarte, principal at Blackwood Group.  “DesignBridge Architects created the visionary design in collaboration with AP Monarch, the design firm for the Back of the Yards Works program. We are very proud of our diverse team and will continue to maximize minority participation at every level.”

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