Chicago’s new HED Bond funds first community projects in West Englewood and Austin


Chicago Construction News staff writer

A community farm in West Englewood and a health center in Austin are the first projects to receive funding from the City of Chicago’s new Housing and Economic Development (HED) bond.

Chosen for their significant impact on neighborhood health and well-being, each project will receive up to $5 million to cover qualifying construction expenses.

The Wood Street Farm expansion, planned by Growing Home Inc. at 1824 W. 59th St. in West Englewood, will utilize $5 million from the bond to establish a USDA-certified produce processing facility for its adjacent farming operations. The $20 million, 76,784-sq. ft. project will also include a retail store, café, teaching and commercial kitchen, and community classrooms, creating an estimated 24 full-time jobs. Additionally, it will double the capacity of Growing Home’s workforce development program to 160 participants.

The Austin Community Health Hub will use $5 million in bond proceeds for a new building dedicated to physical and behavioral health care services, as well as community health education. The $15.75 million, 22,000-sq. ft. project will feature community gathering spaces and a café with outdoor seating, generating approximately 27 full-time jobs. A ceremonial groundbreaking for the project took place earlier this week.

Approved by the City Council in April, the HED bond allocates $250 million annually over five years to support affordable housing and economic development, focusing primarily on West and South Side neighborhoods that have historically lacked public financial incentives such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The funds are equally divided between the Department of Housing and the Department of Planning and Development.

“Health and wellness projects are crucial for community resilience and growth,” said Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Ciere Boatright. “DPD is excited to initiate bond funding for projects like these that align with the missions of established community-service organizations.”

Both organizations received funding through a Community Development Grant application process that concluded in February 2024.

Additionally, eight more finalists for Community Development Grants were announced, ranging from $483,000 to $5 million for construction, rehabilitation, and preparatory expenses.

Projects receiving grants include:

  • BLK + BRWN Market, North Lawndale: $1.15 million to convert a 14,300-square-foot building into co-working and retail space.
  • Double Door Theater, Uptown: $5 million to restore the former Wilson Theater as a 15,000-square-foot music and educational venue.
  • Evelyn’s Food Love, Washington Park: $483,000 to renovate a 1,600-square-foot restaurant and add a rooftop deck and bar.
  • Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream & Treats, North Lawndale: $512,930 to create a 15,000-square-foot ice cream parlor.
  • Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Apartments, Logan Square: $620,150 to develop a 4,000-square-foot retail space for CityLit Books and Monday Coffee.
  • Uptown Food Exchange, Uptown: $1.98 million to establish an 8,680-square-foot pan-Asian food market.
  • Whadda Jerk, North Lawndale: $724,296 to build a permanent, 1,500-square-foot Caribbean restaurant.
  • XS Tennis Food Court, Washington Park: $1.28 million to add a 6,800-square-foot food and beverage facility to an existing athletic complex.

Collectively, the 10 projects are valued at more than $60 million in construction costs. Finalists were chosen from 149 submissions, evaluated based on location, neighborhood equity, readiness, community benefits, and other criteria.

Community Development Grant funds will be distributed incrementally as project phases are completed.

For more information, visit the Department of Planning and Development’s Chicago Recovery Plan website.


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