Is this a $59 million building permit for the City of Chicago’s police and fire academy expansion?

public safety training center
The site plan for the new public safety training center to be built in West Garfield Park.

What is being built for $59 million at 4443 W. Chicago Ave. in West Garfield Park?

The project, for which building permits were issued for caissons in February, and more significantly, on May 10 for “shallow foundations, grade beams and above grade structure as per plans” is owned by the City of Chicago but a direct address match search doesn’t find clear correlations.

The best clue: The city acquired a former Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) property at 4331-4359 W. Chicago Ave. for $10 in 2000 adjacent to the city’s police and fire training academy site at 4301 W. Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times in November 2020, there were plans for “a $95 million project that progressives want shelved.”

“The mayor’s office insisted the decision to acquire CTA property at 4331-4359 W. Chicago Ave. for $10 has nothing to do with (Mayor Lori) Lightfoot’s stated desire to make the project bigger, better and, inevitably, more expensive,” the Sun-Times reported.

“She’s simply following through on former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to have “two African-American-owned restaurants, Peach’s and Culvers” built on “out lots” adjacent to the 30.4-acre training complex at 4301 W. Chicago,” the published report says.

“This is not an expansion of the Joint Public Safety Training Academy site nor is this any new funding towards the site, but rather standing operating procedure as the construction of the two restaurants move forward,” mayoral spokesman Pat Mullane wrote in an email to the Sun-Times.

However, the building permit’s indicated scale and composition seems unusual for a couple of restaurants, and the exact addresses don’t match.

The city’s Public Buildings Commission lists the Joint Public Safety Training Campus (Phase 2) but provides no details other than the “PBC Board approved an Undertaking Request” for the project.

The general contractor is Hunt Construction Group Inc. (AECOM) and the masonry contractor is Jesus Cortez. The architect, Geldis George, associates on LinkedIn as a project manager at AECOM.


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