Mixed-use development proposed in West Englewood

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Judy Lamelza

Special to Chicago Construction News staff writer

Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood is preparing to witness the rise of an innovative, sustainable mixed-use development called The Regenerator. Located at 6206 S. Racine Avenue, this project will transform the former Woods Elementary School into a vibrant community hub.

From vacant school to community beacon

Woods Elementary School, has been closed since in 2013. Spearheaded by the Go Green team, a consortium including Gorman & Company LLC, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE), Teamwork Englewood, and E.G. Woode, The Regenerator will breathe new life into the 62nd and Racine intersection. Nia Architects, renowned for their thoughtful designs, will be leading the architectural aspects of the project.

Urbanize Chicago states that one of the highlights of The Regenerator is its commitment to sustainability. The existing façade, characterized by ribbon windows and glazed brick, will be enhanced to make the building more sustainable.

A one-story addition will be clad in fiber cement paneling, with the existing façade also incorporating this material, replacing some of the current ribbon windows. The new paneling will harmonize with the existing glazed brick through carefully selected matching colors.

This not only revamps the aesthetic but also paves the way for the building to achieve the coveted Enterprise Green Communities certification.

Furthermore, in line with its green objectives, The Regenerator will be a fully electric building, eliminating the need for gas. This bold step towards decarbonization reflects a growing trend in the commercial construction industry to embrace environmentally responsible practices.

The Regenerator is not just about sustainability; it’s about community. Upon completion, the development will feature 48 affordable apartments, community centre and a 22,000 square foot health center with at least 15 exam rooms and a dentistry area.

An existing 80-vehicle parking lot will be refurbished, and 48 bicycle parking spaces will be added. Moreover, residents will have a new garden to enjoy.

Future residents will also benefit from excellent connectivity, with access to CTA bus service Routes 9, 44, and 63, as well as the CTA Green Line at Ashland/63rd station, all within a 13-minute walk. This connectivity is vital for community development and can play a significant role in the residents’ daily lives.

Timeline and investment

With approval from the Chicago City Council and the Chicago Plan Commission, the site will be rezoned from RS-3 to B2-2. This $26.6 million development is expected to close its final financing package in early 2024, with construction set to commence shortly thereafter.

The Regenerator is expected to be a catalyst for change in West Englewood. Through sustainable construction, community amenities, and green spaces, it will provide a holistic living experience for residents and set a precedent for future developments in the commercial construction industry. By integrating residential, health, and community services within an eco-conscious design, it exemplifies how adaptive reuse can revitalize neighborhoods and foster social cohesion.

By transforming a vacant school into a multi-faceted community hub, it demonstrates the immense potential that lies in repurposing existing structures.

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