Chicago Construction News staff writer
GRIT, a multi-partner local developer, broke ground last week on infrastructure for a massive mixed-use Bronzeville Lakefront development to be built on the historic site of the former Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in the South Side community of Bronzeville.
The development will be executed in phases and is expected to be completed in 2035.
GRIT’s team includes Farpoint Development, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, McLaurin Development Partners, Loop Capital, and Bronzeville Community Development Partnership
“We accepted the unique challenge of developing Bronzeville Lakefront with a laser focus on maximizing community engagement and creating opportunities for local businesses and contractors while honoring the rich history and traditions of Bronzeville,” said McLaurin Development Partners CEO Zeb McLaurin. “From day one, local minority- and woman-owned professional service firms have partnered with us to help execute this multi-billion-dollar program.
“Now as we enter the first phase of construction, we are proud that 100% of the sub-contractor awards have been to MWBE firms, achieved by executing a unique bid package and bonding program that allows smaller firms to participate without additional financial risk.”
A redevelopment agreement allows the sale of the 48-acre city-owned site to GRIT for $96.9M to be redeveloped with up to seven million square feet of offices, mixed-income residences, new roadways, parks, and other public amenities.
The project is expected to create up to 20,000 temporary and permanent jobs including participation by at least 30% minority- and 10% women-owned business enterprises on all construction. GRIT’s master plan includes more than 5,000 new residential units, rehabilitation of the Singer Pavilion, a new senior housing building, retail and office space, data center, and a 40,000 square foot community center.
“The Bronzeville Lakefront project will bring thousands of permanent and temporary jobs along with greatly needed affordable and market-rate housing to the near South Side,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “I’m thrilled to partner with the GRIT team on the development of this site that has sat vacant for more than a decade. Through this partnership, we will bring transformational change to the surrounding neighborhood.”
Work will also provide transportation connections to the larger regional network as well as a pattern for future development. In addition to the roadways, GRIT will construct a new two-acre park immediately north of 31st Street.
“Bronzeville Lakefront has been designed to spur economic growth in a socially equitable way,” said Scott Goodman, GRIT partner and founding principal at Farpoint Development. “It will put a sustainable ecosystem in place, attract diverse tenants, generate jobs, and become a model community of the future.
“The GRIT partnership is grateful for the commitment and cooperation of Mayor Lightfoot and the City team, Ald. King, the Bronzeville community, and especially the Michael Reese Advisory Council.”