Urban Equities approved for commercial development in Grand Boulevard

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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The Chicago Community Development Commission (CCDC) has approved the sale and redevelopment of 5021 S. Wabash in Grand Boulevard for a proposal to expand the small streets and sanitation facility into a new culinary center.

Urban Equities won the RFP earlier this year and has teamed up with SmithGroup architecture firm on the restoration of the dilapidated building and 7,000 sq. ft.  parking lot.

The single-story building constructed in the 1910s was valued at $90,000 and sold by the city for $1.

Soul City Kitchens, an 8,000 square foot hub for food entrepreneurs will be built near the 51st Street commercial area, including:

  • Shared commercial cooking facilities
  • Test kitchen
  • Individual cooking cubicles
  • Large storage areas with commercial coolers and freezers
  • New communal dining room within the restored brick building

All spaces will have an emphasis on daylight along with added ADA accessibility so all will have access to the new space.

“Chicago remains a global leader in the food innovation space thanks to the talented entrepreneurs who call our city home,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “This new hub will allow us to deepen this reputation while giving food entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds an incredible opportunity to grow their businesses right in their own neighborhood.

“I am excited to see this project come to life and support residents as they chase after their career goals.”

Once city council officially approves the land sale, zoning, and design a ground-breaking will be held and the construction timeline will be set.

“Soul City Kitchens will offer affordable and equitable solutions to chefs of all kinds by minimizing barriers to entry, helping them to focus on their food creations, and enabling them to continuously recalibrate in our so-called ‘new’ normal,” said Urban Equities CEO Lennox Jackson. “As an incubation hub, we envision new jobs being created and chefs strengthening their ability to build wealth.”

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