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Woodlawn Park Readies For Another 33-Unit Growth Spurt

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We haven't done much with Woodlawn Park since phase 1 broke ground in the fall of 2010. Seventy-six units, a mix of affordable and market rentals, finished up last year. That phase was dubbed Woodlawn Center South and occupies the 6200 block of Cottage Grove in a pair of buildings. To remind, since Woodlawn isn't on everyone's radar, Woodlawn Park is a multi-phased reconstruction of Grove Parc— a low-slung housing project from the 1960s covering a few blocks of Cottage Grove Ave south of the University of Chicago. Its 504 section 8 units are being replaced by 420 units, roughly one-third of which are affordable. Today's news is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a $1.7M loan for developer Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc. (POAH) to jump start another 33 units on the 6100 block of Cottage Grove. The project has federal and state money behind it as well. Using the name Woodlawn Center North, 29 of the units will be affordable. When all stages are complete in 2014, the units will be joined by 80,000 square feet of retail.

Grove Parc Plaza was built in the late 1960s as a measure to preserve affordable housing in the midst of U of C's southward expansion. The university didn't exactly swallow up Woodlawn after all, and crime came to plague the complex as it did much of the community. The repositioning of the housing units in buildings that better address the street, have an income mix, and are brighter and more pedestrian-friendly hopes to alleviate some of the ills endemic to public housing. According to architect Landon Bone Baker, the project hopes to restore "historic linkages between the University of Chicago, the neighborhood of Woodlawn, Washington Park and the CTA green line." Of course, the community's economic issues may overwhelm any such planning improvements.
·Loan Proposed for Ongoing Woodlawn Redevelopment Project [City of Chicago]
·South Side Pols Don Hard Hats, Lift Two-By_fours in Woodlawn [Curbed Chicago]