New development projects in South Side neighborhoods, including the Englewood Whole Foods, seek to revitalize and re-energize areas often off the radar of retail and residential developers, and a new innovation hub and commercial kitchen project aims to accelerate this trend. As reported by DNAinfo, the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation wants to transform a pair of furniture stores near the U.S. Bank Building at 63rd and Halsted streets into business catalysts by tapping into up to $2.5M in TIF funds.
The project is about building infrastructure, according to Glen Fulton, executive director of the Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation. A 3,000-square-foot-plus commercial kitchen, with a complimentary classroom and office space, would attract and assist entrepreneurs and young chefs and potentially serve as a staging ground for local vendors selected to sell inside the new Whole Foods. The grocery giant, along with the Chicago City Colleges, Chicago Culinary Institute and and Chicagoland Commercial Kitchens, may donate up to $1.25 million in equipment for the space.
A neighborhood cafe, as well as a 6,200-square-foot entrepreneurship and tech incubator, built in partnership with BLUE 1647, a job training nonprofit, would complete the development. To get started, Fulton needs approval from U.S. Bank, which currently owns the properties. The kitchen isn't expected to open until 2016.
·Business Innovation Center, Cafe Could 'Rebrand' Englewood [DNAinfo]
·Previous Englewood coverage [Chicago Curbed]