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Southbridge megadevelopment preparing to rise at site of former Ickes Homes

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The multiphase Near South Side project is zoned for 972 mixed-income units

A rendering of a six-story, mixed-use building on a city corner. It has a beige facade, ground-floor retail, and residential balconies.
The first phase includes two six-story buildings with a mix of CHA, affordable, and market-rate housing.
Ickes Master Developer JV, LLC

After five years of planning, the redevelopment of the demolished Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing complex is preparing to begin construction on the Near South Side. Known as Southbridge, the sprawling project will bring hundreds of new mixed-income homes to a vacant 13-acre parcel at the intersection of Chicago’s South Loop, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Bridgeport neighborhoods.

The development’s first phase, which comprises a pair of six-story rental buildings slated for 2310 and 2344 S. State Street, landed permits this week. The duo will feature a combined 206 rental apartments with 68 units reserved for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) households, 28 offered at an affordable rate, and 112 at market-rate.

Designed by architect of record Nia Architects and design architect Antunovich Associates, phase one will include residential amenities such as a fitness center and rooftop lounge. There will also be 2,000 square feet of ground-floor community space including classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, and event spaces.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year, says Christopher Johnson, a project manager with the Community Builders—which is heading the Southbridge development with partner McCaffery Interests. The team hopes to welcome its first residents in summer 2021.

Work on the first phase will coincide with a series of infrastructure improvements such as new sewers and the reconstruction of 23rd, 24th, and Dearborn streets and a new roadway dubbed 23rd Place. The Southbridge development will rely on a variety of funding sources, including tax-increment financing (TIF), affordable tax credits, and other equity sources.

“This project is the result of a fantastic public-private partnership with the CHA, Illinois Housing Development Authority, and the city of Chicago,” explains Johnson. “It couldn’t have existed without our public partners.”

The development team is in the process of closing financing for phase one and was waiting on the recently-issued permits to finalize the process.

A wide overview of a city that includes a cluster of new building next to a highway, school, ane park. Taller buildings and a large body of water are also visible.
An aerial overview of the Southbridge site. Phase one, located just east of the Jones College Prep running track, can be seen in the center of of the image.
Ickes Master Developer JV, LLC

The upcoming second and third phases of Southbridge will extend to the blocks north and south of phase one and includes a 13- and 22-story residential building near the Cermak Green Line station. The transit-oriented development will also offer easy access to the Chicago Park District’s Park 540 and the nearby Jones College Prep track and field facility.

The entire project is zoned for a total of 972 mixed-income homes plus 65,000 square feet of retail. Roughly 45 percent of its 847 rental units will be offered at an affordable rate and 20 percent of the 125 for-sale residences will be affordable.

The Southbridge parcel sat vacant since the 1950s-era Ickes Homes were demolished between 2009 and 2010. The CHA launched a search for redevelopment partners in 2014 and selected the Community Builders the following year. The Chicago City Council approved zoning for Southbridge last fall.