The City of Chicago has selected Lawndale ReDefined, a people-and-community-centered project by designers Wight & Company. As part of Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative, Lawndale ReDefined will serve as a catalyst, reigniting the previously underinvested neighborhood with space for community gathering, health and wellness, opportunities for homeownership, jobs for today and preparation for the jobs of the future – ensuring wealth accumulation for generations to come.
“It’s going to bring to people in the community to not only have jobs there but to be able to live, work, and play in that area and have something to be proud of. I think it’s going to be something that lives on in the history books of North Lawndale.” Says Cornelius Briggs, resident of the neighborhood and President and CEO at GMA Construction Group and GRE Ventures, the lead developers for the project.
Lawndale ReDefined supports the community’s requested amenities as identified by a Neighborhood Roundtable formed in Spring 2020 consisting of representatives from city agencies, aldermanic offices, neighborhood organizations, small businesses, and resident groups. The development is centered around a broad open plaza called The Square which will showcase the area to those traveling down Ogden Avenue while providing a space for community gathering.
The Square is a broad, human-scale plaza with amenities for all age groups, featuring a misting sculpture, unique lighting and seating designs, and local artwork. Lawndale ReDefined also includes 48 affordable apartments, 12 market-rate apartments, three homeownership townhouses, retail, a small-scale grocer, and two restaurants. A permanent wellness and history exhibit flows throughout The Square, spanning the development with a walking trail that celebrates Lawndale’s important history and represents its promising path to the future.
Rising from The Square is a building of modern architecture that embodies Lawndale’s future, a tech and innovation center called The Cube, an innovative place designed for community transformation: to learn jobs skills of the future, start a business, and for community meetings and entertainment – a new destination for the rest of Chicago.
To ensure continued meaningful connections and outreach with the neighborhood residents, the team has partnered with the community organizations, Black Men United, West Side Branch of the NAACP, Habilitative Systems and Westside Small Business Development Corporation along with additional organizations identified through collaboration with the Community Roundtable.
The overall design and goal of Lawndale Redefined is hyper-focused on improving the quality of life for families and residents of all ages to make city living more convenient, walkable, and fun with places to live well work, shop, dine, relax, dance under the stars, watch a movie, make a splash and to celebrate North Lawndale’s proud history while moving boldly into its next chapter.
The “design brief” used by Wight and the team was The Next Chapter, a detailed quality-of-life plan in which four years ago the neighborhood itself defined all its community-building needs. As a team, Lawndale ReDefined has roots in the North Lawndale neighborhood, from past and current developments and construction projects to living in the community. The team understands this community and will rely on its local knowledge to deliver a project that truly embodies the spirit of North Lawndale.
Our team is led by developers GRE Ventures (MBE), Imagine Development Group (MBE), and 548 Development (MBE) along with Onyx Architectural Services (MBE), site design group (MBE), Engage Civil (MBE), and dbHMS (MBE), to create a commercial corridor improvement strategy in the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood.