by Roxana Baiceanu, Multi-Housing News
Twenty years ago, if anyone would have told Woodlawn residents that their neighborhood will host a presidential library, a state-of-the-art golf course, a full-service grocery store and several modern housing communities, they would have certainly shaken their heads in disbelief. The area has been struggling economically for several decades as new retailers and investors shied away, population declined and gang violence increased. However, the situation is starting to change here as in several other South Side Chicago neighborhoods. The facilities mentioned above are part of developments already under construction or planned in the area at the initiative of the City of Chicago. Several of these projects are being conducted in close collaboration with the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a non-profit neighborhood revitalization developer.
Since 2008, POAH has been working with the City of Chicago, HUD, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), several neighborhood associations and other funding partners to create a historic resurgence in Woodlawn. Bill Eager, POAH’s vice president for the Chicago area, told Multi-Housing News that 458 new and rehabilitated units have been completed so far in the neighborhood and 246 more are under construction. Several projects are mixed-use, which means that new retail and commercial space will also be available. In addition, there are 92 units to be developed as part of projects pending approval and a 48,000-square-foot Jewel Osco grocery store expected to open next year.