$40M In Development In Pipeline for Woodlawn; Is Grocery Store Next?

By Sam Cholke | July 26, 2016

WOODLAWN — Real estate in Woodlawn is churning along with a $12.1 million new residential and commercial project breaking ground last week, another project queuing up to break ground in the fall and developers dreaming of a grocery store next.

Preservation of Affordable Housing broke ground on the 24-unit Trianon Lofts on Thursday at 801 E. 61st St., the latest in its redevelopment of the former Grove Parc apartments.

POAH has been steadily building over the former Grove Parc apartments with new buildings that mix the old Section 8 housing with more market rate and increasingly experiment with retail.

“Now that we have the Cottage Grove corridor turning around, we think it’s ripe for something bigger like a grocery store or something like that,” said Bill Eager, vice president of POAH for the Chicago area.

The Trianon Lofts, which broke ground on Thursday, is the first experiment in developing more retail space in Woodlawn, with more already in the pipeline for the fall.

The Trianon project follows a formula POAH has used to redevelop a large stretch of Cottage Grove Avenue just south of the University of Chicago. The nonprofit developer has been cobbling together city loans, state tax credits, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants with private loans to build affordable housing, a senior building

The Trianon Lofts marks a departure in six-phase redevelopment as it plans no Section 8 units, according Eager. It instead relies on a mix of 11 market-rate units and 13 units with rents capped at a certain level dictated by the average income in the area. For this project, what’s considered affordable and what the market can bear are pretty close and means 19 of the 24 two-bedroom apartments rent for between $1,350 and $1,450 per month, according to Eager.

The project also mixes in retail for the first time, with a day care on the first floor, an experiment that will be expanded with Woodlawn Station.

The $28 million Woodlawn Station project is currently under review by the City Council, which is considering a $5 million loan to support the 55 apartments and 15,600 square feet of retail space, double the space in Trianon.

“Hopefully, we can bring some more retail to that intersection,” Eager said.

Construction on Woodlawn Station is expected to start in the fall at the northeast corner of Cottage Grove Avenue and 63rd Street, according to Eager.

Eager said there will likely be three more phases of new construction and a final phase of buying and rehabbing existing buildings in the neighborhood.

Trianon Lofts, 801 E. 61st St., is the first in a series of more retail development coming to Woodlawn.