The United Yards Team, in conjunction with the 20th Ward, hosted 2 community meetings—virtually on November 30th and in-person/virtual hybrid on December 7th at Hamline Elementary School. During these meetings, the team was able to provide a comprehensive overview of the United Yards project and field questions from the community. In the section below, we have provided the following items from those meetings for your review: (1) Zoom recording from the 11/30 virtual meeting, (2) questionnaire responses from both meetings, (3) Q&A sheet that encompasses answers to all questions received at both meetings and via the “Send Feedback / Questions” button on the website, through the date referenced on the document, and (4) PDF of the presentation deck used for both meetings.
The completion of the community meetings now moves us into the public comment period. The public comment period allows for additional time for the community to review the project documents and provide questions and feedback prior to the development team being granted full approval to move forward with the project. The public comment period will close on January 8, 2023 at 11:59PM.
Please use this time to review the project plan, ask questions and provide feedback.
Use the QR Code below to complete the public comment questionnaire, where you can pose questions and leave feedback:
Welcome to United Yards!
INVEST South/West is an unprecedented community improvement initiative under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to marshal the resources of multiple City departments, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic partners toward 12 commercial corridors within 10 communities on Chicago's South and West Sides. One of these targeted neighborhoods is the Back of the Yards that lies within the City’s Priority Corridor (New City).
INVEST South/West aims is to re-activate neighborhood cores that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, services, transportation, public spaces and quality-of life amenities for local residents. In Back of the Yards, the priority focus is the intersection of 47th Street and Ashland Avenue and adjacent blocks.
The United Yards Team is comprised of Celadon Partners, a Chicago-based, experienced affordable housing developer, The Blackwood Group, a Latino-owned and -led general contractor and developer from Chicago, and Back of the Yards Works, a local minority-owned business consortium and developer leading the commercial development of the property. DesignBridge, a Latino-owned architecture firm from Chicago, is leading the design team.
The United Yards team has been enhanced by the addition of Back of the Yards Works, a Back of the Yards-based cooperative of small businesses. Back of the Yards Works was also proposed for the INVEST South/West RFP and has become an invaluable element of the redevelopment team. Back of the Yards Works brings hyperlocal flavor and expertise and is leading the development of the commercial/retail components of United Yards featuring locally-owned Latinx and woman owned small businesses, including Back of the Yards Coffee, La Selva, and many more!
We envision an immediate corridor activation, that might otherwise take decades to develop and revitalize this once-thriving corridor. United Yards plans to restore an iconic landmark gateway that will be a source of community identity and pride. Most importantly we plan to expand the Ashland Avenue linchpin that binds together the social fabric of the North, South, East and West sides of Back of the Yards with local leadership and residents managing community space, owning the small businesses, and living in the new homes.
United Yards will be developed in three components:
- United Yards IA is a residential development comprised of 51 affordable rental homes in a midrise building at Justine and 47th and two three-flat buildings at Marshfield and 47th. The Justine Building will feature a 6,000 square foot Opportunity Hub that will bring early exposure, skills development, living wage job placement, and entrepreneurship support programming to the community.
- United Yards IB is a retail and commercial development featuring over 30,000 square feet of commercial and programming space. The project will be centered in the ground floor space of the historic Goldblatts building at 47th and Ashland with a new facility to be built at Marshfield and 47th (link to rendering). The project will feature five to seven locally-owned small businesses as a part of Back of the Yards Works. The development will also feature a federally-qualified health center (FQHC) and significant community space.
- United Yards IC is a mixed development based within the “Rainbow Building” at 47th and Ashland. The historic renovation of the old building will allow for the existing store to be maintained on the ground floor with additional residential space to be included on the upper floors.
The United Yards team is working quickly through the redevelopment process with the goal of moving forward all three elements of the project by the end of 2023. Community meetings will continue to be hosted in the Back of the Yards community in coordination with the 20th Ward office and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Throughout the process our design and development team has incorporated the input of the community into the programming, design, affordability, and tenancy of the properties. We value the input of these stakeholders as it has allowed the project’s planned appearance and operations to truly reflect the needs and desires of the Back of the Yards community.