City Begins Work on United Yards

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe City of Chicago and New City stakeholders began construction on Tuesday on United Yards, the new $58M mixed-use project that aims to revive the heart of the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Being developed by Celadon Blackwood Limited Partnership through the Mayor’s INVEST South/West initiative, the project includes multiple new and rehabilitated commercial and residential buildings near the 47th and Ashland intersection.  

“On behalf of the residents of the 20th Ward, neighbors in Back of the Yards and New City, I am excited to see United Yards come to fruition as the project begins to fulfill a need for more affordable housing and increases employment opportunities for 20th Ward residents,” Ald. Jeanette Taylor said (20th). “This project also provides future INVEST South/West projects with a viable template for community-driven development that can be replicated across the rest of the city. Although it wasn’t always easy, I appreciate the United Yards and Back of the Yards team and the Department of Planning and Development’s efforts to adapt our Ward’s development process and include residents’ voices in the pre-development stages of this project.”    

United Yards’ $17.9M first phase includes the adaptive re-use of a former Goldblatt’s showroom at 4700 S. Ashland Ave. as a 15,000-square-foot, federally qualified health center, which will provide primary care services, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. Approximately 7,200 square feet will be used as retail space for La Selva Apparel Company, Back of the Yards Coffee, Back of the Yards Barbershop, and Aracely’s Bakery. The first phase also includes construction of a 6,500-square-foot building at 1641 W. 47th St. that will be anchored by Somos Monos Cerveceria. According to the City of Chicago, United Yards is possible with the help of the $5M in Tax Increment Financing by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD).

“The United Yards development will ultimately include over 100 units of affordable housing, as well as over 50,000 square feet of retail and community facilities and public art installations,” said Jose Duarte, principal at Blackwood Group.  “DesignBridge Architects created the visionary design in collaboration with AP Monarch, the design firm for the Back of the Yards Works program. We are very proud of our diverse team and will continue to maximize minority participation at every level.”    

The project’s $40M second phase includes a 51-unit affordable apartment building with a 7,000-square-foot technology training center for minority entrepreneurs at 1515 W. 47th St., and a pair of affordable three-flats at 4706-08 S. Marshfield Ave. All phase two residential units will be affordable for tenants earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. Initial work on both of United Yards’ first two phases is underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2024. United Yards’ third phase will include the mixed-use rehabilitation of the three-story “Rainbow” commercial building at 4701 S. Ashland Ave.

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