South Chicago community going green

The Community Development Commission on Tuesday approved the participation of five developers in a massive green redevelopment project in the South Chicago neighborhood. The project is among the first in the nation to be certified as a pilot community by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Program.

On January 11, 2005, the city requested proposals from developers for 64 vacant parcels in the 10th Ward. The request called for single- and multi-family homes to be built using green techniques.

A dozen developers responded to the proposal, and five met the city’s basic requirements. Yesterday the city approved all five: Courtyard Flats, LLC (a.k.a. UrbanWorks /DENCO); Chicago Lakefront, LLC; Granite Asset Management; Aspen SGC, LLC; and the Claretian Associates.

On May 30, portions of the South Chicago community area were selected by the U.S. Green Building Council as one of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) pilot communities, according to Marilyn Engwall, 10th Ward project manager for the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.

The South Chicago Neighborhood LEED Initiative will require each building to receive at least a Silver LEED rating from the USGBC, the third highest rating given, as well as develop a portion of the units as affordable housing.

The vacant lots, all of which are located inside the South Chicago TIF Redevelopment Project area, are scattered throughout the 8300 to 8600 blocks of Buffalo, Burley and Baker avenues, the 8800 block of Buffalo Avenue and on 88th Street. The lots were acquired by the city throughout the years through demolitions, foreclosures and the South Suburban Tax Reactivation Project, said Engwall.

The South Chicago community area is bound by 79th Street on the north, I-90 on the west, 95th Street and the Calumet River on the south, and Lake Michigan on the east.

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