“Community leaders and local officials gathered Tuesday for the ceremonial groundbreaking at a multimillion-dollar project promising to transform a long-vacant landmark into a culinary hub.
“Englewood Connect, a $14 million eco-friendly food hub and year-round community ‘living room,’ will replace the vacant, 93-year-old Engine Co. 84 firehouse at 6204 S. Green St. The 9,000-square-foot development will serve as a business incubator and culinary center where neighbors, local businesses and entrepreneurs can grow and operate.
“The culinary hub was the winning proposal for the site in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West initiative, created to bring developments to West and South side neighborhoods. McLaurin Development Partners, a real estate development team, is leading the project.
“Phase one of Englewood Connect will include restoration of the firehouse and construction of the Living Room, a gathering space. The city provided $6 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance and sold the firehouse and 2 acres of city-owned land for $1 to bring the hub to fruition.
“Englewood Connect was also one of six development projects selected to receive grant funding from the Chicago Community Trust’s We Rise Together: For An Equitable and Just Recovery initiative.
“The city is ‘doing the work,’ Lightfoot said in an interview with Block Club.
“From the announcement in 2019 to hosting community meetings, selecting proposals, and ‘in a year starting groundbreaking,’ the city is moving at ‘record pace,’ Lightfoot said.
“‘Vertical construction takes sometimes years once the shovels start in the ground,’ Lightfoot said. ‘Anybody that actually knows construction and development knows that this is a very fast pace. In many instances, these would have been years and years in the making, but we know that people need to see progress, and that’s precisely what we’re doing.’ (Reed, Block Club Chicago, 9/28/22)