DL3 Realty and Terraco Real Estate for the Woodlawn Jewel-Osco
For-Profit Real Estate Project (2020)
6014 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
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It is relatively easy to see disinvestment in a neighborhood. Vacant lots and boarded-up buildings tell a dispiriting story. Less visible is the loss they represent—the many stores, the banks and the grocers. Without a full-service grocery for 50 years, this loss was keenly felt by the residents of Woodlawn. Even in 2011, when the Obama Administration awarded nonprofit housing developer, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), and the City of Chicago a $30.5 million grant to use the redevelopment of a distressed Section 8 housing project as a springboard to a revived mixed income community, few were confident that a new grocery store could be lured to the community. Working with the Network of Woodlawn and other non-profit developers, POAH turned that $30.5 million into $410 million of neighborhood investments, including the building and renovation of more than 1,000 mixed-income homes and apartments. By 2018, crime was down, population was up, and incomes were rising – for the first time since the 1960s.Yet, even then, despite all the new housing and available land on Cottage Grove Avenue – and many close calls, POAH and the City remained unable to secure a grocery store. Leon Walker of DL3 Realty offered to help, and help, he did. Raised near Woodlawn, with a deep understanding of the city’s South Side and a myriad of relationships, Leon partnered with well-known shopping center consultant Terraco Real Estate. After years of futile efforts by many others, within six months, Leon and his partners landed a deal. In March 2018, Jewel-Osco broke ground on a 48,000-square-foot, full-service grocery store and pharmacy at 60th and Cottage Grove, financed with New Market Tax Credits, equity investments from Northern Trust, and loans from Fifth Third Bank. The company spent the next year working with POAH at the Woodlawn Resource Center to recruit and train area residents for jobs. When the Jewel-Osco store opened in March 2019, it was celebrated not only by neighbors eager to shop locally, but by the 200 community residents who had been hired.“This grocery store is a model for what equitable, people-powered economic development can look like,” said long-time resident Jeane Clark For their tenacity, their vision, and their collaboration with the Woodlawn community. DL3 Realty and Terraco Real Estate are this year’s recipients of the award for Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project.