4 Developments Planned for Chicago's Garfield Park

Two historic Chicago neighborhoods are getting an influx of new development. A food incubator, a large mixed-use development, and an affordable housing initiative are coming to East Garfield Park, while West Garfield Park is set to become home to a large police and fire department academy. What will these new developments mean for the neighborhoods?

Aerial view of Garfield Park photo courtesy of Steven Vance

The Hatchery

The Hatchery is a $34 million food and beverage incubator being built in East Garfield Park. Plans for the nonprofit were announced last year. Located on a site near the Kedzie Green Line station, the city broke ground on the Hatchery in fall of last year. The incubator is expected to open late this year, according to the Hatchery website.

The nonprofit will offer 56 private kitchens and five shared kitchens that food and beverage entrepreneurs can rent and use to grow their businesses. The Hatchery will also offer workshops and educational seminars. Additionally, famed chef Rick Bayless will host a culinary training program for low-income students at the building, according to an ABC 7 report.

Affordable Housing

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced plans to develop affordable housing on two vacant lots in East Garfield Park, according to Chicago Tonight. The two lots, located at West 5th Avenue and South Kedzie Avenue, equal approximately 1.5 acres. The proposed developments are a part of an international sustainability contest being held through the Reinventing Cities initiative, which challenges cities to bring sustainable projects to underutilized sites.

The affordable housing in East Garfield Park would adhere to C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s energy efficiency standards.

"We’re looking for affordable housing, mixed-use developments on the West Side. It has to be sustainable, carbon-neutral. That’s the emphasis, while at the same time contributing to this community across from Marshall High School,” David Reifman, the Chicago commissioner of planning and development, told Chicago Tonight.

As a part of the initiative, the city is also proposing redevelopment of two buildings in the McKinley Park neighborhood.

Rebirth Garfield Park

Developers proposed a new project called Rebirth Garfield Park, which would aim to breathe new life into a section of East Garfield Park that has been dormant for years, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The three-phase project would bring apartments, retail space, a technology incubator, an art gallery, and a performance art space to the neighborhood. The project will need to secure approval from the area’s alderman and the City of Chicago to move forward. 

Rebirth Garfield Park would be located on vacant lots on the 2800 block of West Madison Street and the 2800 block of West Fifth Avenue. Wife and husband team Siri and Milton Hibbler are the developers hoping to build the new development. The Hibblers are not seasoned developers but rather locals who want to see a change in that part of the neighborhood.

"We want to bring in commerce, bring in people. We have a lot of ground to cover to re-create economic opportunities for the residents in this community,” Siri Hibbler told Crain’s.

According to Crain’s, the project would cost a total of $100 million and bring as many as 50 new businesses to the area.

Chicago Police Academy

Last summer, the City of Chicago announced plans to build a $95 million safety academy for police and fire department training at a 30.4-acre site in West Garfield Park. The site at 4301 W. Chicago Ave., already purchased by the city, will have training features like classrooms, a shooting range, and a dive-training pool.

The safety academy could spur new development in the neighborhood, but it’s not without controversy. The #NoCopAcademy campaign is urging the city to spend that $95 million on youth and community initiatives instead.

The city is still moving forward with the plans. The new development will be named the Paul R. Bauer Academy, in honor of a Chicago police officer who was shot dead while on duty, according to the Chicago Tribune. Ald. Emma Mitts (37th Ward) hopes the project could serve as an economic anchor for her ward, according to the report.

The Tribune points out the city is still short approximately $37 million in funding for the new academy.

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