On the Corner: At the intersection of 63rd & Cottage Grove, developers are shaping Woodlawn’s future by curating its past

At the intersection of 63rd & Cottage Grove, developers are shaping Woodlawn’s future by curating its past.

With the Obama Presidential Center proposed for Jackson Park, the University of Chicago’s continuing development along 61st Street, and a myriad of other projects large and small, residents are asking: what will Woodlawn become? This is the third article in a series investigating the past, present, and future of the neighborhood. Read the first here, and the second here.

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Ryan Tippery
Chicago Cheat Sheet: Woodlawn resi sales breaking records…& more

Several recent home sales in Woodlawn broke the record for the priciest residential deals in the neighborhood. Three new-construction homes in the 6100 block of South Ellis Avenue traded for $708,000, $707,000 and $699,000, according to Midwest Real Estate Data. A year ago, the record was $599,000, and the neighborhood since notched six sales of $625,000 or more. Plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park and the proximity to the University of Chicago have boosted property values in the area.

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Ryan Tippery
After Redlining: Part 2

Though laws and practices like head-rights and redlining are things of the past, they were parts of a systemic structure intentionally designed to aid some and debilitate others, and their repercussions are still felt.

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Ryan Tippery
Managing a 140-year-old nonprofit like it's a startup

Sharon McFeders had been working at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago for five years under three CEOs when Dorri McWhorter became its new leader. The organization was losing money and sight of its mission, and the spirit overall was "just drab," McFeders recalls. She viewed McWhorter's entrance with a touch of skepticism. "Dorri comes in and she's happy," McFeders says. The then-executive assistant thought, "What's up her sleeve? Is she going to trick us with the happy and then drop a bomb?"

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Ryan Tippery
How a new tax workaround could give West and South sides a boost

Chicago's Englewood community isn't inviting for even the most socially conscious real estate developers. In some parts of the crime-ridden South Side neighborhood, two-thirds of residents live below the poverty line, household incomes average less than $20,000 a year and violence clouds the prospect of any substantial economic development taking root.

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Ryan Tippery
Marginalized Returns : Impact investing has been seduced by a false narrative of combining social impact with financial gains.

Impact investing appears to have been seduced by a convenient narrative. According to the prevailing view, the achievement of both social impact and market-rate financial returns is the norm—not the exception. Those who question the financial returns aspect of this assumption are portrayed as lacking business savvy. “If we want to change things and we want to make an impact, we can’t be hippy-ish about this,” pop singer and philanthropist Bono said at the Skoll World Forum in April. “Impact investing has really been an excuse for good people to do bad deals.”

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Ryan Tippery
Improvements planned for Cottage Grove station on CTA Green Line

The Cottage Grove station on the Green Line — minutes from the future home of the Obama Presidential Center — is set for a major facelift, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials announced Monday.

“We are investing in the future of the CTA, and in the future of Woodlawn,” the mayor said in a statement. “Investments like this one strengthen communities, attract private investment and drive neighborhood growth.”

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Ryan Tippery
Greenlining Realty USA (GRU) forges new key partnership in West Woodlawn

Yesterday during YWCA Metropolitan Chicago's annual meeting, CEO Dorri McWhorter announced a formal alliance with  GRU and expressed her excitement of the infinite number of possibilities that are sure to come out of this union.

During his remarks, GRU's founder, Lamell McMorris spoke candidly about his connection to the neighborhood, his investment strategy and vision for creating a vibrant and prosperous community.

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Ryan Tippery
Like Englewood, Bronzeville, Woodlawn gets new grocer: Jewel-Osco

After an increase in public investment in Woodlawn, the private sector has also begun to see major business opportunities in the neighborhood.

“The new grocery store targeted for this community, which has long suffered disinvestment, follows the arrival last fall of major grocery chains in two similar communities: Englewood, which saw the historic opening of a new Whole Foods store at 63rd and Halsted, and Bronzeville, which saw Mariano’s open at Pershing Road and King Drive.”

“Woodlawn is a community on the rise, growing for the first time in decades, and experiencing a slight drop in crime. U.S. Census data showed Woodlawn outpacing its fancy neighbor, Hyde Park, in growth between 2010 and 2015.”

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Ryan Tippery
How Chicago Recorded $12.5B Of CRE Foreign Investment And 2,600 Murders At The Same Time

Qatari Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani was “scared to death” to visit Chicago. In 2012, the sheikh, with a net worth of $2.4B, was drawn to investment opportunities in Chicago real estate, but even from his home 7,000 miles away he grimaced when watching the news on television.

Like so many others, he was deeply troubled by vivid news reports on CNN and Sky News depicting tragic shootings of children and violent gang turf wars. Despite the blaring headlines — and later condemnations from then President-elect Donald Trump, who called the city a “war zone” — Al Thani did ultimately visit the Windy City.

And what he found was altogether surprising. While gun violence has certainly ballooned, the city has become a national leader in foreign investment into commercial real estate — to the tune of nearly $12.5B in the last five years.

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Ryan Tippery