Chicago real estate developers lost a champion in Rahm Emanuel when he left City Hall last month. But the future for those who specialize in underserved neighborhoods is still looking up.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is prioritizing equity in Chicago neighborhoods that have suffered crippling disinvestment, more advocates for affordable housing are now serving in the City Council and new tax incentive tools are surfacing to help bring stagnant residential and commercial projects on the South and West sides to life. Throw in a series of developments recently completed or in the works in Woodlawn, Englewood and Garfield Park and a newly passed state capital bill that could revamp public transportation access for struggling communities, and nonprofit and mission-driven developers are starting to feel bullish about Chicago changing its "tale of two cities" reputation.
"We've got some nice policy and emphasis on the city side and resource delivery on the state side," says Bill Eager, vice president of the Chicago area for Preservation of Affordable Housing, a Boston-based nonprofit developer. "I think there's a real opportunity here."
Photo by Stephen Serio