The Woodlawn neighborhood, on the South Side of Chicago, is one of Chicago's 77 community areas. It is bounded by Lake Michigan to the east, 60th Street to the north, Martin Luther King Drive to the west, and 67th Street to the south.
By the early 1960s, Woodlawn was a predominantly African-American neighborhood with a population of more than 80,000 people, and 63rd Street was one of the busiest streets on the South Side - famous for its jazz clubs. Despite its bustle, Woodlawn was a deteriorating community, and attempts to revive its economic health were short-lived and fractured. Its population fell by 75 percent, while crime and poverty rates soared.
In 2008, at the invitation of concerned residents, POAH acquired Grove Parc Apartments, a 504-unit Section 8 housing development between 60th and 63rd Streets that was marked for closure. POAH has replaced Grove Parc Plaza's distressed and obsolete buildings by creating new and renovated housing on South Cottage Grove Avenue (The Jackson, The Grant, The Burnham, Trianon Lofts and, most recently, Woodlawn Station) and the surrounding neighborhood.
These efforts have spurred new and substantial investments in parks, retail, recreation and educational opportunities that have made this community a destination spot. Woodlawn is one of only a few South Side communities where housing sales are rebounding, new mixed-use buildings are breaking ground and a national grocery store chain is opening a 48,000-square-foot full-service store.
The University of Chicago is also betting big on Woodawn's future with new dormitories, conference centers and even a new hotel. Before long, Woodlawn will also be home to the Barack Obama Presidential Center.
Woodlawn today is a neighborhood on the rise – where new and renovated mixed-income and market-rate housing, schools, restaurants and retail stores are filling in historic boulevards and strengthening the vibrancy of this community.