The Evergreen Imagine Development Team bringing equitable development to Auburn Gresham

Photo courtesy of Lightfoot for Chicago




When I ran for mayor, I promised to bring real equity to the way the City invests in communities. This week, we took a giant step forward in fulfilling that promise. Through our signature $750 million INVEST South/West program, we announced the three sites we’ll be focusing major investment in next, located in Austin, on the West Side, and the Auburn Gresham and Englewood neighborhoods on the South Side.

The projects, which are valued at more than $65 million, include a mixed-use residential complex anchored by a blues museum and cafe, a 56-unit affordable rental building with tenant gardens, and a sustainable food and culinary campus–and much more.

What is historic about these projects is not just that we are making good on our commitments to historically disinvested neighborhoods. There are also two other important aspects of these projects which revolve around my commitment to wealth building in all communities. First, we required that the developers come forward with diverse teams. I am happy to report that each of these teams is led by a person of color, and all of the teams are incredibly diverse.

Second, for the first time ever, we also required the teams to demonstrate what they would do to spread wealth in each of these communities–not just in construction but also after the developments are complete.

You can read all about these new developments here.

Even during the pandemic, we were able to make $70 million in investments across the INVEST South/West neighborhoods–and, remarkably, we wrangled some $300 million in private investment. And more is on the way.

For too long, government and the private sector have disinvested from our Black and Brown communities–especially on the South and West Sides. Through INVEST South/West, we’re working to flip that dynamic on its head, driving attention and investment to the communities that need it most–and planting seeds for even more progress in the future.

The next round of these investments is already in the works–our Department of Planning and Development is accepting proposals through March 30 for development projects in Bronzeville, New City-Back of the Yards, North Lawndale and South Chicago. I can’t wait to see what incredible ideas our residents come up with next.

Thanks for joining us in our commitment to real equity. There’s much more to do, but I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve already achieved.


Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

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