Chicago Neighborhoods

Turning the Tide in a Historic Chicago Neighborhood

Once experiencing a 22% unemployment rate, Bronzeville redevelopment becomes catalyst for economic growth.

The area has intrinsic advantages: good transit hubs and proximity to downtown and the lakefront. In the 1950s, however, economic decline led to failed public housing projects and blight. In 2014, the community had an unemployment rate of 22%, and one in two residents had income that fell below the poverty line.

When the city of Chicago designated Bronzeville for a concerted redevelopment effort in 2003, the goal was to revitalize the area while preserving affordable housing and attracting a broader mix of residents and improving services. Bronzeville encompasses a number of Chicago neighborhoods – Grand Boulevard, Oakland and the Near South Side – along the Cottage Grove Corridor, a commercial district that once was considered the epicenter of Chicago’s African-American community.

Block by block, that transformation took place.

Public housing projects were torn down, including the Stateway Gardens and Robert Taylor Homes high-rises, the largest, poorest concentration of public housing in the United States. In their place, a new mix of housing and commercial development has begun to emerge. JPMorgan Chase has been a key source of capital and expertise throughout the process, providing more than $240 million in the community since 2003.

One example of this support is the Oakwood Shores development project, where – during more than a decade of committed efforts and close collaboration with a range of community stakeholders – JPMorgan Chase provided $100 million in loans and equity investment. Prior to Oakwood Shores’ construction, virtually no investment had gone into the neighborhood for more than 50 years. Today, Oakwood Shores is a mixed-income community with market rate and affordable housing that is surrounded by parkways and is close to neighborhood community and healthcare centers.

"Revitalizing a community is not a lonely endeavor. The vision comes from the people who call the community home, but the public and private sectors must work together to identify and marshal the necessary resources – certainly much-needed capital from financial institutions but also expertise and relationships. The combination brings immeasurable value to community development.” Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director, Quad Communities Development Corporation


2014 marked another pivotal phase in Bronzeville’s revitalization journey – the opening of Shops and Lofts at 47, a mixed-use commercial and mixed-income residential development. Located on 47th Street – which historically was and once again is becoming Bronzeville’s thriving hub of economic and social activity – Shops and Lofts is a bright spot in a formerly disinvested neighborhood, a magnet for other commerce and housing, and a symbol of change for South Side residents.

JPMorgan Chase, one of many stakeholders that remained committed to the project through the seven years it took to bring the development to fruition, played a key role structuring the complex deal and providing financing that made it possible.

The project is a catalyst for increased economic development to accelerate the revitalization of the Bronzeville neighborhood by attracting additional retailers, commercial businesses and residents. Shops and Lofts brings 96 attractive new rental units to the neighborhood and is anchored by a Walmart Neighborhood Market, which offers healthy, affordable food to local residents. Walmart is working with 741 Collaborative – a partnership of local economic and workforce development nonprofits on the South Side of Chicago, launched with JPMorgan Chase support – to hire residents from the surrounding neighborhoods.

This development will also result in increased job opportunities in the community; the city of Chicago anticipates that this project will create 100 permanent jobs and 144 temporary job opportunities

Essential partners in making the Shops and Lofts at 47 a reality included affordable housing professionals, architects, community advocates, engineers, law practitioners, non-profit organizations, real estate professionals, Habitat for Humanity, the City of Chicago, Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • More than $45 million of comprehensive financing provided by JPMorgan Chase
  • Key partners: The Community Builders, Inc.; Mahogany Ventures; and Quad Communities Development Corporation
  • Five-story mixed-use development project
  • 54,000 square feet of retail space
  • 96 affordable and market rate apartment units

Read more about our commitment to expanding inclusive economic growth in Chicago.