A new real estate development has been proposed for construction on South Blackstone Avenue and East 63rd Street in Woodlawn. The project, known as Park Station Lofts, will be 10 stories tall and contain 135 residential units as well as ample retail space on the first floor. The developer hopes to spur community development alongside other Woodlawn projects, such as the Obama Presidential Center.
The project is being proposed by DL3 Realty, which, according to their website, “is a commercial real estate company driven by a mission to develop projects which help to improve and sustain neighborhood life in Chicago’s urban communities.”
In addition to traditional residential units, 10 of the 135 residential units will be live-work lofts: larger sized, two-story units that could be used as both residential and work space.
“We want to spur entrepreneurship,” Leon Walker, manager of DL3 Realty, said.
By building these units, DL3 Realty hopes to make housing more affordable to artists and entrepreneurs who would otherwise need to pay rent on both an apartment and a separate workplace. These lofts will also function as street-level businesses, helping to reactivate commercial development on 63rd street. DL3 additionally hopes to bring sit-down restaurants and convenience retail to the development.
The project is being planned in coordination with the City of Chicago because the lot is owned by the city. Following the completion of ongoing discussions with the government about development proposals, construction will take 18 months to complete.
DL3 seeks to engage in development without any displacement of the local community. “We are here to uplift the community and provide new opportunities for all,” said Walker, who has worked in local development for the past 10 years. The company was also responsible for projects such as Englewood’s Whole Foods, which currently sells the products of over 40 South Side vendors on its shelves.
The project will also be more affordable than other regional developments due to the cheaper cost of housing in Woodlawn. While retail space in Hyde Park is traditionally rented for $2.50 per square foot, retail space in Woodlawn is sold for approximately $1.50 per square foot.
The development’s construction will coincide with many other community projects, including the Obama Presidential Center and UC Medicine’s trauma center. By constructing the Park Station Lofts, DL3 Realty seeks to continue investing in the growth sparked by these anchor institutions by giving new employees and students a nearby location to live.
“There is a need to follow on investment to be spearheaded by local firms such as ours who are really engaged in the community…and making these dreams a reality,” Walker said.