A 3D render of Woodlawn Central, a mixed-use project in Chicago.

South Side Chicago Mega Development One Step Closer to Construction Phase

by Channing Hamilton

CHICAGO —Transwestern Real Estate Services has been selected to lead the multi-phase South Side Chicago Woodlawn Central development project. J.C. Griffin of Transwestern will act as developer, doing business as Woodlawn Central LLC, throughout the project, which has been in various planning phases since at least 2009.

Woodlawn Central is an eight-acre, $895 million development project in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Plans for Woodlawn Central call for 870 residential units, ranging from affordable to market-rate, luxury and seniors housing. Requirements for the affordable housing component were not disclosed. The development will also include a 154-room hotel, a black box theater (a performance space with black walls and a flat floor) and a greenhouse.

The Apostolic Church of God at 6320 S. Dorchester Ave. owns the eight acres and will retain ownership while ground leasing parts of the parcel for development, acting through Transwestern. An official timeline has not yet been established, but the development team is currently preparing its entitlement and zoning package for approval by the Department of Planning and Development. Once approved, the team expects completion of the project within the next 10 years.

Transwestern will coordinate brokerage activities, marketing and research efforts, project capitalization and financing, and construction services. 

Woodlawn Central is the first phase of a neighborhood revitalization plan developed by the Network of Woodlawn, an organization founded in 2009 to improve Woodlawn’s infrastructure, education, safety, health and economics.

The project is designed to create a pedestrian, transit-oriented area connecting to some of the newer investment sites in the neighborhood, including the Barack Obama Presidential Center that is currently under construction. According to the Associated Press, the presidential center project cost is about $830 million.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) reports that the median household income in Woodlawn was approximately $27,500 per year as of 2020, while the area median income for Chicago was $62,000.

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