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The Retail Initiative


The retail initiative is the current focus of the RHTT team of the Bronzeville Alliance.  A vibrant retail sector is the driving force behind a healthy business climate for hospitality, tourism and transportation entrepreneurs.  The Bronzeville alliance is committed to a long-term comprehensive approach to the economic development of the community

What are the goals of the Bronzeville Alliance Retail Initiative?                                            

Bronzeville experienced a dramatic population decline — more than 75 percent from 1950 to 2000 — and shopping prefer­ences changed with the arrival of malls and big box retailers, requiring a more targeted retail strategy for the community. In response, the Alliance focused its retail efforts on three key corridors, each anchored by stops on the CTA Green Line: 43rd, 47th and 51st streets, between State Street and Cottage Grove Avenue

The Goals of the Retail Initiative are
  • Increase Investor Interest in key Bronzeville retail corridors.

  • Increase residents options for commerce and employment within their community, much of it localy owned.

  • Utilize CTA Green Line stations for strategic transit-oriented development.

To achieve this, the Bronzeville Alliance has:
  • Created a map (above) of its preferred development trends radiating ouit from the CTA GReen Line stops in each corridor.

  • Partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) to staff community engagement activities and develop a strategic plan for the Bronzeville Alliance and its member organizations retail efforts.

  • Secured technical assistance from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to develop a formal Retail Corridor Plan for 43rd, 47th, and 51st streets.

  • Organized and hosted a Community Forum on Saturday, May 21, 2011, in which the retail map was ratified and 3rd and 4th ward aldermen pledged their support.

  • Worked with a 13-member, MPC-organized Task Force to create retail recommendations and plans for cross-ward colliaboration project prioritization, retail recruitment, and financing strategies.

Task Force recommendations

The local market can fully support one retail corridor 47th Street was selected due to many factors:

  • Higher concentration of existing retail..

  • Strong anchor institutions (e.g, Harold Washington Cultural Center, Little Black Pearl).

  • Good access, both from the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94) to the west and lake Shore Drive to the east..

In addition to the 47th Street corridor, clusters of retail at 51st. Street and the CTA Green Line, 43rd Street and Cottage Grove, and 43rd Street and the CTA Green Line could be supported.  Further recommendations include:

  • Build on the capacity of existing organizatiions (such as Quad Communities Development Corporation and the Renaissance. Collaborative) to form a cross-ward economic development arm.  This entity will partner to acquire and bank property for future development.

  • Address safety and perceptions of safety.

  • Create new draws to the area to import new spending (for example, concerts on vacant land on State Street).

  • Create a public cros-ward agreement and commitment between alderman of the 3rd and 4th wards.

  • Create a new Special Service Area (SSA) along 47th Street in the 3rd Ward, adjoining and complementing the existing SSA in the 4th Ward.

  • Form deliberate partnerships with nearby institutions..

  • Cluster businesses and increase residential density.

Next steps
  • Release report on Bronzeville Task Force findings..

  • Hold key stakeholder meetings with potential partners and elected officials.

  • Together with Bronzeville community development corporations, create the capacity building/fundraising plan for new economic development activities..

  • Support the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's efforts to develop land use recommendations for 43rd, 47th, and 51st Streets by helping establish and serving on a steering committee, and helping to plan and attract local stakeholders to attend a community forum and visioning sessions.

  • Work with CMAP to advocate for the report's adoption by the City of Chicago.

Leana Flowers Chair, Bronzeville Retail Initiative leana.flowers01@gmail.com 773.986.0319
Marisa Novara Project Manager, Metropolitan Planning Council mnovara@metroplanning.org 312.863.6044
Defining the Future of Bronzeville Retail Forum
Held Saturday May 21st 2011

The Bronzeville Alliance would like to thank all of the participants for attending the Retail Forum on May 21, 2011.  The event was a great success! More than 80 residents, stakeholders and business owners were in attendance, along with 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell and 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns.  Participants heard lessons learned on retail development from the Oak Park Develoopment Corporation, reviewed past projects in the community, and ratified the Alliance's proposed Retail Map for 43rd, 47th and 51st Streets.  After breaking into four working groups and creating action plan, each group reported their next steps.  The forum concluded with a response from Aldermen Dowell and Burns.  We are pleased that many of our working groups are already off and running on their follow-up task. Stay tuned for more updates on our progress toward a Retail Land Use map in 2012.

Click the links below to get a more detailed understanding of the retail initiative in general and the forum in particular.
Defining the Future of Bronzeville 2011 Retail Flier
Defining the Future of Bronzeville Retail Forum Power Point
Defining the Future of Bronzeville Retail Survey Results
Copyright 2011 The Bronzeville Alliance. All Rights Reserved