Williams, Gornstein win city’s Woodlawn development site contest

Plans include a 60-unit apartment building and 10 townhomes

KMW founder Bill Williams and POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein with an aerial of 1000 East 63rd Street (KMW,...

KMW founder Bill Williams and POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein with an aerial of 1000 East 63rd Street (KMW,...

Chicago has deemed Bill Williams and Aaron Gornstein’s firms the winners in a contest to develop a vacant city-owned lot in Woodlawn with an affordable housing complex, stemming from an initiative by outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The developers of the project, called Woodlawn Social, are KMW Communities, led by Williams, and Preservation of Affordable Housing, whose CEO is Gornstein, Crain’s reported. Their $48.4 million plan calls for a six-story, 60-unit apartment building and a four-story building with 10 townhomes on the 900 and 1000 blocks of East 63rd Street, at the southeast corner of 63rd and South Ellis Avenue.

The apartment building at the site would include a mix of 36 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedrooms and eight three-bedrooms. The townhouse complex would include three- and four-bedroom homes.

The developers will now seek full approval from the city, and they must contend with newly elected Mayor Brandon Johnson to attain funds for the project, much of which could come from tax-increment financing, low-income housing tax credits or another form of public funding. 

Johnson has pushed for more affordable housing in Chicago throughout his campaign, but it’s unclear if he’ll follow through with some of Lightfoot’s initiatives. In the run up to the election, he committed to continuing some form of Invest South/West, but there’s a bigger question mark on how much tax increment financing he would be comfortable presenting to the city council to put toward LaSalle Street Reimagined. That’s the program aimed at converting old office buildings in the Loop into housing.

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Nearly $400 million of commercial and residential projects are in the pipeline as a result of Invest South/West, the outlet said.

KMW and POAH’s proposal also includes a 10,000-square-foot courtyard, a 9,000-square-foot public plaza and 8,500 square feet of retail space. Woodlawn Social  “was selected for its highly creative approach to urban placemaking and locally driven programming that creates a focal point for future growth along 63rd Street,” Maurice Cox, the Department of Planning & Development Commissioner, said in a statement. 

Woodlawn Social also contributes to the city’s vision for a “15-minute neighborhood,” or a mixed-use development that provides retail, dining and neighborhood amenities within a 15-minute walk of local residents’ homes. The city will host an open house at Harris Park field house May 23 so the developers can discuss the project with residents and others with interest in the project.

— Quinn Donoghue 

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Williams, Gornstein win city’s Woodlawn development site contest

Plans include a 60-unit apartment building and 10 townhomes

KMW founder Bill Williams and POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein with an aerial of 1000 East 63rd Street (KMW,...

KMW founder Bill Williams and POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein with an aerial of 1000 East 63rd Street (KMW,...

Chicago has deemed Bill Williams and Aaron Gornstein’s firms the winners in a contest to develop a vacant city-owned lot in Woodlawn with an affordable housing complex, stemming from an initiative by outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The developers of the project, called Woodlawn Social, are KMW Communities, led by Williams, and Preservation of Affordable Housing, whose CEO is Gornstein, Crain’s reported. Their $48.4 million plan calls for a six-story, 60-unit apartment building and a four-story building with 10 townhomes on the 900 and 1000 blocks of East 63rd Street, at the southeast corner of 63rd and South Ellis Avenue.

The apartment building at the site would include a mix of 36 one-bedroom units, 16 two-bedrooms and eight three-bedrooms. The townhouse complex would include three- and four-bedroom homes.

The developers will now seek full approval from the city, and they must contend with newly elected Mayor Brandon Johnson to attain funds for the project, much of which could come from tax-increment financing, low-income housing tax credits or another form of public funding. 

Johnson has pushed for more affordable housing in Chicago throughout his campaign, but it’s unclear if he’ll follow through with some of Lightfoot’s initiatives. In the run up to the election, he committed to continuing some form of Invest South/West, but there’s a bigger question mark on how much tax increment financing he would be comfortable presenting to the city council to put toward LaSalle Street Reimagined. That’s the program aimed at converting old office buildings in the Loop into housing.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Nearly $400 million of commercial and residential projects are in the pipeline as a result of Invest South/West, the outlet said.

KMW and POAH’s proposal also includes a 10,000-square-foot courtyard, a 9,000-square-foot public plaza and 8,500 square feet of retail space. Woodlawn Social  “was selected for its highly creative approach to urban placemaking and locally driven programming that creates a focal point for future growth along 63rd Street,” Maurice Cox, the Department of Planning & Development Commissioner, said in a statement. 

Woodlawn Social also contributes to the city’s vision for a “15-minute neighborhood,” or a mixed-use development that provides retail, dining and neighborhood amenities within a 15-minute walk of local residents’ homes. The city will host an open house at Harris Park field house May 23 so the developers can discuss the project with residents and others with interest in the project.

— Quinn Donoghue 

Read more

COMPANIES AND PEOPLE

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