The City of Chicago has selected Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and TnS Studio to create an incubator for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the city’s Englewood neighborhood. Called Englewood Connect, the project is part of Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative, and it aims to foster local commerce and greater connectivity, as well as create new, flexible public spaces.
SOM and TnS are working with lead developer McLaurin Development Partners and Farpoint Development. Dawveed Scully, Urban Planning Associate Director at SOM, noted that, "We envision a dynamic mix of community spaces, accessible to all local residents and connected to the surrounding neighborhoods. With flexible spaces that can be used year-round, our plan creates an ecosystem that cultivates upward mobility anchored by entrepreneurialism."
As the team explains, Englewood Connect is designed to "elevate Englewood residents through a mixed-use, phased development strategy focused around a flexible public space called the Green Street Commons." In turn, they created the Englewood Living Room, a proposed year-round pavilion for markets, co-working spaces, exhibitions, and places for the community gatherings. The plan also includes the restoration of the landmark “castle” Firehouse station, originally built in 1929, into a multi-purpose venue.
"The team will work with existing local businesses, community organizations, artists, and makers to develop a program informed by Englewood’s identity, and designed to serve the community’s changing needs. The team is bolstered by industry experts with both global expertise and local focus: Chef David Blackmon, dbHMS, Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Omni Ecosystems, Engage Civil, Environmental Design International, Gwen Grossman Lighting Design, Bowa Construction, and Neal & Leroy."
News via SOM and TnS Studio