Originally built in the late 1960s to serve the low- income residents of Chicago’s Woodlawn community, by the turn of the century, Grove Parc Plaza was a distressed 504-unit Section 8 development which HUD was considering closing. The site suffered from significant design flaws, concentrated poverty and was a barrier to investment in the neighborhood, creating a spiral of disinvestment.
But in 2008, at the invitation of concerned residents, POAH acquired Grove Parc Apartments to preserve its affordability but to also replace it with safe, clean, quality housing that would enhance the entire Woodlawn community for present and future generations.
POAH replaced Grove Parc’s distressed and obsolete buildings by creating new and renovated mixed-income housing on South Cottage Grove Avenue (The Jackson, The Grant, The Burnham, Woodlawn Station and Trianon Lofts) and rehabilitating more than two dozen distressed vacant buildings in the surrounding neighborhood. This work is transforming Woodlawn into a healthier, stronger mixed-use, mixed-income community.
From these efforts spurred community support for the additional affordable housing, parks, retail, recreation and education opportunities that have made our community a destination for more people. Today the community is welcoming the future home of the Obama Presidential Center in the 543-acre Jackson Park. Its proximity to Woodlawn reflects the Obamas’ mission to build their library in a community that will benefit from such an investment.
The University of Chicago is expanding its south campus with four new projects in Woodlawn – a dormitory, conference center, public policy graduate school, even a hotel. And, come March 2019, Woodlawn will welcome a new full-service grocery store – Jewel-Osco – to the footprint of the former Grove Parc we took over 10 years ago.
Our community partners’ continuing engagement and commitment have been an essential element in not only the rebirth of Woodlawn but also the new blueprint for how to revitalize underserved urban neighborhoods. They include: the City of Chicago; Illinois Housing Development Authority; U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development; University of Chicago; Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago; JPMorgan Chase; BMO Harris Bank; and other public and private organizations.