Community News

Fillmore Center project, touted as jobs engine for struggling North Lawndale, clears city commission
A nearly vacant five-story brick building on the West Side will come back to life this summer as The Fillmore Center, eventually employing hundreds and bringing business activity back to North Lawndale, a neighborhood hit by decades of disinvestment.

Steans Family Foundation, a Chicago philanthropy, bought the 111-year-old property at 4100 W. Fillmore St. for $3.3 million in 2022, and construction crews are transforming portions of its cavernous interior into Fillmore Linen Service, an industrial-scale laundry that will serve Chicago hospitals.

The city’s Community Development Commission recommended Tuesday that City Council greenlight a redevelopment agreement between the foundation, its neighborhood partners and the city.

The move will eventually unlock up to $10 million in tax increment financing assistance, said Patricia Ford, the foundation’s executive director, helping complete the $40 million project and bring in more business.

“North Lawndale is a business desert, so business attraction has always been one of our goals,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re reducing North Lawndale’s unemployment rate.”

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Permanent Outdoor Dining Expansion Proposed By Mayor After COVID-Era Rules Lapse

If passed by City Council, restaurants and bars will be able to once again operate patio service in the “curb lane” outside their businesses.

Quinn Myers

7:58 AM CDT on May 26, 2023

If passed by City Council, restaurants and bars will be able to once again operate patio service in the “curb lane” outside their businesses.

CHICAGO — Officials hope to make permanent rules that allowed restaurants, bars and breweries to expand their outdoor seating options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In spring 2020, the city put in place temporary regulations that allowed for the expansion of sidewalk patios, many of them taking over parts, or in some cases all, of nearby streets. Businesses were also allowed to serve customers on private property, such as on makeshift patios in parking lots.

Those expansions proved crucial to keeping restaurants and bars in business when indoor dining was deemed unsafe as the virus spread, business owners and industry leaders have said.

The expanded outdoor dining rules lapsed at the end of 2022, leaving some restaurant owners to worry they might lose a vital revenue source during the summer.

After some delays, the city now hopes to bring those measures back and keep them for good.

A measure introduced Wednesday by Mayor Brandon Johnson to City Council would create a permanent Outdoor Dining Street Permit that would allow restaurants and bars to once again set up tables in the curb or parking lane outside their business.

Groups of three or more restaurants on the same block would also be able to apply for full street closures for their outdoor patios. Read more here…