It has been almost five years since the tear down of the last Cabrini Green notorious tower came crashing down. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is continuing on with its final plans to move forward and turn the site into a new thriving area and community.
The city of Chicago and CHA have asked developers to propose their plans for the first phase of development on 65 acres of vacant land in the area. It extends from Clybourn Avenue and Division Street. For phase one the city wants a total of 900 mixed income housing on roughly 17 acres.
Anyone familiar with the area know its troubled past as it was one of the worst areas filled with crime and poverty that bordered the richest areas of the city. It has now become quite the attraction for developers ever since the last tower was demolished in 2011.
So far a Target store was opened right at Larrabee and Division in 2014, along with plans for a development of a hotel and retail area right by Halsted and Division. The latest apartment complex and retail project called NewCity was opened right at Clybourn and Halsted in 2015.
The area is booming and changing for the best. One of the members of the former community said that the high rises coming down would be bad for the community, but has since changed his tune as he thinks the community is changing for the better.
Originally the area was built up around 1942 and once the whole complex was finished include 23 buildings and row houses totaling 3,600 units. It wasn’t before long that the area became infested with rampant crime and was known as one of the worst places to be in the city and almost anywhere in the country. It fell victim to gang violence and neglect from the police force and important city services.
The area was infamous for being so bad that the city and police wouldn’t even drive through the place for fear of their own lives. Destruction of the high-rise complexes began in 1995 and the only original area is the group of row houses with around 586 of them. 440 of these homes are completely vacant and have been a point of contention through a lawsuit between the CHA and a Cabrini-Green tenant group. The lawsuit had been settled and the redevelopment is on the go now. It is proposed as a mixed income area.
There is a requirement for at least one third to 40 percent of the housing to be used for public housing members. There is also a call for commercial developments at certain spots.
The redevelopment process is going through phases and will hopefully see revitalization never seen before as the community can grow in unison and be a successful addition to the city of Chicago. It will shed its former image and become a bastion of hope for troubled neighborhoods everywhere that can learn to grow and prosper and contribute to society.