Chicago City Council approves Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to lease vacant properties in South Shore Community to the Rebuild Foundation


Chicago, IL: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to lease vacant property in the city to help stimulate beautification and diminish blight was approved April 15 by the City Council.


The property to be leased includes 15 vacant parcels next to the ComEd building in the South Shore Community. The properties will be leased to the Rebuild Foundation; a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform underutilized spaces via arts and cultural programming, while providing locations for citizens to come together for collaborative and community planning and action, according to its website.


The former ComEd building is associated with the Dorchester Projects—currently made up of the Listening and Archive Houses—which is also under the ownership of the Rebuild Foundation, and Theaster Gates. The ComEd building is likely to be turned into a location for performing arts and area for collective thought; including a small theater.


In a statement from the Office of the Mayor, Emanuel offered the following: “Maximizing the use of vacant properties and turning them into positive spaces in the South Shore neighborhood will benefit all community residents. This is an opportunity to bring new programming, art, and space to the neighborhood for community members to interact with one another.”


The 15 properties are likely to become a community garden with sculptures, and open space for public use, according to the statement from the Office of the Mayor.

This leasing of land is another in a long list of projects undertaken throughout Chicago to revitalize the city’s landscape and combat the negative effects long-term vacant property can have on communities.


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