At a ceremony held on July 26, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson led a groundbreaking ceremony for Fifth City Commons, a new affordable housing complex which will rise from a long-vacant property on Chicago's West Side.

Fifth City Commons GroundbreakingCity of Chicago

Skender, the project's general contractor, is working with Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), which was selected in 2019 to develop the site at 3155 West 5th Ave through the C40 Reinventing Cities competition. Plans call for the construction of a new three-story building which will feature 43 one-, two, and three-bedroom rental units for East Garfield Park residents earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income level.

“Fifth City Commons and the City of Chicago, with its commitment to and investment in sustainable affordable housing, transportation, and energy-efficiency will demonstrate the impact cities and the built environment can have on climate change,” said Mayor Johnson at the ceremony. “More than 100 years after Chicago showed the world how to design and build skyscrapers, today we are poised to lead the way in the development of sustainable affordable housing. As Mayor, and as a West Sider – I could not be more excited.”

Fifth City CommonsPerkins & Will and Nia Architects

The all-electric project incorporates features such as triple pane windows and rooftop solar panels to limit energy usage. Plans also call for landscaping, EV charging, bicycle parking, and space for on-site composting.

The complex will be all-electric, with sustainable features such as triple pane windows and air sealing to lower the building’s energy needs in accordance with Passive House principles. Two-thirds of all its energy needs will be supplied by rooftop solar panels. The property will also have mature landscaping, EV charging stations, extensive bicycle parking, and on-site composting. 

Fifth City CommonsPerkins & Will and Nia Architects

Perkins & Will is designing Fifth City Commons alongside Nia Architects, which would provide residents with access to community rooms, a fitness room, an outdoor terrace, and three laundry rooms.

“It is a privilege to work on the construction of such a sustainable development with POAH and the community,” said Skender project executive Joe Pecoraro. “We are excited to see the positive impact this building will have on the West Side.”

Funding for Fifth City Commons comes from tax increment financing and HOME Investment Partnership Program assistance, sales tax returns, bonds, and low-income housing tax credits. Most of this funding was provided through the City of Chicago.