In Englewood, a swath of vacant land along the 800 block of West 63rd will give way to an eco-food hub, business incubator, and flexible community space, city officials announced last week. 

The $10.3 million project is led by a joint venture consisting of McLaurin Development Partners and Farpoint Development. The group was selected by the city’s INVEST South/West initiative to bring community-focused developments to neighborhoods that have historically suffered from disinvestment.

Architecture firms TnS Studio and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill are collaborating on the design of the project, which is dubbed Englewood Connect. It is envisioned as the next phase of the Englewood Square shopping development, which is anchored by a Whole Foods that opened in 2016.

Renderings show a new pavilion dubbed the “Englewood Living Room.” The space features movable walls that can create an open-air venue in warmer months and could contain hanging planters, a cafe, and a performance area. Nearby vacant land will be used for community farming.

There’s also an adaptive reuse element of the plan, which would restore the nearby vacant firehouse on Green Street. The building, designed with Tudor revival architecturual details, was completed in 1929 and declared a protected City of Chicago landmark in 2003. The team sees the older structure serving as a multi-purpose venue.

“We envision a dynamic mix of community spaces, accessible to all local residents and connected to the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Dawveed Scully, urban planning associate director at SOM, in a statement. “With flexible spaces that can be used year-round, our plan creates an ecosystem that cultivates upward mobility anchored by entrepreneurialism.” 

City officials issued a request for proposals for the Englewood parcel back in August. The Chicago Department of Planning and Development also announced winning bids to redevelop a vacant lot in Auburn Gresham into 56 units of affordable housing as well as a mixed-use restoration and expansion of Austin’s Art Deco Laramie Bank building.