Soul City Studios is one of the newest projects for the Soul City Corridor an African American Business District on the West side of Chicago. Located on Chicago Ave. starting at Austin Blvd. & heading East. Soul City will be home to Soul City Arts, Soul City Media and Soul City Wellness Lounge.
We have applied a few times for the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund Grant to help us with our project on Chicago Ave. located in the Soul City Corridor and in January of 2021 Mayor Lori Lightfoot & the City of Chicago Dept. of Planning selected us to receive a $250,000 Grant to help get our $550,000 (est. project costs) project completed.
Thank You Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the City of Chicago!
One of Chicago’s most historic neighborhoods, Austin is now proving it can overcome the challenges of disinvestment, deindustrialization, and crime by building on its strengths: community, creativity, and caring.
Centered on Chicago Avenue, the Soul City corridor is a new public-private partnership using tax increment ﬁnancing to envision and build a new westerly gateway for Chicago -- linking the neighborhood’s proud culture to the prosperity of western suburbs, and inviting visitors and residents to enjoy the music and food that are unique to Austin’s resilient African-American community.
Already, signs of progress abound. New businesses are opening, and home prices in Austin in 2020 are up nearly 25% over the previous year. Proudly situated at one of the ﬂagship intersections in the Soul City corridor, Soul City Studios is designed to embody and promote these community values.
Located at 5849-5851 W. Chicago Avenue, the project site is located on the far west edge of Chicago, only about 820 feet from the city’s border with Oak Park. It is located within Austin, one of the largest of the city’s seventy-seven designated community areas.
Occupying the southeast corner of the intersection of W. Chicago Avenue and N. Mayﬁeld Avenue. The site is currently occupied by an approximately 105- year-old red masonry building measuring approximately 2,156 square feet on a lot measuring approximately 4,680 square feet. The site has approximately 40 feet of frontage on W. Chicago Avenue and approximately 116 feet of frontage on N. Mayﬁeld Avenue. With two ground ﬂoor storefronts and two apartments on the second ﬂoor, this mixed-use building is currently vacant but has received intermittent use in recent years as a neighborhood grocery. Directly across Chicago Avenue lies the community garden envisioned as Catalytic Project No. 1 of the Chicago Avenue Soul City Corridor Commercial Development Study Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.2
Soul City Studios occupies a special place in the heart of the Soul City corridor -- singled out within the February 2020 Chicago Avenue Soul City Corridor Commercial Development Study Neighborhood Revitalization Plan as the “Entertainment Hub” of the neighborhood’s
The ground ﬂoor will be occupied by upscale entertainment-related services, such as a wellness lounge and an art gallery. Bringing the Arts & Healthy Living alternatives to that corner.
The Second Floor will be retroﬁtted as a state-of-the-art recording studio, podcast studio and radio station.
We have partnered with a well known former Art Gallery owner to help make this a premier Art Gallery Space that will highlight local artists from the Austin Community. We will also use the space to educate and teach classes for community residents.
Soul City Wellness Lounge will be used as a space for residents to come and enjoy healthy food items, healthy beverages, free wifi and a space where they can relax while getting things done. We will also host healthy eating workshops while offering a full line of Healthy Items for purchase with most being local vendors.
Soul City Media will serve as a State of the Art Production Venue that will have a Full Service Recording Studio, Podcast Studio and Radio Station overlooking Chicago Ave. We will broadcast FM & AM Radio Programs Directly from our Studio.
Our rooftop will serve as another space for visitors to hang out and lounge during the Spring and Summer Months. We will host private events and also allow guest to book space for their special occassions.
We aim to create an outdoor space that will keep you coming back. While giving you unparalleled views of Soul City and also Downtown Chicago Skyline.
Soul City is a community-wide and city-wide vision for a westerly gateway to Chicago that celebrates the city’s diversity and resilience. After decades of struggles with disinvestment and crime, Austin is primed for revival. The western portion of Chicago Avenue has been singled out as a future center of commercial development because it is the most stabilized part of Austin and occupies a key thoroughfare linking Chicago and Oak Park.
Beginning in 2013, the Austin African American Business Networking Association (AAABNA) worked with the City’s Planning and Development Department to envision a commercial thrive zone initiative called the “Soul City Corridor” stretching along Chicago Avenue from Cicero Avenue west to Austin Boulevard that would serve as a cultural benchmark similar to Chinatown or Greektown, where residents and visitors may experience the special music and food that are unique to Austin’s African-American population.
More recently, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced a plan called “Invest South/West” to spend $250 million over three years to spur business activity and enhance the quality of life in ten key western and southern neighborhoods, and Austin is well-positioned to capitalize on such investment.
We are going to use this development to hire locally from the community. We aim to train At-Risk young people who are currently unemployed and looking for opportunities. When we acquired the property we Hired local youth to do the Clean out of the project under the direction of qualified contractors.
Jackson Action Coalition (JAC) is a nonproﬁt organization providing services for the community, youth, and seniors in the Chicago area.
JAC's goal is to foster a commitment to youth and seniors that will promote prosocial friendships, strong interpersonal skills, and re-assert a sense of hope in the future.
Only through personal relationships can a sense of individual responsibility be reestablished. JAC’s mission is to “bridge the gap and bring generations together by empowering our community, youth, and seniors through community outreach, services, and events.”
JAC’s goal is to empower the community through outreach services that will empower and uplift members of the community. JAC will focus on services and events that will empower and uplift the community and bring its residents together.
Your contribution will enable us to build Soul City Studios in the heart of the Soul City Corridor an African American Business District on the Westside of Chicago.
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