URBAN EQUITIES, INC. EXPANDS BUSINESS MODEL IN BRONZEVILLE
Food + Real Estate Development = Community Development
CHICAGO – “We are more than excited and grateful for the Chicago Community Development Grant which will fill a huge gap in Soul City Kitchen’s investment capital stack. This injection of funding brings us one step closer to opening our doors in 2023 to food & pastry entrepreneurs in the Bronzeville community and beyond. Further, we don’t take lightly the confidence that Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her planning team has placed in us to once again use our 28-year history to make a lasting difference in the historic Bronzeville community for generations to come,” says Lennox Jackson, Founder & CEO, Urban Equities, Inc.
Soul City Kitchens has received wonderful support from several sources, including Chicago’s philanthropic community. With early-stage investment dollars from the Chicago Community Trust, the project has been able to accelerate planning. "When this project came to the Pre-Development Fund for early support, everything about it was right for us -- a place for home-grown entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, a smart food concept, an historic community, and a talented development team led by a person of color," said Helene Gayle, President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust.
Sustainability and affordability are guiding principles for planning this project in what remains an emerging market. With challenges in attracting investment sources from the capital markets for projects like Soul City Kitchens, the Chicago Community Development Grant enables Urban Equities, Inc. to structure the project’s financing in such a way that community wealth-building can be planned and undergirded on a long-term basis. City staff continue to play a major role in making this happen. “The project proposed by your team will be a crucial component of supporting the INVEST South/West neighborhood revitalization strategy in the Bronzeville neighborhood and, specifically, leading transformation along the 51st Street Commercial corridor”, says Commissioner Maurice Cox, Department of Planning and Development.
The Bronzeville community continues to embrace this project. “This project is going to be a great transformation of surplus City property and an exciting business concept for the corridor,” Alderwoman Dowell (3rd) said. “The community is eager to see it completed.”
Planning work is well underway with focus on starting construction this year. “Our team is honored to create a transformational new community asset that provides greater access, support and connectivity for local food entrepreneurs to thrive and grow,” said Matt Dumich, Architect, SmithGroup; project architect of record.
“I personally know a handful of home-based chefs that have a desire to scale up. This is the resource they need to serve the community at a greater capacity, and I’m thrilled to take part in bringing this vision to life,” said Taylor Staten, LEED AP and Design Principal at TnS Studio; project interior designer.
“Part of Urban Equities’ vision is to provide equitable access to commercial kitchen space for chefs and food entrepreneurs and innovate the food industry while revitalizing the Bronzeville community. However, I have a deeply personal interest to use Soul City Kitchens as a platform for creating a community wealth-building legacy that survives my existence on the earth,” says Lennox Jackson, Founder & CEO, Urban Equities, Inc.
About Urban Equities, Inc.
Urban Equities, Inc. (MBE-certified), founded in 1993, is a full-service real estate development and program & project management services firm that has driven favorable transformation in some of Chicago’s South and Westside communities. Over our almost 29-year history, we have generated a body of work that has resulted in our core competencies which are planning, financing & developing residential, commercial and mixed-use properties. On a selective basis, we also offer consulting services to various entities, institutions and real estate investors. We create value and offer a history of exceeding anticipated returns for our firm, partners, and clients. Our capabilities are strengthened through our subsidiary - Urban Equities Construction, LLC - a licensed general contracting company. For more information, please visit https://www.uequities.com
Soul City Kitchens
Ghost kitchen operators, chefs and caterers: sign up or complete a business profile at https://www.SoulCityKitchens.com to receive updates as our progress continues.