Chicago State lays out $250M vision to build up 95th Street

Goal is for university to serve as catalyst for new development, economic growth

Chicago State Lays out $250M Vision for 95th Street
CSU's Zaldwaynaka Scott with rendering of 95th Street revitalization (LinkedIn, Department of Planning & Development, Getty)

Chicago State University has unveiled a $250 million plan to revitalize the 95th Street corridor on the South Side.

The plan, created in collaboration with Chicago’s Department of Planning & Development and the Chicago Community Trust, aims to transform the half-mile stretch between Martin Luther King Drive and Cottage Grove Avenue into a vibrant commercial and community hub, with a strong emphasis on inclusivity, Crain’s reported.

The proposal targets four potential development sites — three mixed-use buildings on CSU’s campus and a vacant 7,000-square-foot lot on the north side of 95th Street. Despite the $250 million price tag, no official funding has been secured for the project as of yet.

“We’re asking local, state and federal governments, we’re asking the private sector and we’re asking the philanthropy to continue to invest in Chicago State University and the 95th Street corridor, which will result in the development of a first-class university village that bolsters community well being that we all deserve,” CSU President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott told the outlet.

The goal of the transformation is for CSU to become an anchor for development on the South Side and foster more economic growth. The development would be complemented by green spaces and a coffee shop connecting from a school bookstore.

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CSU plays a vital role in the South Side, generating $1.6 billion for the state’s economy annually and serving a predominantly Black student body. While local officials and community leaders are enthused about the university’s potential to spur more development in the area, some residents expressed the need for a more significant commercial anchor in addition to upcoming transit-related development.

Key infrastructure projects near the campus, such as the $3.6 billion Red Line extension and the $45 million Metra 95th Street stop modernization, were highlighted during a recent community meeting as catalysts for the corridor’s revitalization.

There are $4.5 billion of recent or planned investments in the area, including the $19 million Discover Customer Care Center in Chatham and the $35 million Pullman National Monument that opened in 2021.

— Quinn Donoghue 

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