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INVEST South/West Part of GAGDC's Economic Development "Year of Collaboration"

The AG Healthy Lifestyle Hub has been the home of GAGDC's Special Service Area (SSA) manager and architecture interns this summer. They have been one of the organizations' first staff teams to occupy the new space, and rightfully so.

The SSA team is the original business corridor team and is an integral part of Carlos Nelson, GAGDC CEO's economic development, vision and work being implemented on the 79th Street Corridor, since 2005. Cheryl Johnson, by his side supports the strategies that continue to make SSA 32 and SSA 69 strong corridors, in spite of the ups and downs of the economy. Our current SSA manager, "the" Khayeem Anderson is responsible for ensuring the day to day, on the ground works of staff, vendors and partners are working collaboratively, to ensure the ever changing and growing investments along our 79th Street southwest corridor, are working like a well oiled machine.

GAGDC's Camellio Lincoln (Senior Project Manager Real Estate Development) who is responsible for day to day oversight of the AG Healthy Lifestyle Hub implementation, since its groundbreaking, January 2021, thought it would be great idea, to introduce our summer architects to the team developing Auburn Apartments.

This simple gesture turned out to be easy way reenforce the collaborations of Invest South/West partners and the community development team. On July 18, 2023, the team toured the Auburn Gresham Apartments site directly across the street from the AG Healthy Lifestyle Hub. As shown in the photo below, they were introduced to the GMA construction group site Senior Project Manager Ron Maldonado, at GMA, and were able to witness the live construction site firsthand. Each year GAGDC hires a team of architect students who work on real projects from small business facade designs, flyers, CTA bus banners and Clear Channel ads for the iconic 79th Street Renaissance Festival, held annually the second weekend in September.

Even though it was not the first choice of the community to have affordable housing at this location on the commercial corridor, the collaboration and stewardship as the Invest Southwest Corridor manager team, has helped to strengthen relationships with community, the developer (GMA Construction Group) and several of its vendors working at the site.

An example of one successful collaboration was working with the 17th Ward Alderman David Moore, Chicago Cook Workforce and Paschen Concrete hiring fair. GAGDC wholeheartedly agreed for the collaboration to use the new community space at the AG Healthy Lifestyle Hub to host the job fair. We saw this as an excellent way to help attract local for its open  laborer, finisher and carpenter positions. This too was a huge success and helped open the doors to increase the diversity and equity of local hires.

Keywords: Economic Development, gagdc, GMA Construction Group, Invest SouthWest, Special Service Area #32, SSA

Posted in Business, Housing, Economic Development


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