The Foundation for Homan Square serves as an umbrella organization over a tapestry of community resources in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.
Originally formed in 1995, the Foundation’s purpose was to oversee the redevelopment of Homan Square – a 55-acre property that previously housed the historic Sears catalog facility, office tower, and power plant built between 1905 and 1907. Today, that campus hosts a 70,000-square-foot community center; a 14-story hub for arts education, youth leadership development, job training, and nonprofits; 400 units of affordable housing; affordable health care providers; YMCA day care facilities; and public charter elementary and high schools.
Today, the community is thriving and ready for the next stage of development. In close collaboration with community members — and with leadership from the foundation’s Community Advisory Council and Homan Square Leadership Council — they are pursuing several key goals:
- Explore opportunities for development within an expanded Homan Square footprint;
- Develop quality housing across the spectrum of affordability;
- Develop mixed-use and commercial projects that provide space for community programming and local businesses; and
- Inspire potential investment in specific projects within the larger Plan.
To learn more about the Foundation for Homan Square, visit www.homansquare.org.
IFF + Homan Square Partnership
The Foundation for Homan Square and IFF formally joined forces in 2018 to maintain and expand the tapestry of community resources built up in the area over the last 20 years. We work hand-in-hand to leverage the best of each other’s organizations for the long-term benefit of the Homan Square community.
IFF first partnered with the Homan Square foundation and community in 2005, when they were evaluating how to transform the decommissioned power plant into a school. At that time, there were very few high-quality educational options in the area, and the community had identified a new school as a logical next step for the campus. But repurposing the decommissioned power plant involved countless challenges, not the least of which were environmental remediation concerns and property records dating back to the 1880s.
The massive and complex project took $40 million and nearly four years to complete, and it formed the foundation of a long relationship between IFF and Homan Square. Later, IFF and Homan Square partnered again to realize another major community vision: the re-development of the 14-story Nichols Tower into a kind of mall of community amenities.
“IFF was brought on because of their real estate expertise, but they stayed on because of the way they worked with the community to realize our vision for these spaces,” said Kevin Sutton, Executive Director of the Foundation for Homan Square. “Power House High School was built to the highest environmental standard, and the new programs at Nichols Tower expand, complement, and benefit from the existing schools and health and social service programs already on the Homan Square Campus. Going forward, under the new FHS-IFF partnership, collaborations like this will be the rule, not the exception.”
Today, IFF and Homan Square continue to work together to build out the next phase of plans to build more affordable housing, develop vacant lots, and attract small businesses to the area.
Click the image below to open up a photo gallery of a few spaces in Homan Square.