Chatham Commercial Design Guidelines

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The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development is currently working in partnership with the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) and the Driehaus Foundation in order to engage the Chatham community and stakeholders in an urban planning exercise that will create a set of design guidelines aimed to enhance the existing conditions of Chatham’s commercial corridor.


The Chatham community is one of several neighborhoods in which the City of Chicago has established diverse initiatives aimed to stimulate economic growth and fostering residential, commercial and mixed-use development investment opportunities.  Some of these initiatives include the designation of two Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIF); the establishment of a Special Service Area (SSA) also known as Business Improvement Districts (BID) in other cities; and more recently designation of the Chatham Retail Thrive Zone.  The Retail Thrive Zones program will build neighborhoods, improve access to amenities and services that make lives better and develop greater community wealth. 


The proposed study area includes: 75th Street between Wabash Avenue and Cottage Grove Avenue, Cottage Grove Avenue between 75th Street and 79th Street and 79th Street between Michigan to Maryland Avenues.   (See attached map) Currently there are approximately 166 active existing business licenses in the area as well as an interesting concentration of character buildings; such as existing Chicago landmark and properties listed in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS).   Lastly, Chatham was also selected as a community that can specifically benefit from a city-driven planning initiative and to complement existing neighboring plans, such as the Green and Healthy Neighborhoods Plan located just north of 75th Street.


The Chatham Design Guidelines will be the result of three workshops during the summer of 2017 and will include a set of short and long term recommendations to enhance the existing physical conditions of the commercial corridor to support businesses located in the study area.   For this purpose the DPD will be working with Farr & Associates a nationally recognized architecture firm to bring realistic and innovative ideas for this project.

The Chatham Design Guidelines final product will be a brief but comprehensive document  which will include: graphic representations and feasible examples of how create/signage, design canopies and storefronts, improvements recommended for existing buildings, creation of banners with a refreshed identity for Chatham  among other items that help enhance the overall condition and attractiveness of the commercial corridor.   The document will be made publicly available on the City’s website.

For additional information please contact:

LUIS MONTERRUBIO, DPD Planning + Urban Design + Historic Preservation Division | (312) 744-9147

Chatham planning map

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