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Planning & Development

Development Partners Committee

Uptown United’s Development Partners committee works to guide and encourage healthy and sustainable development in Uptown, as well as engaging in its own development projects and neighborhood planning. Development Partners is organized as a volunteer advisory council made up of local architects, real estate professionals, nonprofit organization leaders, developers, and experts from across the community–all of whom live and/or work in Uptown. Committee members have expertise in: commercial and residential real estate development, architecture, historic preservation, affordable housing, small business, urban planning, landscape architecture, real estate law, finance, community engagement, urban sustainability, economic development, and more.

Working closely with the other arms of Uptown United, Development Partners’ mission is to initiate and participate in strategic planning, promote appropriate land use, and encourage development projects that provide employment opportunities, a strengthened economic base, and an enhanced quality of life for Uptown’s diverse population.

Our Development Partners typically meets the last Wednesday of every month. Contact us if you like to learn more or present to the Development Partners committee.

Community Planning & Studies

Uptown United has engaged in many catalytic studies and neighborhood planning activities that have helped to support small business, facilitate development, and improve quality of life for Uptown residents. Below are links to current and past planning activities and studies.

What does eTOD mean for Uptown?

Uptown United commissioned The Lakota Group to prepare a site development study to explore how policies and initiatives from the City of Chicago’s new eTOD ordinance affects Uptown. Since we have observed increased development interest for sites located near the Wilson CTA Station, it has become clear the importance of engaging community stakeholders in shaping a vision for these sites. Results of this study will be used as a guide for future development throughout the neighborhood. With this study, Uptown United has created exciting, viable development proposals for these parcels, rooting their ideas in realistic information about what the market can support and securing equitable development that serves the neighborhood near the Wilson Station. Our collective goal is not to reach consensus on any one vision, but to identify areas of broad agreement about the future of these parcels and the Wilson/Broadway corridors. This process will serve as a model for how proactive planning can attract development that meets the needs and desires of local residents and businesses, connects people to jobs and amenities, and increase transit ridership. Click here to watch the eTOD study presentation. Click here to view the final report.

Central Uptown Planning Study

In 2018, Uptown United embarked on a plan for the commercial corridors along Wilson Avenue and Broadway near the newly rebuilt Wilson CTA station. The goal of this plan is to support and build a thriving commercial district. Click here to read the Central Uptown State of the Area Report.  Click here to read the Central Uptown Development Guide.

Mapping Uptown

In 2017, Uptown United worked with PLACE Consulting to develop a holistic system for mapping and tracking relevant economic and community development data in Uptown. This new system maps everything from zoning and business licenses to street tree and light pole locations in one place. In addition to this mapping system, we worked with the Lakota Group to assess and categorize first-floor use of properties within the Uptown Special Service Area (SSA) to better understand the neighborhood retail environment.

Uptown Branding Study and Brand Guidelines 

In 2016, the boards of Uptown United, the Uptown Chamber of Commerce, and the Uptown Special Service Area commission discussed the need for unified branding that better reflected and promoted our diverse, unique neighborhood. The following year Uptown United hired the renowned Firebelly Design to lead this effort, which was guided by a volunteer committee of local marketing experts from all sectors of our community. Click here to read more about this study and our new look. The results of this new brand can be seen on street pole banners, public art, and this website!

Uptown and Sub-Neighborhood Investment Guides

In 2016 and 2017 Uptown United distilled neighborhood demographics, spending statistics, pedestrian and transit counts, and other important data in to handy one-page documents to assist entrepreneurs, developers, and organizations looking to open or invest in Uptown. These fliers highlight Uptown as a whole, and delve into specifics for each major sub-area of Uptown, including: Argyle, Uptown Square, Lakeside & Clarendon Park, Sheridan Park, and Buena Park. 

IFF Study: Gerber Building

In 2016, Uptown United partnered with IFF, a nonprofit organization that assists and advises other nonprofit organizations on real estate matters. IFF studied the feasibility of potential uses and leasing arrangements for the CTA’s historic former Wilson Station building, dubbed the “Gerber Building” in recognition of Arthur Gerber, its architect.

Urban Land Institute Report: Discover Asia on Argyle

In 2008, the Urban Land Institute performed a Technical Assistance Panel to advise on growing and supporting the Argyle district’s Asian marketplace.  Uptown United and the City of Chicago have made great strides to implement the suggestions of this report.

Urban Land Institute Report: Wilson Station

This 2012 ULI Governors’ Advisory Panel report outlines a series of both physical improvements and programmatic suggestions to help CTA work through the myriad of development and neighborhood issues facing the Wilson Station area.

Urban Land Institute Report: Uptown Chicago, Illinois

This 1999 study took a comprehensive look at the Uptown community, and made recommendations on strategies for preserving historic architecture, enhancing our entertainment district, and incorporating an urban public market into the community.

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