In Redeveloping Hyde Park, University of Chicago Leads by Example

Halfway completed, the University of Chicago's $250 million community redevelopment project ditches the oft-contentious town-gown relationship for a strategy of local investment and economic development, to the benefit of both.

Comprised of a 600,000 sf mixed-use project, historic theater restoration, and the renovation of several retail properties, the University of Chicago's "once in a generation" effort to revive the 53rd Street corridor, north of its Hyde Park campus, follows a national trend of "urban colleges and universities serving as redevelopment engines for their surrounding communities," reports Robert Sharoff. 

"It's enlightened self-interest for us," said David Greene, an executive vice president at the university. "We've always been very competitive when it comes to providing a great intellectual community. But we found there was something missing when we looked at the quality of life for students and faculty who are used to the kinds of amenities you find in places New York, Boston and Palo Alto."

"Mr. Greene added that revitalizing 53rd Street is part of a larger effort by the university to rethink its relationship with the neighborhood, which sits on the lakefront about six miles south of downtown Chicago," notes Sharoff. 

"Over the years and particularly in the 1950s and '60s, there was a lot of development aimed at creating a barrier around the campus," Greene said. "We're now trying to reverse that trend."

Full Story: University of Chicago Works on Its Neighborhood


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