Chicago pumps $1.1 million to build South Side restaurant, part of overall senior residence project

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chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot
Source: REV Transcripts https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/chicago-mayor-lori-lightfoot-press-conference-transcript-july-20

A $1.1 million Municipal Neighbourhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) grant is helping to cover the costs of constructing a South Side restaurant, part of a development that will see construction of a seven-story, mixed income independent living development.

The estimated $3.2 million project to open a Huddle House in the Calmert Heights neighbourhood was awarded $1.1 million in Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) Grant assistance in 2019. The Mayor attended the groundbreaking ceremony on July 20, a news release said.

The five-acre site at 9401 S. Stony Island will also be home to the Montclare Senior Residence, the statement said.

Siraj Elahi, a Chicago entrepreneur and developer with more than 30 years in the food and beverage industry wanted to bring Huddle House to Chicago to address the lack of breakfast options for residents on the city’s South Side, while also creating jobs for neighborhood residents, the city’s statement said.

In addition to grant assistance for construction costs, the NOF award includes a Local Hiring Bonus, which reimburses up to 25% of total eligible project costs for the hiring and training of local employees.

African American firm of Brown & Momen will serve as the general contractor, and the project will create up to 60 temporary construction jobs. Following the opening of the Calumet Heights’ location, Elahi plans to open two additional Huddle House restaurants in the Chicago area, each bringing up to 80 permanent jobs.

In February, Mayor Lightfoot announced reforms to the NOF, to increase grant funding for new construction projects to enable more capital for individual community improvements along the South, West and Southwest side commercial corridors as part of the city’s Invest South/West initiative. “The initiative creates a network of communities for planned growth, with priority projects identified by the community, for the community. These projects may include new retail, transportation, parks and other infrastructure and quality of life investments for local residents,” the mayor’ statement said.

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