Draper & Kramer attempts to listen to South Side Residents
by Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
In 2010, Draper & Kramer, one of the city’s largest real estate developer’s released it plan for redeveloping the Lake Meadows/Prarie Shores housing complex on south King Drive. The ambitious plan called for some an expansion of the 70-acre development running from 31st Street to 35th Street along KindDrive Boulevard.
The plan which calls for a massive expansion, up to 6000 additional residential units on top of the 2,000 units currently existing. When the plan was initially released in 2010, amid the real estate housing debacle. it was met with skepticism and widespread distrust by long-term community residents. At that time, Draper & Kramer appeared to welcome very little input from the community. Now it appears as though the real estate developer is taking a different approach. One that is inclusive and sensitive towards the needs of the long-standing residents.
Primarily African American, Lake Meadows is the gateway to Bronzeville and as such is poised to benefit from the soon to be Barack Obama Library which may go on 51st and King Drive, pending the final announcement. The president of the Gap Organization, Leonard McGee said “the developer would have to make a commitment to the local Dunbar Park if it wanted the community’s support to widen eastbound 33rd Street which leads to the shopping center.
“For years we’ve been fighting people cutting that boulevard,” McGee said. The new retail development “is going to be a great asset, but it’s going to be your profit, and we’ll tell that to the alderman if you don’t agree. “If it seems like a holdup, it is,” McGee said. “It’s not a lot of money in lieu of your whole development.”
The developer’s attorney, Andrew Scott, said negotiations with the city are ongoing. A spokesman for the developer will be updating the group in three months to discuss progress.