East 39th Street Commercial Corridor Plan by Chris Devins


Street Commercial Corridor Plan is a comprehensive commercial real estate development plan that envisions the future of the East 39th Street Commercial
Corridor and the surrounding 2 mile trade area in Chicago, based on current demographic, real estate market, zoning, land use, political and commercial business data. For more visit Chris Devins Creative on the web. https;//chrisdevinscreative.com


Located in the heart of Bronzeville, East

39th Street is an approximately 1 mile

long commercial corridor that runs from

Langley (600 East) on the East to Interstate

90/94 on the west (200 West).

Historically East 39th Street served as a

neighborhood shopping and restaurant

district for the residents of the 3500 unit

Ida B. Wells/Madden Park apartment

complex. As part of the Chicago Housing

Authority’s Plan of Transformation

the residents of Wells/Madden Park

were relocated and the complex was

torn down. The last units were demolished

in 2004, greatly reducing the

population density of the neighborhood.

This meant much less money was being

spent on the 39th Street corridor and

conditions began to deteriorate. One

by one local businesses, the economic

engines of the corridor, began to close.

Small businesses such as Sunrise Foods

and Grocery, The Blue Sea Drive-In,

Cee’s Gyros, Midway Barbershop, Dorothy’s

Barbershop and Atlanta Liquors,

facing declining revenues ceased operations.

Businesses strong enough to relocate

to other more lucrative areas did

so and a cycle of decline and disinvestment

began which lead to the corridor’s

current state.

East 39th Street has some apparent

strengths and there are positive changes

occurring that bode well for its future.

Some pluses on the corridor include

an Average Daily Traffic count at Illinois

Interstate 90/94 of 232,800 cars per day

and 119,700 per day on the east end

at Lake Shore Drive. While population

is expected to decline slightly by 2015,

in Douglas (2010 population 27,022) on

the north side of 39th, median income

rose from $26,720 in 2000 to $31,526 in

2010. This trend is expected to continue

through 2015. Grand Boulevard (population

26,651) to the south has a median

income of $25,249, up from $19,723 in

2000. These numbers are in inflation

adjusted 2009 dollars. Fifteen percent

of Douglas residents have a Master’s Degree

or higher, 17% a Bachelor’s degree.

The numbers from the half and 1 mile

trade areas are similar and improve as

the 3 mile trade area is approached. Access

to funds is another of the corridor’s

strengths. East 39th street is within

both TIF 61 and Enterprise Zone 2, each

of which can supply development and

incentive funds that can be used to

improve the corridor. 39th Street has

political assets, as well. In Pat Dowell

of the 3rd Ward and Will Burns of the

4th, the area has two highly competent,

dynamic aldermen to help lead future


The corridor faces many challenges,

also. A significant land use problem

along 39th Street is the high number of

vacant structures and lots. In addition,

at the center of the corridor, from King

Drive to Langley are small, narrow lots

that are zoned for higher quality uses

than their size allows. These small lot

sizes restrict the types and sizes of businesses

willing to locate on 39th street.

The corridor is locked in on both sides

by dull, uninformative highway exits and

blocks of empty lots as you approach

from both the east and the west, making

what few stores that are present

there difficult to find. Someone exiting

from the major arteries to both the east

and the west must drive two to three

blocks before coming upon the East Pershing

Commercial Corridor. In addition,

Interstate 90/94 forms a barrier that

effectively cuts East Pershing off from

neighborhoods to the west. Outside

threats to the corridor include 500,000

square feet of retail development in the

nearby Lake Meadows Shopping Mall

and the oversaturation of retail development

in the United States. Since 2000,

developers have built 1 billion square

feet of new retail 1 . Economically, 39th

1 “R & G Annual Market Summaries from REIN RETAIL

REPORT.” Rein & Grossoehme Commercial Real Estate)- Brokers-

Shopping Centers, Office & Industrial Buildings, Mini

Warehouse/Self Storage and Land Investments (for Sale);

Retail, Office, Industrial Commercial Space Leasing; Tenant

Representation. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. .