The Go Green Community Fresh Market officially opened today with a ceremony on-site. Located at 63rd Street and Racine Avenue in Englewood, this is the first phase of a masterplan driven by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), in collaboration with the Residents Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE), Teamwork Englewood, and E.G. Woode. As one of six finalists in the 2020 Chicago Prize, the Fresh Market has been recognized as a community resource that will revitalize a neighborhood severely challenged by long-term, systemic disinvestment.
Leading this adaptive reuse project, Wheeler Kearns Architects transformed a red-brick two-story building, constructed in 1906, into a new community resource created by and for the Englewood community. The 6,400-square-foot program houses a cooperative-inspired fresh food market, offering locally-sourced products, healthy ready-to-eat meals prepared by Chicago-area chefs, a small indoor dining area on the first floor along with offices and spaces for classes and community outreach on the second floor. Formerly a corner store with four apartment units on the second floor, the building remained vacant and decaying following a fire in 2015. The decision to restore rather than build anew was a deliberate one; by bringing part of a threatened urban landscape back to life, the Fresh Market reaffirms the neighborhood’s potential to be reinvigorated. This is unequivocally a community-driven enterprise, shaped by sustained engagement, having local builders on the team and an ambitious model of food health forged with local providers.
The design is modeled on the traditional urban corner store, with the team rethinking this typology to best serve the local community, achieving a balance of familiarity and newness. In this way, it is a familiar and safe place for residents to shop for healthy fresh food they would not usually be able to access at a corner store.