More than a market.
Located at 63rd and Racine Avenue in Englewood, the Go Green Community Fresh Market completes the first phase of the “Go Green on Racine” masterplan to revitalize a neighborhood severely challenged by long-term systemic disinvestment. The initiative is led by Englewood organizations – the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Teamwork Englewood, EG Woode, and R.A.G.E (Resident Association of Greater Englewood).
Many low-income neighborhoods in Chicago lack access to grocery stores with healthy foods; instead, they rely on corner stores serving primarily processed foods and a limited supply of fresh food. The Fresh Market ambitiously rethinks the typology of the urban corner store. With locally sourced produce and ready-to-eat meals prepared by Chicago-area chefs, the Fresh Market remains a familiar place but offers much more than a typical store – it provides a dignified shopping experience. The Fresh Market is the only fresh produce retailer within a 10-minute walking distance for approximately 6,000 residents. It is a safe place for healthy, fresh food, a place to connect, and a source of neighborhood pride and ownership.
The project adapts a vacant 1906 two-story masonry building with significant structural deficiencies and fire damage. Though constructing a new building may have been more expedient, the project’s success hinges on using what’s already familiar and trusted. For example, residents of 63rd and Racine have a history of purchasing their food at this location, with the first floor serving as a retail space, most recently a corner store – “A Lot To Save.” So reusing a structure that has survived the neighborhood’s decline is meaningful and symbolic. And equally important is the delicate balance between creating something that feels familiar with something that piques curiosity. Through large new storefront windows and familiar corner store lighting, the Fresh Market welcomes and generates interest while reassuring customers that the experience is not out of reach.
Inside, West African fabrics were used to develop a color palette, signaling this isn’t a generic high-end grocery; it is by and for Englewood. Above the store, training and conference room space is available for classes on healthy food choices or food prep. The acquisition of the open lot to the east of the building will expand what the Fresh Market can provide, including outdoor landscaped community space for events and creating a community garden space.
The Go Green Community Fresh Market is a vital community asset that preserves neighborhood history and aesthetics to uplift a neighborhood.
To learn more about “Go Green on Racine” click here!
General Contractor: UJAMMA Construction Inc.
Structural Engineer: Enspect Engineering
MEP/FP Engineer: dbHMS.
Civil Engineer: Terra Engineering
Lighting Consultant: Lux Populi
Kitchen Consultant: TriMark
Photography: Tom Harris Architectural Photography