C.A.R. Good Neighbor Awards Recognize Properties that Positively Impact Metropolitan Neighborhoods

by Kasey Chronis

The interior of the Walgreens at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., which won a Good Neighbor award.


Chicago Association of Relators will be hosting its annual Good Neighbor Awards on Thursday, May 22nd from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event will take place at The Montgomery Club located at 500 W. Superior. The awards, which have been presented since 1992, showcase both commercial and residential properties that have been rehabbed to enhance and transform communities.

Originally, the Good Neighbor Awards were created to encourage community advancement on the north side of the city. Property owners who brought positive changes to their neighborhoods were identified. Over the last two decades, however, C.A.R has presented awards to properties throughout the entire metropolitan area. The awards have evolved to encourage groundbreaking developments and transformation to properties that go “above and beyond.” The awards recognize developers and owners who bring unique and innovative ideas to the marketplace, which exceed those of their peers.

It is not rare for property developers who win these awards to be challenged with barriers throughout the duration of the projects. For example, in recent years the first office-to-residential conversion in the Loop was recognized, in part, due to the difficulties the developer dealt with regarding the City Department and neighboring buildings.

This year, 42 properties will be recognized throughout the city for setting new standards for urban revitalization. Included among the winners is Back of the Yards College Prep High School—the first to be joined with a Chicago Public Library—located at 2111 W. 47th St. The school was completed in October 2013 and will eventually house 1,200 students.

The awards also recognize buildings that would otherwise need to be demolished, but have been revamped to enhance the neighboring area. An iconic city property at 850 Lake Shore Dr. is being named for its transformation into a modern residence with upscale amenities. A crime-driven Woodlawn graystone also made the list. With its new restoration, the property is no longer a threat to its community. In addition, a vacant landmark building located at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave. was transformed into Walgreens’ third flagship store.

This year, C.A.R named the Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse as its Top Honoree. The property also won the Bruce Abrams Award, which was created in 2000 and named after the late founder and president of LR Development. The field house, which was once an empty railroad yard, has transformed Chinatown’s community, offering amenities such as a six-lane pool and fitness center. Only one Bruce Abrams Award is given each year and the field house, which has “community” etched onto its exterior in Chinese characters, was determined as the most exceptional property of this year’s renovations.

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