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Commercial District Development

Neighborhood commercial corridors can be sources of pride for residents and key focal points for visitors and shoppers. In addition to providing goods, services and jobs, strong commercial districts are places where residents meet and interact. Storefronts filled with thriving, engaged business owners can be great neighborhood assets, while empty or derelict stores can easily hamper community development plans.

Across Chicago, as in many cities, commercial district managers at various local chambers of commerce, community development corporations, and other organizations work hard to keep their corridors safe and strong. These neighborhood advocates connect local businesses to the larger economy and residents to new business opportunities.

LISC Chicago supports local organizations working to improve their commercial districts in three ways:


  • LISC supports local commercial district managers and related staff to build organizational capacity towards other sustainable funding sources such as Special Service Areas (SSAs).
  • LISC provides seed funding for small, strategic commercial district projects that can launch larger efforts.


  • For neighborhood organizations planning a new Special Service Area, LISC provides no-interest Project Initiation Loans (PILs) to cover startup costs.
  • LISC provides pre-development loans for mixed-use and other commercial and industrial projects crucial to a community development strategy.

LISC grants and loans are subject to availability. Here are the terms.

Network and Capacity Building

  • LISC convenes regular lunch roundtables for local commercial district managers from across Chicago to share ideas, discuss current trends and help each other identify solutions.
  • LISC staff and consultants assist neighborhoods within LISC Chicago’s network with advice and technical support for commercial district strategies and projects.

For more information on LISC Chicago’s commercial district development work, contact Dionne Baux or Jake Ament.


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About LISC Chicago

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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