Reimagine: Transforming Vacant Institutional Buildings - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC Roundtable
Reimagine: Transforming Vacant Institutional Buildings

October 2, 2014, Noon to 1:30 p.m.

This is a past event

MPC, 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, Chicago, Ill.

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How can institutional buildings, like the recently closed Stewart School in Uptown, find new life in a community?

Missed this MPC Roundtable? Watch the recording of the entire event.

Last year, Chicago Public Schools closed more than 50 schools across the city. Now vacant, these behemoth buildings join countless factories and warehouses that have sat empty for decades. We know that vacant properties pose significant challenges to communities; they attract crime, depreciate local property values, burden local fire, police and building departments, are difficult to acquire, finance and rehabilitate and undermine quality of life for nearby residents. What we hear less often, though, are the stories of how they can also serve as a canvas for meeting new needs in communities.  

How do we transform these vacant institutional buildings into community assets? Join the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) for a roundtable to learn how local practitioners have successfully engaged residents, acquired and rehabilitated vacant, institutional buildings and returned them to productive use. MPC will also share how we engaged Uptown stakeholders in developing a vision for a closed public school in the neighborhood.

Panelists include:

  • Margaret Haywood, Inspiration Corporation
  • Sarah White, Artspace
  • Debbie Dixon, Gorman & Company

Following the roundtable, from 1:45 to 3 p.m., MPC will host a workshop that answers these key questions:

  • "How can I work with a community development finance institution (CDFI) to redevelop a vacant building in my community?"  Robin Schabes, IFF
  • "How can I work with financing tools like New Markets Tax Credits?" — Kevin Goldsmith, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • "How can Cook County be a resource in this kind of effort?"  Michael Jasso, Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

The workshop is free—please select registration for both the roundtable and workshop if you plan to attend both.

This roundtable is generously sponsored by Wight & Company and Jones Lang LaSalle. 


This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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