SSA61 News

Harper Court Phase II

CHICAGO, IL — Harper Court Phase II has brought on new developers and a new design, but the laboratory research and office space in the heart of Hyde Park still remains the same.

Alderman Sophia King, 4th Ward, hosted a public meeting on June 23, 2022 for community updates and feedback.

Phase one of the Harper Court project included a now-complete Hyatt Place Hotel off Harper Avenue and a separate, approximately 400,000 square foot office building on the parcel’s southeast corner. 

The new project will redevelop a large parcel at the corner of East 52nd Street and South Harper Avenue for a 300,000-square-foot, 13-story lab and office building. 

According to developers, the new, 215-foot building is about 50 feet shorter than the Wexford design, and will include nine floors of lab and office space. Parking and a mechanical floor will go above retail establishments on the ground level, serving as a buffer between the retail use and upstairs lab and office space. 

Plans for the long-stalled development now call for a 13-story tower to be located just north of the Hyatt Place Chicago-South, 5225 S. Harper Ave.

Developers plan to build on top of the Chef Erick Williams’ new Po’boy and Tavern at 5215 S. Harper Ave. They will demolish the building that housed the Park 52 restaurant. Other existing retail on Harper and 52nd Street will remain, while green space on the nearly three-acre parcel will include seating and an outdoor amenity venue for STEM-based events, according to the developers. The project presented additional parking and the elimination of outdoor loading docks as well.

The second phase is expected to break ground later this year.

SSA61 News

New SSA 61 Hyde Park Program Manager

CHICAGO, IL – The South East Chicago Commission has announced Roderick “Rod” Sawyer as the new Program Manager of Special Service Area #61 (Downtown Hyde Park Chicago). Sawyer will oversee aspects of the vitality and development of the business district, marketing initiatives and streetscape maintenance to help the business district flourish.

“After an extensive search, the SECC was thrilled to bring Rod onto the team. With over 30+ years of Hyde Park experience as a resident, entrepreneur and volunteer, Rod is the perfect person to support the needs of Downtown Hyde Park Chicago’s business district. I am certain his passion for the community will bring a new vibe that embraces the history and sustainability of the community,” said Diane Burnham, SECC’s Executive Director.

Rod Sawyer is a long time resident of Hyde Park, and has been very involved in the Hyde Park community in education with the formation of the Mariam Canter feeder middle school (now Kenwood Academy Academic Center), a member and past board member of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, a member of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Council, Book Sale Manager for the Hyde Park/Kenwood Community Conference’s Used Book Sale, and Technical/Operations Consultant for the Chicago Hyde Park Village. As a community member, Sawyer is actively involved in qualify of life and public safety initiatives within the community.

“This feels like a homecoming of sorts, and is a dream opportunity for me,” says Sawyer, who, along with his wife Brenda, are long-term residents of Hyde Park. The Sawyers raised two children in the neighborhood.

SSA #61, branded as Downtown Hyde Park Chicago, is a local tax district that funds expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within a specific footprint. Downtown Hyde Park Chicago includes only the areas contributing to the commercial tax levy, which is comprised of the 53rd and 55th Street corridors connected by Lake Park Avenue.

SSA-funded projects typically include but are not limited to: public way maintenance and beautification; district marketing; business retention/attraction; and other commercial and economic development initiatives.

The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is the local non-profit Service Provider for SSA #61 and SSA Commissioners oversee and recommend the annual services, budget, and Service Provider Agency to the City.

SSA61 News

Hyde Park Vitality Committee Presents The Business Marketing Toolkit

Want to improve your business?

Join us for The Business Marketing Toolkit” on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 from 9:00 am – 10:30 am.

Think about your website, social media, and search results – three key areas that could deliver better business results today.

Learn the WHAT, WHY & HOW with Amy Srodon (Marketing Communications Manager, University of Chicago – Commercial Real Estate Operations) and 
Jared L. Kelly (Principal Consultant, CEI Media Group).

This free webinar is presented by the Hyde Park Vitality Committee (Special Service Area 61 – Downtown Hyde ParkSouth East Chicago CommissionHyde Park Chamber of CommerceNichols Park Advisory Council, and the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement).

SSA61 News

SSA61 Seeks Local Suppliers for Cleaning Services

Special Service Area #61 announced two RFPs seeking local suppliers for (1) sidewalk power washing for spring and fall 2022 and (2) litter abatement, recycling and non-adhesive sign removal.

Download the Sidewalk Power Washing RFP.

Proposal response for sidewalk power washing are due by close of business (5pm) Friday April 8, 2022 via email.

Download the Litter Abatement, Recycling RFP.

Response to the litter abatement, recycling and non-adhesive sign removal RFP are due by close of business (5pm) Friday March 18, 2022 via email.

South East Chicago Commission is the management service provider for Special Service Area #61 Hyde Park.

Farmers Market SSA61 News

Hyde Park Farmers Market Invites 2022 Vendors

Spring is on the way! The Hyde Park Farmers Market (HPFM) returns on Sunday, June 5, 2022! This is an open invitation for vendors and businesses to join the 2022 farmers market. APPLICATION

The market is happy to be back at the Hyde Park Bank Parking Lot for a second year! Last year’s vendor slots filled up quickly and we expect the same as Chicago fully returns to summer events. Follow HP Farmers Market on Facebook.

The HPFM will kick off on Sunday June 5th. The season will be 17 weeks long ending September 25, 2022. Shoppers are invited each Sunday from 9:00am-2:00pm.

Our goal for this year’s market is to provide a curated experience that is truly a value add to the community and area business owners.  We encourage brick and mortar businesses located in the SSA #61 footprint, and past and new vendors to apply online

The Hyde Park Farmers Market is co-produced by Special Service Area (SSA) #61 aka Downtown Hyde Park Chicago and the South East Chicago Commission (SECC).

SSA61 News

Special Service Area #61 Releases 2021 Annual Report

Special Service Area #61 Hyde Park Chicago presents the
2021 Annual Report. To view the report, please click here.

SSA61 News

53rd and Blackstone Mixed-Use Property Sold for $10.3 Million

Keller Williams (KW) ONEChicago recently brokered the 40-unit, mixed-use property at 5228 S Blackstone in Hyde Park for $10,350,000. Records show this sale is the community’s largest transaction for a single, mixed-use property with less than 100 units.

ONEChicago’s Frank Martinez, Multifamily Division Director, and Tony Hardy, Multifamily Division Executive Director, represented both the buyer and seller, respectively. The buyer plans to keep the 5228 S Blackstone as a long-term investment, as the property includes:

The Hyde Park Salon & Barber: This shop was featured in the hit movie, Barbershop.  Barbers have been operating out of that location continually since 1927.

Boston Market: As the anchor tenant, the food chain has thrived at this location since the mid-1990s.

Betty O’s Day Spa: The location was listed as one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” in the 1980s.

Read the entire news story, click here.


New Public Health Order Requirements 1-3-22


Effective January 3, 2022, Section 3 of Public Health Order No. 2021-2 (the “Order”) requires that each covered entity develop and keep a written record describing the protocol for implementing and enforcing
the requirements of the Order. Such written record shall be available for inspection upon request of any City official authorized to enforce the Order.

Important Form for Businesses: Download

Effective Monday, January 3, 2022, the Chicago Vaccine Requirements will apply to the following public indoor places:  

  • Indoor Dining: Establishments where food or beverages are served, including, but not limited to, restaurants, bars, fast food establishments, coffee shops, tasting rooms, cafeterias, food courts, dining areas of grocery stores, breweries, wineries, distilleries, banquet halls, and hotel ballrooms; and 
  • Indoor Fitness: Gyms and fitness venues, including, but not limited to, gyms, recreation facilities, fitness centers, yoga, Pilates, cycling, barre, and dance studios, hotel gyms, boxing and kickboxing gyms, fitness boot camps, and other facilities used for conducting indoor group fitness classes; and 
  • Indoor entertainment and recreation venues where food or beverages are served: Including, but not limited to, movie theaters, music and concert venues, live performance venues, adult entertainment venues, commercial event and party venues, sports arenas, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, card rooms, family entertainment centers, play areas, pool and billiard halls, and other recreational game centers.


In response to the current COVID-19 surge of cases and hospitalizations in suburban Cook County, Cook County Department of Public Health today issued a new mitigation order for its suburban Cook County jurisdiction. Specifically, the order calls for proof of vaccination for customers of indoor settings where food or drink are served for on-premises consumption, like restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, and in fitness facilities. The order will go into effect January 3, 2022. Read More

SSA61 News

Artists Present New Mural Installations in Hyde Park

Special Service Area #61, in partnership with its service provider, South East Chicago Commission (SECC), is proud to announce the completion of two new murals in Downtown Hyde Park. #SSA61

Building upon the history of local Hyde Park murals, SSA 61 selected two artists, Nico Berry and Izze Ortiz, to bring new creative art, culture and vibrancy to the community.

Nico Berry installed the mural titled “Harold’s Parakeets” adjacent to the 53rd Street Metra viaduct. Izze Ortiz installed the “Essence of Growth” adjacent to the 55th Street Metra viaduct.


In their own words…

Nico Berry, a native Chicagoan who attended Kenwood Academy and Ancona Schools, was commissioned for the 53rd Street location to install a mural titled Harold’s Parakeets. Berry has over two decades of experience painting murals.

“My vision was to create a mural that reflects and celebrates the character, history, and diverse population of Hyde Park, the neighborhood where I was born and raised. It features a large portrait of Harold Washington, a number of Monk Parakeets, as well as architectural and natural elements that evoke Hyde Park and the city of Chicago,” said Berry.

Follow on Instagram @nicosprayitloud

Emerging artist and native Chicagoan, Izze Ortiz was commissioned for the 55th Street location. Creatively titled Essence of Growth, the mural’s design includes three intergenerational characters at different places in their life.

“I was thinking a lot about self-love. When you love yourself, you can be in service to others. It’s important that people love each other,” said Ortiz.

Follow on Instagram: @heyitsizze

View Official Press Release 11-30-2021

Shop Local SSA61 News

SSA61 Shoppers Guide

Just in time for the major shopping days this holiday season, Special Service Area #61 released an interactive Shoppers Guide.  #smallbizlocal2021

Inside you will find easy access to participating businesses, Black Friday highlights, an interactive Small Business Saturday map of Hyde Park, grand openings, holiday events and more.