Chicago TREND, in strategic partnership with The Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF), strengthens neighborhoods through retail investments

Benefit Chicago is proud to announce a $5 million investment in Chicago TREND (Transforming Retail Economics for Neighborhood Development), a social enterprise that identifies untapped retail investment opportunities, shortens the time frame for retail development, reduces risk for retailers and developers, and provides the financial incentives necessary to execute strategic transactions.

Created in 2016 with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust, Chicago TREND’s work is enabled by a close strategic collaboration with The Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF). TREND offers a unique value proposition through its market orientation and its sophisticated predictive data analytics, financing tools, and extensive strategic relationships among retailers, developers, city officials, and community organizations.

Which neighborhoods in Chicago will benefit from this funding?

CCLF will use Benefit Chicago’s $5 million loan to work with TREND to support projects in neighborhoods throughout Chicago that can be strengthened by strategic investments in retail, restaurants, entertainment, and other services. Examples of such investments include:

  • Financing the buildout of an urgent care and daycare center in South Shore.
  • Supporting a restaurant, UPS store, and other small businesses in a mixed-use project in Woodlawn.
  • Acquiring property for a mixed-used, arts-related development in Uptown and Bronzeville.

Each of these projects includes a developer, property owners, or business operator from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. With the loan from Benefit Chicago, the CCLF, working with TREND will continue to support these voices in future investments.

“CCLF’s and Chicago TREND’s commitment to strategic retail development is empowering local entrepreneurs and strengthening communities,” said William W. Towns, Executive Director of Benefit Chicago. “Benefit Chicago’s loan of $5 million to CCLF will enable Chicago TREND to support the franchise ownership opportunities, strategic property acquisitions, and catalytic commercial developments led by entrepreneurs of color in neighborhoods ready for investment.”

Chicago TREND has been carefully designed and structured to help developers and property owners attract and secure retail investments that might not otherwise materialize in these areas. The investment involves thoughtful consideration of the right neighborhood, location, and moment in time to facilitate change that will strengthen the surrounding community.

At a macro-level, these investments will contribute to increased population growth, additional private-sector investment, greater diversity, higher property values, and enhanced quality of life in these areas. At a neighborhood-level, stakeholders will directly benefit from increased amenities, small business opportunities, and employment opportunities that were previously nonexistent.