The City supports the effort to amend the agreement that prohibits the renovation of the Edmondson Village Shopping Center | Jobs Reply

The city is on board with a developer’s plan to amend several parts of the 1945 agreement that includes the Edmondson Village Shopping Center and some neighboring properties.

Earlier this week, the city showed its support by signing a “covenant amendment” that Chicago TREND, the developer, has been presenting to property owners on active land parcels. The city has six locations covered by the agreement, including the Enoch Pratt Library branch on Edmondson Avenue.

Chicago TREND wants to buy the shopping center and renovate it but it is subject to the condition that certain parts of the agreement are amended. The restrictions imposed by the agreement, such as the design of buildings, made it difficult to reinvent it.

Chicago TREND wants to add more restaurants, sit-down restaurants and potential high-rises to the vacant back lot.

Andy Frank, who is the housing officer in this city, said that the amendment of this agreement should open the opportunity for Edmondson Village to be a meeting place for people, create job opportunities and strengthen communities. “Now freed from restrictions that date back more than 70 years, the revitalization and development of Edmondson Village could bring significant benefits to the surrounding areas of this troubled facility,” Frank said in an email.

In order for the covenants to be amended, a majority of property owners must agree to the changes.

The developer only wants to change certain parts of the covenants: restrictions on multi-use residential properties, building design and signage, and setback restrictions related to Edmondson Avenue. There is also a request to remove the part of the agreement which, although not enforceable, restricts the occupation of the land by “any Negro or person of Negro extractions” unless he is a slave.

Chicago TREND CEO Lyneir Richardson previously told the Baltimore Banner “if we can’t amend the agreement, we may not be able to continue the project.” Many residents were unaware that there was an agreement in place and expressed a mixture of support and skepticism about signing on to amend parts of it.

The city’s latest support for amending the agreement follows an October announcement that the mayor’s office contributed $8 million to the renovations.

Michelle Merritt with Chicago TREND said they have decided to keep the number of signatures they have received so far confidential, but they hope to get the remaining signatures they need at a public meeting later this month.

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