The Pioneer Bank building is a landmark in Chicago. Built in 1925, this landmark was designed by architect Karl Vitzthum, a native of Munich. At the time of its construction, the bank was in the "golden age" of banking and served as a community anchor in the neighborhood. Now, it is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. This project will transform the historic bank into a new cultural and commercial center, which will include a Latino cultural center.
The historic bank was originally built in neoclassical architectural style. It was designed to symbolize that money was safe. But the bank has sat empty and uninhabited for thirteen years. That's why the city of Chicago is working to revive the building.
To do this, the city is soliciting proposals for the redevelopment of the Pioneer Bank site. Developers are encouraged to present their plans at community roundtables, which will allow the community to give their input on the project. City officials hope that the proposed redevelopment will attract investment to the neighborhood. A survey will also be taken to gauge the opinions of residents and community members. If a developer wins the competition, they may be eligible for historic tax credits, according to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot's INVEST South/West initiative.
The proposal includes a new nine-story residential building, which will be connected to the old bank. The new structure will also feature terraced outdoor space, stadium seating, a public plaza, and a children's zone. Also planned is a branch of the Chicago Public Library, and office space for Humboldt Park Family Health.
Team Pioneros, which is comprised of Park Row Development and JGMA Architects, has led the planning effort for this project. The organization, which is Latinx-owned, has been chosen as the lead developers of this initiative. They are currently seeking funding for the project, which will include 75 affordable housing units. These units will be a mix of one-, two-, and four-bedrooms. Approximately fifteen percent of the units will be three-beds.
JGMA is committed to enhancing the lives of the local residents and businesses in the area, and believes that quality design has a unique ability to shape the way the community functions. As such, they are dedicated to active community involvement, and to dynamic organization of the space they design.
The team plans to develop the Pioneer Bank site as a hub for the Latino community, showcasing the region's rich diversity. Office space for JGMA will be on the upper floors of the building, and a Latino cultural center will be on the lower floor. In addition to the offices, the Pioneer Bank building will also house a small wellness and game room. On the second floor, there will be flexible gathering space, and the bank will have an open office mezzanine.
The Pioneer Bank site is a part of the INVEST South/West initiative, which is focused on revitalizing neighborhoods on the South side of the city. Currently, the city's building inventory is older than the farther west cities. And as a result, older buildings offer the opportunity to create new uses through a suburban zoning ordinance.