Shops and Lofts at 47 Sponsors Event to Celebrate Community and Business Resilience in Chicago’s Bronzeville Neighborhood

June 17, 2020

Shops and Lofts at 47, developed and managed by national real estate developer Skilken Gold, sponsored “Beautify Bronzeville Businesses,” an event designed to celebrate the resilience of the community and the businesses at the mixed-use development, which are temporarily boarded up due to recent protests over the death of George Floyd.

“As a company, and as individuals, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and support those speaking out against racial injustice,” said Frank Petruziello, Skilken Gold’s President of Development. “The majority of protestors, here and elsewhere across the country, were peaceful. Looting and vandalism were painful bi-products of an otherwise righteous cause.”

“Bronzeville is extremely resilient; so are our businesses—and we are committed to their revitalization. The event was a celebration of our collective strength and perseverance. It’s time to feel a sense of hope,” Petruziello added.

Skilken Gold partnered with tenants, local vendors and community and project partners to host the event, which was held at Shops and Lofts at 47, at the corner of 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, on Saturday morning, June 13. More than 50 neighborhood volunteers attended and, on plywood panels, painted inspirational murals designed by local artists Damon Reed and Rahmaan Statik. The event was coordinated by Syda Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Organic Oneness, a nonprofit educational and community building organization. Music was provided by DJ Brian Gorman of Diverse City. The neighborhood McDonalds, located across the street, donated food.

In addition to Skilken Gold, event project partners include TROY Enterprises, The Community Builders, Quad Communities Development Corporation, Engage Civil, 4th Ward’s Sophia King, Luv Institute, SSA ’47 and the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention.

“We are all in this together and, as a result, Bronzeville will emerge stronger than ever,” said Petruziello.

Painting of the murals will continue throughout the week, and according to Petruziello, the art will live on, once the plywood panels are removed.  “We’d love to see them donated to local schools to continue communicating their hopeful message among our youth.”

Businesses at the award-winning retail and residential development include Walmart Neighborhood Market, Associated Bank, Snipes, Subway, Uncle Remus and Fadi’s Hair Salon. Uncle Remus and Associated Bank are currently open. Snipes plans to reopen as early as the end of the month. The remainder of the businesses are waiting to announce their finalized reopening schedules.

Photo courtesy of Nancy Wong, One Planet Ops

Founded in 1922, Skilken Gold is a fourth-generation, family owned real estate development company, specializing in retail development for some of the North America’s biggest brands, including Sheetz, Starbucks, Publix, Walmart, DQ, Wendy’s, Kroger, Andy’s Frozen Custard, KFC, Burger King, Popeye’s and other major brands.

The company also develops and redevelops shopping centers, and currently owns and operates five shopping centers in Ohio, as well as a mixed-use development with retail and residential space in Chicago, Illinois.

Skilken Gold is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.