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A women’s sneakers store, Queenz, and a men’s shoe store, Leaders 1354, are opening new locations in Washington Park, located at 353-363 E. 51st St.
The new multi-million dollar mixed-use development will include six eco-sustainable apartments, retail spaces, indoor and outdoor dining, and an elevated gym. All of this comes from Corey Gilkey and James Daughrity, co-owners of Policy Kings, an initiative that “combines architectural innovation with environmentalism, cultural elevation diversity, and effortless cool,” according to Block Club Chicago. Although the project is broken up into four phases, Leaders1354 and Queenz grand openings are planned for mid-October.
This brand new two-story, 17,220 square-foot project is fully opening in the former home of Cain’s Barber College by late 2023. The duo of black owners has received support from Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), as well as pitched in 10 percent of their own capital for the $6.1 million project. $2.3 million of that comes from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant. On top of that, the team is working with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Chicago Community Loan Fund on the remainder of the funding.
“We saw a building that had been abandoned for over ten years,” Daughrity tells Block Club Chicago. “Instead of complaining about it, we actually put our money together to purchase it, which we did in cash because no bank wanted to give us a loan. That’s how we secured the site.”