Remarks by Jonathan Fanton at the Announcement of the Metropolis Project
February 15, 2007 | Speech | Community & Economic Development

Thank you, Quintin.  I am very pleased to be here and to celebrate this truly visionary investment in a community where there are signs of rebirth everywhere.  This day also is a testament to Mayor Daley, to his bold vision for a Chicago, and his commitment to turning that vision into reality.  His leadership has renewed and energized this city and its neighborhoods.  And we recognize the moral force of Alderman Dorothy Tillman, whose work helps ensure that the process of renewal honors community values and distributes the benefits of growth fairly.

The “Plan for Transformation” of public housing spurred the creation of the Partnership for New Communities--a group of people who truly care about the City and an initiative that I am proud to represent here today.  Through the Plan, the City is reclaiming neighborhoods and improving the lives of thousands of City residents; the Partnership is pleased to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime effort and opportunity for Chicago.

Started by the MacArthur Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust, the Partnership for New Communities has brought together leaders from the civic and corporate sectors, the faith communities, universities, and foundations.  Together, we are raising 15 million dollars and working to achieve two goals.  First, to ensure that those in public housing will find jobs and stay employed; and, second, to spur the economic development that will integrate the new, mixed-income communities into our broader economic fabric.

The Partnership is dedicated to providing good information to stimulate sensible and sensitive public and private investment.  One of the Partnership’s first grants, to the Civic Consulting Alliance, produced the finding that consumers who live in the area bounded by 31st Street, 63rd Street, the Dan Ryan, and the Lake spent almost $1 billion dollars each year.  But 60 per cent of those funds went outside of their neighborhood.  Our hope was to attract the interest of investors to bring retailers and other businesses to the area – to keep more of those dollars and attract new jobs and more economic activity to the neighborhood.  We were not disappointed.

One of the Partnership’s members, Quintin Primo (and his firm Capri Capital) looked past the vacant lots and empty buildings and saw a place that would reward serious investors.  With backing from Bank of America (also a Partnership supporter) , he set to work.

Quintin saw hidden economic opportunity.  He recognized something that exists in every neighborhood in this great city --untapped human potential: thousands of people with dreams, with high hopes for their children and ambitions for their community. 

Quintin is a wonderful member of the Partnership for New Communities; full of ideas and wise counsel.  Through Metropolis, he imagined the neighborhood of the future, built on respect for the talent and tradition of the present. He has the courage, confidence, and determination to turn that imagining into a reality.   The Partnership for New Communities is delighted that our work helped provide him with the inspiration and the hard evidence that made this stunning development possible. 

Thank you.

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