Ravenswood: Creative Industry & Proactive Support
The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) is a non-profit organization that provides resources for entrepreneurs in Ravenswood and its surrounding communities. We collaborate with the City of Chicago through a variety of strategic partnerships and programs. For instance, since 2017 we have participated in the Department of Planning and Development’s Local Industrial Retention Initiative by providing enhanced services for manufacturers located in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor and across Chicago’s north east sector.
Defining our neighborhood since the late nineteenth-century, Ravenswood’s Industrial Corridor is one of the few remaining manufacturing corridors on Chicago’s Northside. Along Ravenswood Avenue, you’ll find talented people making motors, transformers, truck locks and hinges, clothes, snacks, and lots of beer. We work to keep it that way by offering specialized services to local manufacturers, makers, and industrial businesses.
How GRCC Supports Manufacturers:
- Helping businesses to expand or relocate to space in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor by providing information about the corridor, the neighborhood, and/or a particular industry
- Providing launch assistance for new small businesses
- Offering guidance on City-related issues and City of Chicago Economic Development Incentives
- Connecting businesses to financial resources
- Assistance with hiring and finding workforce development resources
- Consulting on land-use planning, infrastructure, and zoning
Chicago’s Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI)
Through the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), Chicago’s LIRI program provides assistance to not-for-profit organizations that offer economic development services to companies located in and around designated industrial corridors. As a partner in this program, we work toward job retention and creation, find solutions for individual business needs, and make connections between businesses, their communities, and City services. Our LIRI program delivers services to businesses in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor and to manufacturers located north of Addison St and east of Lincoln Ave.
The Malt Row Committee
GRCC established Chicago’s Malt Row in 2017, helping support a growing craft beverage industry that has become a defining feature of Ravenswood.
To further understand the needs of this industry, we formed the Malt Row Committee, comprised of industry leaders and stake holders. Throughout the year, we meet to discuss opportunities, challenges, tourism and marketing initiatives, and other collaborations.
Committee Projects Include
- Organizing the Ravenswood On Tap craft beer and music festival
- Organizing the Malt Row on Damen beer tasting stroll
- Publishing an annual Malt Row Brewery Guide
- Hosting an annual Malt Row Media Tour
- Organizing collaborative brew days and releases
Malt Row Media Tour & Brewery Guide
To promote our robust craft brewing and distilling hub and surrounding community, GRCC organizes an annual spring Malt Row Media Tour. At this invite-only event, roughly 50 media members and influencers are treated to a curated evening of behind-the-scenes tours, tastings, and interviews.
Each year, this tour results in a range of local, regional, national, and international coverage, including print and digital media spotlights, television appearances, and more.
For Illinois Craft Beer Week, we publish 10,000 copies of our Malt Row Brewery guidebook, a vital tool in increasing neighborhood tourism in Ravenswood.
Finding and retaining quality employees is key to the long-term success of any small business.
To assist businesses in filling open positions with local talent, manufacturers have free access to posting jobs to our online Community Job Board.
Have a job to post? Contact email@example.com.
Industrial Coffee Pop-Ups
The Ravenswood Industrial Corridor features a variety of large buildings that offer small and medium sized spaces for manufacturers. As businesses grow, expand, and evolve, some of these spaces rotate tenants often.
Each year, we host building-wide coffee pop-ups where we introduce ourselves and share information on upcoming events and resources.
Learning & Networking Opportunities
Throughout the year, we host a variety of business networking and educational events designed to strengthen our local manufacturing community. We work with business leaders and partner organizations to create professional development programs that prepare you for success.
Several times a year, our staff surveys the Ravenswood Corridor to update our database of infrastructure needs and issues. Each spring and fall, we send updates to our partners at the City, including the Department of Planning and Development (DPD).
Ravenswood Industrial Corridor: Planning for the Future
The City of Chicago has worked with community development organizations and chambers like ours to develop a strategic retention plan for manufacturing communities. In 2017, as part of former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s industrial corridor modernization initiative, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) conducted a comprehensive study of the Ravenswood Corridor.
That same year, the GRCC received the Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI) grant in order to address the issues facing our industrial community. Through the grant, we sought to create a viable industrial corridor through the promotion of land-use stability, increased public and private investment, job retention/growth, and improved industry-neighborhood relations.
The Ravenswood Industrial Corridor Framework
The Ravenswood Framework Plan offers recommendations on land use, employment, transportation, sustainability, and even design-guidelines. The framework also provides information on land-use changes over time, employment trends, and real estate.
As a critical partner of the businesses in Ravenswood, the GRCC and SSA 31 play a key role in the implementation of the Ravenswood Framework.
Ravenswood Framework Highlights
Existing Land Use
Over the past 28 years, industrial land use percentages in the entire RIC have declined, while commercial land use has increased. Institutional and residential uses have remained constant.
The north section of the corridor is zoned to primarily support industrial activity Limited Manufacturing (M1) and Light Industry (M2). Some Commercial (C) buffers industrial uses from adjacent residential neighborhoods. Most of the south part of the RIC is currently zoned Limited Manufacturing (M1), which allows limited manufacturing, office and business services activities, and commercial uses, with retail activity permitted as an accessory to core manufacturing or office operations.
Transportation in the Corridor
The industrial corridor benefits from a robust transit network. The area is served by both the CTA Brown Line and Metra Union Pacific North Line. Local stations for both transit agencies have experienced increased ridership in recent years. East-west CTA bus routes supplement and connect to the rail lines. Most commuters are willing to walk about a half-mile (or around 10 minutes) to and from a transit station and their destination.
Additional Resources and Information
- Check out our compiled list of Business Resources.
- Chicago Revolution Awards
- Chicago Women in Trades
- Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute
- Illinois Manufacturers Association
- Jane Addams Resource Corporation
- LoopNet available industrial spaces
- Manufacturing Day
- mHub Chicago
- Urban Manufacturing Alliance