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CHICAGO-Construction of a $192-million campus around the intersection of 63rd and Halsted streets to replace the current Kennedy-King College about a half-mile to the southeast should begin later this year and be ready by the fall 2006 semester. The city college is making its third move in Englewood, one that community leaders hope pays dividends for the surrounding property owners.

The 41 acres on three corners of the intersection included the former Englewood Mall, built around 30 years ago, and included reconfiguring streets. However, the commercial district has seen continuous decline, and the few remaining merchants are relocating to new strip centers to the north.

In place of Englewood Mall, a six-building, 504,700-sf campus is being built. Besides a Chicago Transit Authority Green Line station near the intersection, Metra is being lobbied to add a commuter rail station at 63rd Street and Wallace Avenue.

Henry Wilson, chairman of the Englewood Conservation Community Council, sees the city’s quest to put 436 parcels in a tax increment financing area from 55th to 67th streets and the Dan Ryan Expressway and Racine Avenue in the hands of residential developers as a plus. He also foresees new retail development as a result of Kennedy-King College’s relocation.

“We’re hoping that the 63rd and Halsted redevelopment commercially will be enhanced with the college coming in,” Wilson says, referring specifically to an area northwest of the intersection that is not being claimed by the college.

In the other direction, Chicago City Colleges vice chancellor William Donahue will have a 700,000-sf facility available at 67th Street and Wentworth Avenue. That building has become too expensive to maintain, with a list of needed maintenance that includes 144 leaky roofs.

“It’s falling apart,” Donahue admits. “If I’m fortunate enough to see that building, (the proceeds) go back into the community college building fund.”

The city is floating $172 million in bonds to pay for the construction, while the state is chipping in $20 million.

Before its current location, Kennedy-King College was at 71st Street and Stewart Avenue, following a move from 69th Street and Normal Avenue.

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