What Is the Southland Development Authority?

The Southland Development Authority (SDA)  is a one-stop growth catalyst for businesses, residents, developers, investors and others looking to access resources and business networks to support their growth and prosperity in the Southland. SDA has the capacity and expertise to partner on large-scale development projects that will enable Chicago’s south suburbs to lead the region in the new economy. 

SDA is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, infrastructure, and real estate. SDA brings the resources and capacity necessary to achieve transformative and inclusive economic growth for the region. It focuses on investment in industry, workforce, housing, and communities.

Through the continual analysis of assets, markets, and development opportunities for the Southland, SDA convenes, conceives, and executes with partners on large scale, strategic investments. As a nimble and professional, single-point entry for residents, businesses, and developers to efficiently and effectively get needed resources, SDA brings in new resources that can spur development. 

In partnership with a coalition of local leaders, SDA has wasted no time in making its mark. 

“The Southland Development Authority quickly developed a robust program to meet the immediate needs of businesses during this challenging time, and we are thrilled to provide this critical support,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinklke said. “Although only operating (since 2019), SDA’s work illustrates that it provides effective and strategic support for the South Suburbs of Cook County.” 

By mutually reinforcing and coordinating investments in the real estate, workforce, industries, and communities of the Southland, SDA is able to implement transformational economic development which drives business and community growth while prioritizing prosperity for years to come. 

Prioritizing the region’s historically strong industrial clusters, SDA creates the capacity to drive growth through institutional infrastructure via programs such as the state-of-the-art Metals Hub.  A second priority is to assist the Southland to become a green playground for environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives. These priorities will drive targeted, employer-driven workforce development through programs such as the Business Growth Services program team.

To expand its tool kit, SDA has entered into partnerships with the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority, local municipalities, and Cook County.  The goal is to turn vacant tax delinquent properties into affordable housing and other uses that will help attract and retain residents in the south suburbs. 

Ollie Williams, the owner of D.A’s Deli and Dining in Calumet City, explained that because of SDA, he was able to learn of opportunities he never would have otherwise been aware of. 

“There are many grants out there that we had no idea about,” Williams said. “We were trying to take care of staff when COVID-19 hit. SDA was instrumental in letting us know what was available and helping us secure much-needed funding.” 

Park Forest business owner Fershawnda Green has benefited from increased exposure and business connections she has developed through SDA services. 

“I’m getting ready to build out two manufacturing kitchens, one for beverages and one for food,” Green, who owns Poppin Plates LLC, said. “Working with the Southland Development Authority gives me exposure to reach more people and helps me stay in the know.” 

For Lisa Green, the Chief Executive Officer of Family Christian Health Center in Harvey, working with SDA helped provide an unprecedented level of business awareness while planning for long term economic conditions. 

“Sometimes you have a partner, and they don’t necessarily fix your problems, per se,” Green said. “But, their skill set is enough to help you look in the mirror, pull back and be able to analyze and make decisions that you know will have a long term economic impact for your organization. And that’s the partnership that we received with SDA.” 

About Southland Development Authority

The Southland Development Authority is a nonprofit business organization launched in 2019 by business, civic, and political leaders from around the Southland who recognize the potential of the region’s people, businesses, and real estate. Our mission is to bring the resources and capacity needed to achieve transformative, inclusive economic growth for the south suburbs with a focus on investments in the Southland’s communities, industry, housing, and workforce.

We work steadfastly to connect Southland business owners, investors, and individuals with key resources to operate and thrive in the region, from equipping mid-size and small businesses in our Business Growth services Program with customized advice and consulting services, to helping local residents access the tools needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. With a deep institutional knowledge of the Southland’s people, markets, and history and our multifaceted, experienced team, the Southland Development Authority is a powerful partner for any individual, business, or investor.

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