Our Vision for 4108 and 4112 King Drive: A Conversation with Dwain Kyles
As we continue the renovation of the Sage Collective properties at 4108 and 4112 S King Drive, side-by-side buildings in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, we sat down with Board Member and VP for Legal & Development, Dwain Kyles, to understand the project and how it contributes to Sage’s vision for the future.
Location is everything
Having owned and operated residential property in the Bronzeville neighborhood for more than 40 years, Kyles understands that these buildings were in the perfect location for Sage Collective..
Intending to add to the great cultural history that King Drive represents, Kyles imagines these properties will also foster secure, welcoming environments for the development and enhancement of intergenerational relationships in the future.
“We want to be very intentional about building community, and we think that King Drive has an appeal of its own. What we hope to do is add to that appeal by providing tangible, beneficial places for gathering, along with programming that will ultimately strengthen the self-image and empowerment of older adults in the community,” says Kyles.
While the neighborhood itself is a large part of the appeal, the buildings’ adjacency to the historic Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church also generated interest and inspiration for the properties’ future. “Given the importance of a spiritual basis for the work we are doing, reflected in our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, the proximity to this iconic church was a good sign for us,” says Kyles, “and felt like more than just a coincidence.”
Introducing vibrant, high-quality, affordable living within these properties
“Rehabbing the two properties is no small undertaking,” explains Kyles. “Using our passion for vibrant, high-quality, affordable housing as a focus (a topic you can read more about here) we are putting incredible thought and care into the design and build out of the interior spaces. With the support of our board member Mary Frances De Rose, a renowned architectural gerontologist, we have been able to include accessible and supportive living enhancements for future residents of our properties that traditional housing for older adults lacks.”
“The physical attributes of the buildings are being designed in such a way that we will accommodate some of the desires and conveniences for older adults that are often overlooked. I’m talking about lowering the light switches so someone in a wheelchair can easily reach them, ambient lighting, high-quality cabinetry that is accessible and easier to use, and bathrooms with tastefully designed safety features that will allow our older adult residents to feel both secure and at home,” reflects Kyles.
The vision stretches beyond the physical buildings
Our passion for an exceptional quality of life for older adults goes beyond the physical space, however. This project, like other Sage residences for older adults in underserved communities, will come alive through the integration of interactive and exploratory programming.
Kyles continues, “While the King Drive properties themselves are a jumping off point, we are focused on the longer-term desire for Sage Collective to serve as a catalyst for real change for our residents and neighbors, government and civic partners, and leaders in the business community by rethinking and redesigning our traditional approaches to providing housing for older adults in our black and brown communities.”
“We tend to focus on what’s ‘new and poppin’ and what’s the hottest and the latest… while giving little care and attention to those things that have helped us to get where we are, including people. We have seen over and over again that distraction leading to deplorable outcomes and ones that have weakened the fabric of society,” explains Kyles.
Kyles continues, “Our vision for these properties on King Drive — along with all of our ambitious plans for the future — center around creating communities that are rich with diverse ages, families, cultures and experiences. By having the ability to rework the structural barriers hindering intergenerational and cultural interaction and progress, we are capable of establishing environments where there is an appreciation for people of all backgrounds and ages. And when we succeed, we’re stronger as a community, we’re stronger as a neighborhood, we’re stronger as a family,” and most important, we’re stronger as a collective.”