WOODLAWN — The Rev. Corey Brooks is close to reviving a vacant Walgreens in Woodlawn as the new epicenter of his nonprofit’s job training work and entrepreneur classes.
Project Helping Others Obtain Destiny, or ProjectHOOD, will move into the shuttered Walgreens at 6330 S. King Drive on Sept. 11 as it ramps up to building a $23 million center as its permanent home.
Brooks’ wish list for the Walgreens space is long and included a co-working space, a juice bar, an area for job training for construction and other jobs, and entrepreneur training center and more.
“It’s going to happen, everything on that list will be happening,” Brooks said Wednesday.
He said he’s been meeting with the community and the focus is now moving more toward business training on skills like accounting and designing a business plan and expanding the current job training projects.
Brooks said the home will be temporary, and he expects the nonprofit will move out when its lease is up in 2020.
When Walgreens closed the store in summer 2016 as part of a downsizing that closed stores across the country, Brooks was able to get Walgreens to donate the remaining four years of its lease on the building to him.
Brooks said September will start a period of ironing out any remaining kinks in the nonprofit’s programming as it finishes its fundraising and looks forward to breaking ground on the new center at what is now a parking lot for Brooks’ church, New Beginnings Church, 6620 S. King Drive.
He declined to say how far he was toward raising the $23 million needed to build the center, but said he still expects to start construction in 2018 so the nonprofit can move in when its lease ends in the Walgreens space.
“Our goal is to pay cash for our facility so we’re not in any debt,” Brooks said.
The permanent center will be a major expansion for the nonprofit physically, with 60,000 square feet of new space, and Brooks said the programming will need to be ready to scale up quickly.