Chicago Cityscape's '1909' newsletter
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Thursday, February 23, 2017
- The Polish Triangle Coalition is looking for a firm to donate design work to revitalize the plaza in Wicker Park (Our Urban Times)
- An owner of 20 vacant lots in Englewood still wants to build new homes out of used shipping containers (DNAinfo)
- Long read about development opportunities in Woodlawn, especially in the area next to the future Obama presidential library, where Apostolic Church of God owns about 40 vacant lots; if you’ll recall, the church’s previous pastor persuaded the CTA to demolish part of the 63rd Street ‘L’
- Architizer explains every type of affordable housing, at the same time that HUD comes out with new snapshot data on the characteristics of subsidized and public housing in Chicago
- William Freeland posted a striking infographic showing how many people, and how much wealth, has migrated out of Illinois
- The city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which developers pay into by “buying density” for their buildings, has $4 million and will soon be accepting grant applications from small businesses in these areas
- City Bureau looks into why it can be a problem for a small business district if many of the storefronts are churches, not businesses (Defender)
- The two-flat makes Chicago Magazine’s list of “why we love Chicago”
- Argus Brewery in Pullman is featured in a story about the history of their building, part of the Schlitz brewing company’s facility
- More coverage of Alder Moreno’s attendance at a $50 per plate dinner to talk about gentrification: He wants to raise the demolition permit fee to preserve homes near the 606; The “People’s Potluck” happened on the same night to talk about the same issue.
Tip: Find out if a property can get funding assistance
Chicago Cityscape is an all-in-one tool for property professionals — developers, real estate brokers, and architects — to learn about properties you’re considering to add to your portfolio.
Look up any address to instantly determine the eligibility of a property for a density increase in a TOD zone, and whether it’s eligible for improvement grants from TIF districts, Special Service Areas, and the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund’s investment zones.
A property might also be in one of the Chicago Housing Authority’s opportunity areas, where landlords can get a cash bonus, or developers can get construction assistance for building multi-unit affordable housing.
City’s “Neighborhood Opportunity Fund” has now collected $4 million from downtown developers was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development hosted an open house for Rogers Park’s former firehouse today, located at 1723 W. Greenleaf Ave. Their hope is to find a suitable bidder for the 102-year-old building that has been vacant since 2009.
The DPD’s request for proposal was published February 6, and proposals are due March 31, 2017. DPD’s RFP notes that the property has 8,934 square feet of land, 6,323 square feet of building, and is zoned RT-4.
Their target price is $315,000, not a minimum bid, though after visiting the property, the cost of renovating the property is a moving target depending on the buyer’s proposal.
Firehouse #102 appears to be in good condition from the exterior with the usual weathering of brick and concrete features. The interior, however, looks as if the property has been vacant far more than eight years. Broken sinks, peeling paint on all walls and some damaged walls might cause one to think they’re in an episode of The Walking Dead.
On the bright side, there were no signs of cracks in the walls or in the floors — in other words, the integrity of the building looks solid. There is a basement, though it is primarily for utilities and storage.
This is the third time the DPD has attempted to sell the property, the last time being in 2014 that did not result in a transfer of ownership due to a process technicality.
The three finalists, based on Alder Joe Moore’s (49th Ward) community input and staff review, were a live-work space, a spiritual wellness organization and a community development non-profit. I spoke with two different open house visitors today. One person was investigating the possibility of using it for an in-residence computer education program for college-age youth; the other is considering it for a live-work creative arts space.
City gave tours this morning of former Rogers Park firehouse that it’s selling was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
We’ve made two small but helpful changes:
- Our zoning map has been updated for every zoning change made by the time of the December 2016 City Council meeting, and many changes made in January and February 2017.
- Our Zoning History feature for Pro members has been redesigned to make it easy to know when the zoning was changed.
Don’t have Pro? Trial it and save 15% after the trial with coupon code MEDIUM15.
The Zoning History section of an Address Snapshot now shows the date the ordinance changing a parcel’s zoning classification was changed. If the city’s zoning map doesn’t include the ordinance date, then we show the date someone edited the map to include that change. And if that date doesn’t exist, well, we just don’t know.
Previously, the Zoning History feature on each Address Snapshot showed the current zoning based on whichever “snapshot” of the zoning map we had in a random period. We only periodically obtain the latest zoning map from the city’s planning department.
New tweak: Zoning history for any Chicago building has been clarified was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Friday, February 17, 2017
The Chicago Commission on Landmarks approved the Uptown Square District last December.
The area is centered Broadway between Wilson and Lawrence and had already been designated an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, but a local landmark district actually protects buildings from demolition and changes to their appearance.
M1 Properties, owned by George Markopoulos, proposed a residential building last year at 4601 N Broadway, diagonally across from the McJunkin building, a “contributing” building in the district.
The proposed hasn't gone to Plan Commission or the zoning committee for approvals, yet, but 46th Ward Alder James Cappleman supports it. The building would have 197 residences and 44 parking spaces due to its location across the street from the rebuilt Wilson Red Line station.
In an email newsletter yesterday from Cappleman’s office it was mentioned that “the City’s Dept. of Planning & Development made additional requests for some architectural revisions to have it more in keeping with the other buildings”.
You can see the changes in the image below.
What do you think? Does the building designed by MX3 Architects look more like existing buildings, and should the city have made such a request?
After Uptown historic district created, city asks developer to revise a proposed building design was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
- The Double Door music venue is officially evicted, and it could be a hassle to move to Logan Square; in this news story is a great explainer about zoning rules and Public Place of Amusement licenses (DNAinfo)
- City officials played games with Jefferson Park zoning to prevent a self-storage building: Permit was issued, canceled, and the zone was changed to prevent the allowed building. Faced with lawsuit, the city has settled and the building can now be constructed. (Nadig)
- The Chicago Housing Authority will give landlords in opportunity areas a cash bonus if they choose to rent to voucher holders (WBEZ)
(Opportunity areas are the latest development benefits incenstive that our Address Snapshot tool will identify.)
- Governor Rauner says that the money will flow again for a stalled veterans housing development in Dunning (DNAinfo)
- Take a virtual tour of this Schlitz Brewery “tied house” in the East Side community area, which was recently sold (Chicago Patterns)
- New owner of 1-story building in the Loop, doesn’t know yet what he’ll build, but it’ll be better than what’s there now (Crain’s)
- Rent control (which Rep. Guzzardi wants to un-ban) could be a solution to rent spikes in Albany Park, says Ald. Mell (DNAinfo)
- A 4-story, 39-unit building is planned for the SW corner of 18th/State in the shadow of Orange Line tracks (Curbed)
Moving a music venue is a great way to teach Chicago’s complex zoning rules was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Speculative development: Awkward site next to Blue Line station that could become a miniature-TOD residence
Jones Lang LaSalle is the seller for the site at 810 N Milwaukee Avenue next to a new transit-oriented development at 830 N Milwaukee. The site has about 11,000 square feet and is “improved” with a 1-story commercial building and a parking lot twice as large as the building.
The site is awkward because it’s the combined shape of a large and small rectangle. The People’s Action Institute is located here and owns the property.
The current zoning is C1–2, which has a very low FAR (floor area ratio, a calculation of how many stories and floor space per story you can have) of 2.2. This means you can build 2.2x the area amount of the parcel, or 24,200 square feet. Setback requirements (which don’t exist in C districts, unless there’s an adjoining R-Residential district) also determine the shape of any proposed building.
Essentially you could erect a two or three story building. This is a mixed-use zone, so you can build all retail and commercial, or ground-floor retail with upper floors of housing. The minimum unit size in C1–2 is 1,000 square feet.
At a maximum buildable area of 24,200 square feet that’s 24 units but you also have to accommodate hallways and staircases. You’re actually required to have a ground floor commercial space so that reduces the number of buildable apartments even more; you can apply for a variance to have residential on the first floor.
To build more than two units here you’ll need to get a special use permit from the Chicago zoning administrator, but that won’t be hard to get.
I would recommend getting a zoning change to a a Bx-3 or Cx-3 — whichever is easier to get and includes the uses you’d want to build. That way you can increase your FAR/density to 3.0 automatically and then you can also build more of smaller apartments to maximize the revenue in this awkward space. The FAR goes higher if you build the required affordable units on-site.
Thankfully, because the nearest entrance to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Grand ‘L’ station is 195 feet away, the parking requirements are nil. That means you don’t have to use space on the site or inside the building to house cars (two parking spaces take up 320 square feet, excluding aisles, and are larger than many studio apartments).
The other incentive are some potential tax reductions on construction materials or real estate transfer tax. The subject property is in Enterprise Zone #4, which are areas where the city offers incentives for businesses to move into that area and stimulate economic growth.
This is a fairly dense area of the city, but there are very few retail options. There is a Dunkin Donuts across the street, a couple cafés at the intersection, and many professional services. There’s are a couple pizza restaurants, a Subway, and two bars (Silver Palm, Matchbox). The large, six-way intersection isn’t friendly to walk around, but with the addition of some more attractive street-level uses that are open a lot could improve the surroundings as a result of the additional pedestrians.
A new 363-unit building will open for residency this year (that’s my guess, based on the construction progress), behind the CVS, at 1001 W Chicago Avenue. It’s supposed to include a grocery store, but the brand hasn’t been announced. This will add a jolt of pedestrian activity to the intersection.
Speculative development: Awkward site next to Blue Line station that could become a miniature-TOD… was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
You now have more storefronts to choose from to locate your bar, brewpub, or packaged goods store on parts of Milwaukee Ave. in Avondale.
Or, if you already have a café or restaurant you can now apply for a liquor license.
Alder Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward) removed arbitrary restrictions against businesses selling or serving alcohol on Milwaukee Ave. between Ridgeway Ave. and Springfield Ave. on January 25, 2017. He has also introduced legislation to remove those restrictions from Hamlin Ave. to Central Park Ave.
The two sections are continuous, and the restriction continues north on Milwaukee Ave. from Springfield to Kedvale Ave.
I can’t tell yet if this is for a specific business or group of businesses. It could also result from the general awareness that fewer restrictions on businesses means more businesses.
Avondale is now a little more open to bars, breweries and packaged goods stores was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Thursday, February 09, 2017
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