Chicago Cityscape's '1909' newsletter

The number of building permits issued in 2017 through July exceeds the number of building permits issued in 2016 in the same period. The difference is a 1.4 percent increase.

January to July all permits *

  • 2015: 22,983
  • 2016: 26,193
  • 2017: 26,564

* This includes reinstatement of revoked permits, revision permits, and permits for temporary event tents and stages.

Woodlawn Station is the city’s first TOD building on the South Side, next to the Cottage Grove (Avenue) Green Line station at 63rd Street, with 55 units. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers.

Dwelling unit permits for January to June

The number of approved dwelling units (apartments, condos, and single-family houses) has also increased, by 31.3 percent.

The number of single-family houses approved in January to June 2017, however, has decreased by 19.7 percent.

The largest housing type increase was for units in 3–4 flat buildings, going from 155 units permitted in January to June 2016 to 235 units permitted in January to June 2017, an increase of 34.0 percent.

The second largest housing type increase was for units in buildings with 5 or more units. In January to June 2016 the number of permitted units was 3,217, but that increased by 33.9 percent to 4,869 permitted units in January to June 2017.

Chicago Cityscape can create custom reports for you on this and other data about construction, housing, and neighborhoods in Chicago. Contact us to talk about what information you’re looking for.

Data for dwelling units is from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Building permits data is from our own map, and the City of Chicago’s open data portal.


The latest building permits activity report — August 2017 was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Jefferson Park affordable housing advocates aren’t giving up
News for 08/17/17
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Jefferson Park affordable housing advocates aren’t giving up

Our big news of the week is that we’ve eliminated a big barrier to trying out the features that Pro membership offers: asking for your credit card.

Our members include architects, contractors, property developers, and real estate consultants.

They subscribe to Chicago Cityscape’s Pro membership because they want to save time looking for information that’s essential to their work designing, building, buying, or selling property in their portfolios.

Chicago Cityscape pulls together the information they need about properties — like taxes, neighborhood and school attendance boundaries, assessments, ownership, and more — all in one place.

Try a Pro membership for free, for 7 days, without a credit card.

Left: Panelists talking about affordable housing in Jefferson Park (Alex Nitkin); right: Gale Cincotta, a community organizer active in the 1980s to fight for inclusive neighborhoods (Sun-Times archive)

Neighborhood news

  • While Full Circle Communities still has to apply for and get a zoning change approval, some residents who want more affordable housing in Jefferson Park are maintaining their resolve to fight racist and segregationist opposition to FCC’s housing proposal. Also, a history of housing fights in the neighborhood (Chicago Reader)
  • The group of residents, called Neighbors for Affordable Housing in Jefferson Park, held a panel last week. One finding? The 100 units in that FCC proposal would barely make a dent in the number of people (about 3,500) in Jefferson Park and Portage Park who need more affordable housing than what they currently live in (DNAinfo)
  • 👆 Okay, last one about the Jefferson Park housing situation…Chicago Magazine also published an article about last week’s panel, and presented part of it in an interview format that’s really easy to read.
  • The Wall Street Journal talked to Sterling Bay, the (likely) majority property owner in the North Branch Industrial Corridor (map) about the area’s future life as…not an industrial corridor. And they used one of our drone photos from the site.
  • 🏠 A new study from UCLA and USC researchers finds that for every 10% increase in rentals on Airbnb, the rent goes up 0.39% and house prices go up 0.64% National Low Income Housing Coalition)
  • Nearly 25 percent of the 199 houses sold in Chatham (map) in the last 12 months have been rehabs, a study from Crain’s finds, and it’s “stabilizing Chatham again”.

Events next week

  • Tuesday, 8/22, forum on transit-oriented development, sponsored by Greater Rockwell Organization, Northcenter Neighborhood Association, and Northside Neighbors, DANK Haus (4740 N Western Ave) (details)
  • Wednesday, 8/23, panel and group discussions around Community Engagement and Advocacy in Woodlawn, sponsored by WTTW, at the YWCA (1 N LaSalle) (details)
  • Wednesday, 8/23, another forum on Transit-Oriented Development, sponsored by Rogers Park Business Alliance, at the Chicago Math & Science Academy (7212 N. Clark) (details)

Jefferson Park affordable housing advocates aren’t giving up was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Our big news of the week is that we’ve eliminated a big barrier to trying out the features that Pro membership offers: asking for your credit card.

Our members include architects, contractors, property developers, and real estate consultants.

They subscribe to Chicago Cityscape’s Pro membership because they want to save time looking for information that’s essential to their work designing, building, buying, or selling property in their portfolios.

Chicago Cityscape pulls together the information they need about properties — like taxes, neighborhood and school attendance boundaries, assessments, ownership, and more — all in one place.

Try a Pro membership for free, for 7 days, without a credit card.

Left: Panelists talking about affordable housing in Jefferson Park (Alex Nitkin); right: Gale Cincotta, a community organizer active in the 1980s to fight for inclusive neighborhoods (Sun-Times archive)

Neighborhood news

  • While Full Circle Communities still has to apply for and get a zoning change approval, some residents who want more affordable housing in Jefferson Park are maintaining their resolve to fight racist and segregationist opposition to FCC’s housing proposal. Also, a history of housing fights in the neighborhood (Chicago Reader)
  • The group of residents, called Neighbors for Affordable Housing in Jefferson Park, held a panel last week. One finding? The 100 units in that FCC proposal would barely make a dent in the number of people (about 3,500) in Jefferson Park and Portage Park who need more affordable housing than what they currently live in (DNAinfo)
  • 👆 Okay, last one about the Jefferson Park housing situation…Chicago Magazine also published an article about last week’s panel, and presented part of it in an interview format that’s really easy to read.
  • The Wall Street Journal talked to Sterling Bay, the (likely) majority property owner in the North Branch Industrial Corridor (map) about the area’s future life as…not an industrial corridor. And they used one of our drone photos from the site.
  • 🏠 A new study from UCLA and USC researchers finds that for every 10% increase in rentals on Airbnb, the rent goes up 0.39% and house prices go up 0.64% National Low Income Housing Coalition)
  • Nearly 25 percent of the 199 houses sold in Chatham (map) in the last 12 months have been rehabs, a study from Crain’s finds, and it’s “stabilizing Chatham again”.

Events next week

  • Tuesday, 8/22, forum on transit-oriented development, sponsored by Greater Rockwell Organization, Northcenter Neighborhood Association, and Northside Neighbors, DANK Haus (4740 N Western Ave) (details)
  • Wednesday, 8/23, panel and group discussions around Community Engagement and Advocacy in Woodlawn, sponsored by WTTW, at the YWCA (1 N LaSalle) (details)
  • Wednesday, 8/23, another forum on Transit-Oriented Development, sponsored by Rogers Park Business Alliance, at the Chicago Math & Science Academy (7212 N. Clark) (details)

Jefferson Park affordable housing advocates aren’t giving up was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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Proposed: 30-story tower in Pilsen, and maker space social club in Avondale
News for 08/10/17
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Proposed: 30-story tower in Pilsen, and maker space social club in Avondale

Left: Pilsen tower (Joseph Cacciatore & Co.); right: Residents protest on the Bloomingdale Trail (Iris Postma/LSNA).

Updates from Chicago Cityscape

  • Naperville permits added to our one-stop data warehouse (read how)
  • Latest zoning change applications were added on Monday (see the map)
  • Keep track of your research with My Lists (learn how)

Neighborhood news reading list

  • Say what now? Joe Cacciatore, who owns Lacuna Lofts in Pilsen, wants to build a 30-story tower with 208 dwelling units, and an equivalent number of car parking spaces. (Crain’s)
  • Funding from TIF districts was approved for the combined library-housing project on Taylor St. in Little Italy, and The Hatchery in East Garfield Park (Curbed)
  • 👆🏿 Speaking of that Little Italy library, some residents at a meeting last week (which we attended) wanted the library without the housing — at least not with affordable housing. Nevertheless, an executive from the developer, Related Midwest, said the library can’t be built without the housing component because (1) CHA owns the land and can’t sell it, and (2) part of the library funding is coming because there’s a housing component, as there isn’t enough funding to build the library with TIF or Chicago Public Library revenues alone.
  • What a great idea: Train local residents to rehab abandoned houses in Chicago. MB Financial bank and Rush University hospital are starting the loan pool with $4 million. (Next City)
  • A maker space and social club, with an events space, has been proposed for industrial building in Avondale; of course, it needs a zoning change first (DNAinfo)
  • Alex Al-Sabah’s two companies, Elite Rental & Management, and Elite Invest, are rehabbing houses across the South Side (Greater Grand Crossing, Auburn Gresham, and others), selling to investors, and then managing them as rental properties. An interview with Crain’s.
  • 👆🏾 How do we find property owners so fast? Search for their name and we’ll show you the properties that we know they’re associated with. Try “Elite Invest” where nearly 100 results appear.
  • Active Transportation Alliance, normally pushing the city to make changes so more people will feel safe walking and bicycling, is backing the “Pilot Act for the Preservation of Affordable Housing in the 606 Residential Area” (ordinance text), which would increase demolition and deconversion fees. (Chicago Reader)
  • 👆🏼 We’ve heard from residents and the alders about the law, but we haven’t heard from developers about the proposed 606 law — send us a private message to tell us what you think about (here’s our summary).

Proposed: 30-story tower in Pilsen, and maker space social club in Avondale was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Need more Chicago development news and data?

Start a free trial of our Pro or Permits memberships today

Gain access to analysis, research tools, and custom maps. Pro membership starts at $249/year, and Permits membership is $99/year.

Recent blog posts

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Questions? Reply to this email or contact us
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Left: Pilsen tower (Joseph Cacciatore & Co.); right: Residents protest on the Bloomingdale Trail (Iris Postma/LSNA).

Updates from Chicago Cityscape

  • Naperville permits added to our one-stop data warehouse (read how)
  • Latest zoning change applications were added on Monday (see the map)
  • Keep track of your research with My Lists (learn how)

Neighborhood news reading list

  • Say what now? Joe Cacciatore, who owns Lacuna Lofts in Pilsen, wants to build a 30-story tower with 208 dwelling units, and an equivalent number of car parking spaces. (Crain’s)
  • Funding from TIF districts was approved for the combined library-housing project on Taylor St. in Little Italy, and The Hatchery in East Garfield Park (Curbed)
  • 👆🏿 Speaking of that Little Italy library, some residents at a meeting last week (which we attended) wanted the library without the housing — at least not with affordable housing. Nevertheless, an executive from the developer, Related Midwest, said the library can’t be built without the housing component because (1) CHA owns the land and can’t sell it, and (2) part of the library funding is coming because there’s a housing component, as there isn’t enough funding to build the library with TIF or Chicago Public Library revenues alone.
  • What a great idea: Train local residents to rehab abandoned houses in Chicago. MB Financial bank and Rush University hospital are starting the loan pool with $4 million. (Next City)
  • A maker space and social club, with an events space, has been proposed for industrial building in Avondale; of course, it needs a zoning change first (DNAinfo)
  • Alex Al-Sabah’s two companies, Elite Rental & Management, and Elite Invest, are rehabbing houses across the South Side (Greater Grand Crossing, Auburn Gresham, and others), selling to investors, and then managing them as rental properties. An interview with Crain’s.
  • 👆🏾 How do we find property owners so fast? Search for their name and we’ll show you the properties that we know they’re associated with. Try “Elite Invest” where nearly 100 results appear.
  • Active Transportation Alliance, normally pushing the city to make changes so more people will feel safe walking and bicycling, is backing the “Pilot Act for the Preservation of Affordable Housing in the 606 Residential Area” (ordinance text), which would increase demolition and deconversion fees. (Chicago Reader)
  • 👆🏼 We’ve heard from residents and the alders about the law, but we haven’t heard from developers about the proposed 606 law — send us a private message to tell us what you think about (here’s our summary).

Proposed: 30-story tower in Pilsen, and maker space social club in Avondale was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DNAinfo Chicago reported in April that Kiferbaum Development bought a vacant lot at 1966 N Milwaukee Ave, around the corner from the Western-O’Hare Blue Line station. The company, led by Joseph Kiferbaum, applied for a zoning change last week.

The 5-story building would have 2,145 square feet of retail/commercial space on the ground floor (enough for one business), and the typical floor has 1 efficiency, 1 one-bedroom, and 2 two-bedroom units.

Because the lot is about 300 feet away (walking distance) from the CTA station, the parking requirement is zero. The zoning change application indicates there will be 3 car parking spaces.

A zoning change triggers the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance, requiring that the developer offer 10 percent of the units as “affordable”, to a household earning 60 percent of the area median income (100 percent of AMI for for-sale units). In this case, the developer must create two affordable units, one of which must be built on site or built or renovated nearby. The other one can be bought out by paying a $125,000 in-lieu fee.

It’s likely that the building would be constructed at the same time as its neighbor from Clayco, approved in January, with 132 units.

The architect is Axios Architects & Consultants.

The other Kiferbaum development in Logan Square is a group of six townhomes on a mostly-vacant lot at 2731 W Prindiville St. That project’s zoning change was approved in March.


Details emerge on Kiferbaum’s latest Logan Square housing development was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


It’s a milestone: Chicago Cityscape has looked to the suburbs to include more information in our one-stop property data warehouse.

We’ve added just over 10,000 permits from Naperville for the years 2016 and 2017, the only years available.

Left: The carillon and public pool in Naperville (Mickey B. Photography); right: a neighborhood in Naperville (David Wilson).

More data!

The data includes building permits, like Chicago, but also permits for driveway repair, pools, decks, pergolas, commercial satellite dishes, finishing basements, and fire alarms.

In fact, there are 87 permit categories in Naperville’s data, compared to the 11 building permit categories in Chicago’s data.

Since we uploaded the data this week, we’re looking for feedback on how it’s visually presented, and how you can search and filter it. You can easily access it by visiting our main building permits map and clicking the Quick Filter called “Permits in City of Naperville”.

Show Naperville permits on a map

Additional map layers coming soon

When you look at Chicago building permits, we can also show you the zoning, and other overlapping maps. We’ll add similar layers to Naperville data in the coming weeks.

The City of Naperville created an #opendata portal in June, providing building permit and other permits) in a format similar to what Chicago’s longstanding portal provides. The city plans to update the data monthly.

What suburb should be next?


Say hello to building permits from Naperville, Illinois’s fifth largest city was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Keep track of your Cityscape research

We made a list (which automatically creates a map) of zoning changes for proposed developments that haven’t been approved by City Council yet.

Many people who use Chicago Cityscape are researching. They’re looking up business owners, or figuring out if a building they want to purchase has any violations, or they need to know the zoning and TOD status of a property.

Our new “My Lists” feature is perfect for househunters, real estate brokers, and architects.

It’s also great for making topical maps.

One place for all of your ideas

Collect your research — of neighborhoods, property taxes, building violations, and contractors — into one place.

“My Lists” also works on zoning change records, building permits, and any maps in Maps Explorer.

Start saving your searches

“My Lists” works like an online shopping wishlist.

Give your list a name, set it to public or private, and as you’re browsing different pages on the site, include that page on one or more of your lists.

At any point, you can also download your list as a map or spreadsheet to manipulate in Excel or Google Docs. We’ll automatically put some basic data on your list when you add pages, and you can edit our data or add your own.

What lists will you make?


Keep track of your Cityscape research was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


First, the latest Cityscape development

Our new “My Lists” feature is perfect for househunters and brokers researching homes to buy, and buildings to buy or sell. Collect all of your research — of neighborhoods, property taxes, building violations, and contractors — into one place.

We made a list (which automatically creates a map) of zoning changes for proposed developments that haven’t been approved by City Council yet.

It works like an online shopping wishlist. Give your list a name, set it to public or private, and add any of our data to it. You’ll get a map and spreadsheet that you can optionally share or download to your computer.

What lists will you make?

Neighborhood news reading list

  • Carol Ross Barney (Ross Barney Architects) was awarded the Lifetime Achievement from AIA Chicago; she’s known for her firm’s work on the 606 framework plan, the Chicago Riverwalk extensions, and the Morgan, Cermak (Green), and Belmont (Blue) CTA stations
  • Young entrepreneurs Devonta Boston and Omphile Franklin are selling TGi, a t-shirt line, at the Boombox shipping container store, created by Latent Design, in Englewood (DNAinfo)
  • Logan Square Neighborhood Association youth members protested the change of plans at “The Fields” development in Avondale: From 84 mixed-bedroom apartments (including 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, to studios, convertibles, and 1-bedroom apartments. The protestors also took issue with Alder Santiago’s (31st) handling of the proposal; a meeting was scheduled to take place Wednesday night regarding a zoning change the developer needs for the new plan. (DNAinfo)
  • Update: Here’s Mina Bloom’s followup report on “The Fields” development changes from last night’s meeting.
Youth protesting lack of community involvement in Avondale. Photo: Mina Bloom
  • The City sold its fleet maintenance facility in the North Branch industrial corridor to Sterling Bay for $104.7 million; some of the proceeds will be used to partially fund a new emergency responders training site in the Humboldt Park community area; proceeds will also fund modernizing the 311 system (Sun-Times)
  • City Bureau published the results of its West Side incinerator smokestacks investigation, and charrette for Garfield Park and Humboldt Park residents, which asked them to decide what amenities and changes they would like to see in the area, which includes the future emergency responders training center site
  • Cook County Clerk David Orr said in an op-ed in Crain’s that Mayor Emanuel likes using TIF money because it’s a “hidden tax”, “not subject to City Council approval”. His office is in charge of calculating tax rates for the Treasurer to collect; he urged City Council to pass the “Back to Basics” TIF reform ordinance.
  • Elgin-based Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, a subsidiary of a Chinese car parts maker, got a property tax incentive to build two new produce warehouses in Pilsen (they are also an equity partner in the new skyscraper, 150 N Riverside)

Youth protest a change of plans in multi-unit development was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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'1909' brings you Chicago neighborhood development news and events every week.

1909 was the year that Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett published the Plan of Chicago that forever changed the cityscape. The cityscape changes everyday and we track how and where on Chicago Cityscape.


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