Chicago Cityscape's '1909' newsletter
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Bernard Lloyd’s “Boxville” opened last night at 51st and Calumet in Bronzeville. Chicago Magazine previewed the new outdoor plaza and market, adjacent to the overhead Green Line tracks, yesterday morning. Boxville, as you might imagine, comprises four shipping used shipping containers. Janet Rausa Fuller wrote,
Picture four giant metal Lego pieces, plunked down in a grassy vacant lot with a wood-planked plaza in the middle — but those Lego pieces are filled with groceries, prepared food, a boutique, and a bike repair shop.
Boxville has four vendors right now: Green City Market will sell pre-picked boxes of fruits and vegetables; Aplomb, a clothing and home goods store; Friistyle, which sells Belgian-style fries; and the original Bronzeville Bike Box. The market will be open every Wednesday and soon five days a week.
“The monthly rent for half of a 20-foot container at Boxville is $500. That would barely cover the electricity and maintenance costs of a 1,200-square-foot storefront, [Lloyd] says.” Continue reading about Lloyd.
We’ve improved two of our development maps
- The TIF map has been updated to show Chicago’s sole Transit TIF (for the Red-Purple Modernization project), and Cook County TIF districts outside of Chicago.
- The Ordinances map (zoning changes, city-owned land sales) was updated to display different icons for the different ordinance types.
- Alder Sophia King (4th Ward) explains the details of a large expansion of Harper Court, which the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center would move into (Hyde Park Herald)
- At a Large Lots workshop in May, a planning department official said, but wasn’t sure, that Streets & Sanitation workers would clean up vacant lots; the department came through (Twitter)
- Crain’s profiles Paula Robinson, who is the Bronzeville-based partner in the winning team that will redevelop the former Michael Reese hospital site in Bronzeville
- Streetsblog Chicago, the city’s only alternative transportation & land use news site, is hosting its monthly happy hour on July 5th at Revolution Brewing’s taproom in Avondale; $100+ donors get a free drink
- Public health students at UIC are working with the Urban Innovation Center in Bronzeville to find vacant sites suitable for solar farms that would power a community micro-grid (Social Justice News Nexus)
- Public housing is not a failure, it was always someone’s home — Urban Omnibus recaps 60 years of history and discusses the pros and cons of Chicago’s current plan for mixed-income redevelopment
- With new attention and growth in Woodlawn, redevelopment could threaten and demolish in-use buildings that have been around since the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 (Chicago Patterns)
A shipping container market opened in Bronzeville last night was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Thursday, June 15, 2017
The Chicago Public Schools has proposed closing four high schools in Englewood and would build a new high school for $75 million and have a combined attendance boundary for students who today would go to those schools. The purpose is said to provide a new building with modern amenities.
In Englewood, CPS closed five elementary schools — all of which are vacant. As part of the proposal, CPS would demolish Robeson and build the new school there. The buildings that have Hope and TEAM Englewood high schools would remain because they are used by adjoining charter schools. CPS doesn’t have a plan for Harper, the fourth high school.
Asiaha Butler, president of R.A.G.E., was interviewed by Chicago Reporter.
“They really jacked up the repurposing process [after the 2013 closures],” Butler said. “For me, it’s always been a concern about these institutions becoming vacant spaces and becoming like the homes we have here with the Xs on the buildings.”
Check the status on the dozens of other closed schools using Chicago Reporter’s always-updated map.
- Juan Moreno of JGMA is designing a new health care facility and community center on a large vacant lot in Brighton Park (Crain’s)
- A Safe Haven Foundation is seeking a zoning change at next week’s meeting in order to build a new 100-unit SRO across from Douglas Park
- The development of Roosevelt Square (former public housing land, map) is resuming after the 2008 recession with 50 market-rate townhomes in the University Village/Little Italy neighborhood (DNAinfo)
- The Garfield Park Art & Industry Expo is this Saturday, 6/17, at the former horse stables and market area north of the conservatory
- Aaron Rose recaps a recent Ethical Redevelopment Salon wherein architect Peter Baker (Landon Bone Baker) describes the firm’s design philosophy and many of their recent projects which have affordable housing and supportive services components on the South & West Sides (Place Lab)
Do you have neighborhood news? Reply and send us a link.
What is CPS going to do with additional closed schools? was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Two weeks ago a friend was in town and he wanted to check out the hot air balloon that I recently got. He suggested we photograph the new Wilson station that the Chicago Transit Authority is building in the Uptown community area. It was a great idea, because the station looks better from above than from below.https://medium.com/media/28773fb1b73affb93706908501e908ac/href
The project is a $203 million replacement of the station, platforms, and about 3/4 mile of track and guideway.
Aerial photography created on a DJI Mavic Pro.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Two housing developments have been proposed in the Rogers Park community area that would expand the number of residential units in each existing building. According to Alder Moore’s website, David Gasman has an agreement to purchase two buildings near the Rogers Park Metra station contingent on Moore granting each building a zoning change.
The building at 1710 W Lunt Ave (above) would need a zoning change from RT-4 to B2–3 in order to expand the number of units from 8 to 20 in a three-story rear addition, and to take advantage of the TOD law so the property could have 5 car parking spaces instead of 20.
The building at 1730 W Greenleaf Ave (below) would need a zoning change from C1–2 to B2–3 in order to build out 30 dwelling units inside the existing commercial building. The building would also need the Zoning Administrator to relieve the rule so the building can have zero car parking spaces under the TOD law. Moore’s website says he would support the zoning change for this building if the relief comes as a Type 1 amendment rather than an administrative adjustment, to ensure that the renovation strictly adheres to the proposed plans and approved permits.
The city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) will kick in on both projects because they (1) have 10 or more dwelling units, and (2) receive a zoning change. This means that 10 percent of the units in each building will have to be affordable to a household earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Of those units, 25 percent must be on-site, and the remaining 75 percent can be on-site, or “bought out” with an in-lieu fee of $50,000 per unit.
Network 49, a neighborhood organization, is going to ask Alder Moore to require that a legally-enforceable Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) gets drafted and signed, so that the developer provides a public benefit in exchange for the zoning change because “that exchange is worth a ton of $$$ for the developer”.
Arguably, the ARO already takes care of that, as does the provision of additional dwelling units in the neighborhood. A greater supply of housing maintains housing prices, or has slower increases, compared to an area that has restricted — often due to zoning or community opposition — housing growth.
The zoning change for the building on Lunt should be granted without question because the current zoning downzoned the block and placed it and buildings nearby into “legal, non-conforming” status. In other words, the previous zoning was denser than the current zoning, and allowed this building and adjacent buildings to be constructed in the first place.
Moore and Gasman are hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, June 14th, 7:00 p.m., at the Ethiopian Community Center of Chicago, 1730 W. Greenleaf.
Zoning change needed to add 42 units in two buildings in Rogers Park was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Two recent news reports about the proposals to change the zoning of business districts in South Shore and Bridgeport into a zoning class that allows only the new construction of single-family housing suggest that the change wouldn’t affect existing businesses.
Existing businesses could be affected in several ways if their zoning is changed from one that allows them (B, C) to one that doesn’t (R):
- They will not be able to expand into an adjacent space
- They will not be able to move into a different space in the neighborhood that also has the residential-only zoning
- They will not be able to sell additional products or services that are regulated by zoning code (this is mostly relevant to a business that would want to add live entertainment with a public place of amusement license, or start serving liquor; it would also prevent a laundromat from adding dry cleaning drop off service)
- They will not be able to do certain kinds of renovations or pull certain kinds of building permits
- They won’t be able to add a patio or beer garden (regardless of liquor license status)
- They won’t be able to put a sign up on their building
- They cannot sublease and vacate their space to another business (once a business is legally nonconforming in a space, it cannot transfer this status to a new business that would occupy the same space)
All of these restrictions can be circumvented by either a zoning change back to B or C, an “administrative adjustment” made by the zoning administrator, or getting a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals — all an arduous, timely, and costly process.
- The Chicago Tribune dropped an astonishing analysis about residential property taxes in Cook County and how the assessor’s office has been undervaluing high-value homes and overvaluing low-value homes for a decade because of a sneaky assessment model (you can also enter your address to see how if your block is under- or overvalued)
- The recipients of the first round of grants from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund were announced; Sip & Savor will open a fourth coffee shop, in Bronzeville (Sun-Times)
- City Bureau is hosting a “public newsroom” event tonight about the West Side, including stories about a former city incinerator, and “questions of environmental justice and land use”
- Column: Mayor Emanuel should support the affordable housing proposal in Jefferson Park so “we can move past our racist history” (Reporter)
- Southwest Organizing Project and Brinshore Development are buying vacant houses and refurbishing them, need to raise $10 million (WTTW)
Downzoning to residential-only would affect existing businesses was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
A friend of mine was interested in finding a place where she could locate a new business she wanted to start. The type of business can only be located in an M zone, and inside of a pretty large building. They tried using commercial real estate listings websites but found inaccurate information, and outdated listings.
My friend turned to Chicago Cityscape for help targeting her search to specific parts of the city to either find a worthy property herself, or assist an broker by narrowing the candidate properties and locations to ones that would actually work for her business.
We redesigned Property Finder to make it easy to find developable land in Chicago and Cook County using your personal search criteria.
You can search for vacant land, occupied land, land owned by the city or the Cook County Land Bank Authority, parking lots, or suspected brownfields — all of which are open sources of data.
We cannot include CRE or other real estate listings because those are proprietary databases.
You can filter the results by zoning (Chicago only), land area, and distance to CTA and Metra stations. You can filter Cook County parcels by property classification, assessed value, and the cost of its most recent tax bill.
Use Property Finder to quickly focus your search for developable land.
Examples of how to use it:
- Search for vacant land within two blocks of CTA stations in Chicago, which are eligible for density bonuses and parking minimum reductions
- Search for all mixed-use zoned, city-owned land near CTA and Metra stations in Chicago
- Search for industrial buildings or zoning districts in Avondale, Pullman, or any ward, neighborhood, industrial corridor, community area, and TIF district
You can use Property Finder for research, too. We looked up how many single-family houses are located around CTA stations, because of how zoning can restrict housing production, especially near transit stations where the highest allowed density should be set.
Finally, you can save searches to your account so that you can reference them later, and download them as a map for GIS programs, or as a spreadsheet. All of our export features require a Pro membership, and we’ve increased our free trial period from 14 days to a full month.
We’re always looking for your feedback on our tools — please contact us if you have any questions on how to use Property Finder, or have a suggestion to improve it.
New Property Finder is a powerful tool to locate developable land in Cook County was originally published in Chicago Cityscape on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Monday, June 05, 2017
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