How politicians are trying to stop developers along The 606

Research from DePaul shows home prices in the area increased 344% over the last seven years

TRD CHICAGO /
Jan.January 15, 2020 11:49 AM
Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th) and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th)

Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th) and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th)

UPDATE: Wednesday, January 15 at 5:46 p.m.:  It might be too late for a pair of aldermen to stop gentrification along The 606.

Despite efforts from northwest aldermen Roberto Maldonado (26th) and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) to slow the pace of gentrification in the area, a new DePaul study released Wednesday says that real estate prices have increased 344 percent along the western part of the trail in the last seven years.

The aldermen recently pushed to freeze development along the trail with a 14-month moratorium but the move was scuttled by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was worried about the legality of the ordinance. The City Council on Wednesday voted to ban demolitions for six months.

It’s no secret that the backers of the trail project didn’t do everything they could to prevent gentrification. But the numbers from the DePaul study are stark.

When construction of The 606 began in 2012, the median sale price of buildings with under four units on the most western side was $97,000. In 2018, that number rose to over $430,000 along the westernmost part of the trail.

In the middle section of the trail, prices rose from $407,000 to $605,500, and even higher on the eastern side, with a jump to $970,000 from $661,250.

Geoff Smith, the institute’s executive director, said there was a chance of preserving lower-cost housing along the western parts of the trail, but not the middle and eastern parts.

Research that was not included in DePaul’s report found that nearly 150 multifamily residential buildings were lost to redevelopment along The 606 between 2013 and 2018. Most were replaced by single-family homes. [Tribune]Jacqueline Flynn

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that the City Council voted to approve a bill that would ban demolitions along The 606 for six months. 


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