Affordable housing push: City sells 250 vacant lots for $250

Development JV will build 250 homes in North Lawndale with public-private help

Chicago /
Jun.June 28, 2021 02:56 PM
Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city would sell 250 vacant lots in North Lawndale for $1 each, to be transformed into affordable housing. (Google Maps, Getty)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city would sell 250 vacant lots in North Lawndale for $1 each, to be transformed into affordable housing. (Google Maps, Getty)

The Chicago housing market has been surging but the rising tide hasn’t lifted all neighborhoods.

Nearly 20 percent of land in North Lawndale is vacant and the city owns 950 vacant parcels there, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Monday.

The mayor spoke at a press conference where she announced the city was selling 250 lots in the neighborhood for $1 a piece to a joint venture that will build 250 affordable homes, Crain’s reported.

The Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, Lawndale Christian Development Corporation and United Power for Action and Justice will develop, then sell the single-family homes in the next five years, according to the report.

The move is part of the city’s $750 million Invest South/West plan that Lighfoot introduced in 2019, aimed at transforming struggling districts in the South and West sides.

The mayor was flanked by federal, state and city elected officials at the press conference. The mayor said the construction plans will advance the city’s goal of building “1,000 new homes on the West Side,” Crain’s reported.

To help the effort, the city is steering over $5 million in tax increment financing funds for necessary infrastructure work in the area. The state will also provide $10 million to the development group for a $30,000 subsidy to each homebuyer.

The joint venture itself collected nearly $30 million from a number of private organizations including JPMorgan, the report noted. In December, the bank also announced it would direct $7 million for the construction and restoration of 150 affordable homes in the South and West sides.

At the press conference, Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said the city knows “that home ownership has been the foundation for many families to build generational wealth. We also know that that path has long been denied to Black people in this country, in this city, and specifically in this neighborhood.”

[Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 





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