Chicago 2025: Expanding density to fund underinvested Chicago

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Last month Mayor Emanuel proposed a groundbreaking new plan to spur development in both burgeoning neighborhoods and underfunded areas of the city. The implications are significant for Chicago’s key real estate players, as well as the future of our urban core.

Emerging High-Density Submarkets

The proposed expansion of the high-density zoning overlaps with our prediction of Chicago developments expanding beyond the traditional core.

What’s the plan?

The plan would allow increased development density in outlying areas (indicated above in purple) by expanding the current downtown high-density zoning. It would revamp the current Zoning Bonus Ordinance by eliminating outdated bonuses and closing loopholes.

How does it work?

Downtown developers would pay into the Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus Fund to add square-footage to projects rather than abide by current regulations of adding amenities of limited public benefit such as outdoor plazas and underground parking. These funds would be allocated to business development and job growth in underserved neighborhoods around the city such as Greater Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Garfield Park.

So what?

In addition to generating millions of dollars for neighborhoods facing poverty, high unemployment and other underinvested factors, this forward-thinking plan could catalyze a dramatic expansion of three emerging neighborhoods that will redefine Chicago’s core in the next decade: Fulton Market, River West and Goose Island.

Download our Chicago 2025 research here.

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