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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

City Acquired Pilsen’s Largest Vacant Site Through Settlement With Developer, Alderman Says

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward covers the site, said a debate over the lot was settled when the city got the spot for $12 million.

Stephanie Lulay/ Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — Pilsen’s largest vacant lot was bought by the city last month as part of a settlement with a prominent developer, the alderman said. 

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward includes the lot, said the site was acquired after a lawsuit with Property Markets Group was settled for $12 million.

City officials announced in an early December news release the lot will be turned into at least 280 affordable units and “over $100 million in development activity.” 

Sigcho-Lopez said 280 units was just an estimate and would likely be the minimum number of units, as long as adding more doesn’t affect quality. He wants the site to be 100 percent affordable housing and include green spaces and potential business spots.

The alderman has made similar demands in the past. In 2017, as alderman-elect, he pushed for 100 percent affordable housing at the lot. 

But the site has long been a point of contention between officials and developers in the debate over gentrification in the neighborhood. 

Property Markets Group sued the city in 2018 after then-Ald. Danny Solis rezoned the property from residential to industrial use, effectively blocking development on the site. The developer had proposed building 500 apartments and a park there, but critics said the lot should have more affordable housing than was being offered. 

​​In 2019, Property Markets Group tried to resurrect the project, but it was opposed by Sigcho-Lopez.

The developer declined to comment. 

Sigcho-Lopez praised the settlement in December, calling it “a historic day for our community.” He said a new developer hasn’t been chosen yet and community feedback will be taken into consideration when deciding who will develop the site. 

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