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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

City Finalizes Purchase Of Pilsen’s Largest Vacant Lot To Create Hundreds Of Affordable Apartments

The city is buying the 6-acre lot at 18th and Peoria streets for $12 million. Officials said they will build nearly 300 affordable apartments on the site.

Vacant lot at 16th Street and Peoria Ave.
Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — Plans for the city to buy Pilsen’s largest empty lot and turn it into affordable housing passed City Council Wednesday.

The $12 million sale of of the lot at 18th and Peoria streets passed a key City Council committee last week before it was brought to the full council. The purchase is a part of a lawsuit settlement with developer Property Markets Group.

The 6-acre lot will bring at least 280 units of affordable housing, green space, retail spots and more, officials have said.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward includes the site, said last week the development has “overwhelming community support.”

“We have a huge shortage of affordable housing, especially when it comes to family-sized units,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “This is an unprecedented and historic victory for the community.”

Sigcho-Lopez previously said 280 is a minimum number of units that could be added to the land. He wants the site to be 100 percent affordable housing.

Officials and developers long have battled over the future of the lot amid ongoing debates 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 residents and activists pushed back against the plan. Sigcho-Lopez, who was a Pilsen Alliance organizer and opposed the plan before being elected alderman, said the lot should have more affordable housing than was being offered. Solis demanded at least 21 percent affordable housing at the site.

Property Markets Group tried to resurrect the project in 2019, but Sigcho-Lopez opposed it.

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