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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

What Should Be Built On Pilsen’s Largest Vacant Lot? Neighbors Can Weigh In At Community Meeting

Neighbors can learn about three development ideas and ask questions about the future of the lot at 18th and Peoria streets at a Dec. 15 meeting.

Vacant lot at 16th Street and Peoria Ave.
Mauricio Peña/ Block Club Chicago
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PILSEN — Neighbors will learn about potential plans for Pilsen’s largest vacant lot, which is slated to become affordable housing, at an upcoming meeting.

A presentation and open house about the future of the lot at 18th and Peoria streets is planned for 5 p.m. Dec. 15 at Jungman Elementary, 1746 S. Miller St.

Residents will hear about three development scenarios and be able to ask questions. The scenarios will show where buildings could be constructed, how large they could be and how many units they’d have, what open and green space could be created and what non-residential uses the developments could include.

There will also be an option for neighbors to attend virtually on Zoom.

A developer still needs to be found for the eventual project, officials said.

City officials have gathered public input and feedback at meetings since September to ensure the future of the 6-acre lot fits community needs.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said residents have overwhelmingly want the site to include affordable housing, especially family-sized units with three or more bedrooms. He said he’s still hearing from constituents about what they envision for the site before throwing his support toward a single idea.

“We want to make sure residents have information on what affordable housing is, the history of the lot … and what is their vision and their need,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “There is also curiosity of how a potential [cooperative] could be implemented, as well.”

The $12 million sale of the lot at 18th and Peoria streets passed City Council in February. The purchase was a part of a lawsuit settlement with developer Property Markets Group.

Officials and developers long have battled over the future of the lot amid 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. Sigcho-Lopez, who was a Pilsen Alliance organizer and opposed the plan before being elected, 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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