Happy Monday Afternoon, everyone!
Just north of our Team's Keller Williams office, at the corner of Lincoln, Western, and Lawrence Avenues in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood of Chicago, there is a cluster of very old commercial buildings, one dating back to the late 1800's. Several are in disrepair, but several thriving businesses exist there, including a soccer supply store, and an older Walgreen's Store.
Earlier this year, the City of Chicago began to take action to acquire these properties, through Eminent Domain, with the idea that a private developer would build higher-end commercial and residential properties in character with this bustling neighborhood. This new development, they thought, would become a magnet for further development here, and neighborhood improvement. They created a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District, and commissioned a study on possible uses for the property.
Historically, Eminent Domain and condemnation of property is a tool by which local and state governments acquire properties and use the land to build roads, schools, parks, or other public structures that benefit the general public good. In recent years, many localities, however, have used this process to favor certain well-connected developers, who profit greatly from these projects.
On December 5th, Chicago Alderman Eugene Schulter, whose 47th Ward includes the Lincoln Square Neighborhood, encountered loud protests from local residents, and, later, local business people, As a result of these concerns, Schulter softened his position, and said at least one of the affected parcels would be acquired strictly on a volunteer basis, "where the terms of the purchase are mutually acceptable" to all parties involved.
Here in Chicago, the local alderman's opinion carries a lot of weight in the decision making process, so his position on this matter is critical. At present, all of the properties involved are current on their taxes, and are held privately, by individuals or corporations. Several are held in trust.
Check out our posting at BlogChicagoHomes.com, as well as the article in the Lakeview Booster Newspaper, by reporter Lorraine Swanson, on December 12, 2007. Also, thanks to my associate here at Keller Williams, Chris Dwyer, for some Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce insight on the matter.
We'll keep you posted on further developments!
Curious if anything similar has happened in your area. Let us know!
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO