Chicago Bulk and Density Standards

3 Replies

I have a question regarding bulk and density standards of business and commercial zones in Chicago. Specifically, a lot zoned B3-2. In this case, a minimum lot area of 1000 square feet is required per each unit. This is pretty straightforward, but if someone was to build residential units above the ground floor retail unit (permitted; and no ground floor residential units are permitted in the B3 designation), would the retail unit on the ground floor count as a unit when considering the minimum lot area per unit rule? If that is confusing, would a 2,500 square foot lot zoned B3-2 (community shopping district) be restricted to one ground floor commercial space and one upper floor residential unit, or could a developer build two residential units? I can't seem to find anything specific to this in the Building Code (See Chapter 17-3 for further reference on bulk and density standards in business and commercial districts). Thanks anyone for your help.


pm me. I have a contact at the zoning office who might be able to help

For anyone curious, I found the answer. While the phone is rarely answered in the Department of Buildings of Chicago, their website does have useful information. According to the code clarifications they have posted, ground floor retail space is considered an auxiliary use, therefore section 13-48-100 shall not be applied to ground floor retail space. The building, however, must meet the height and area restrictions for a residential use of the intended construction type.

@Jack Smith - Glad you figured it out! I had to deal with Chicago zoning last year and I still get the shakes remembering it.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here