Buildability of lot in Chicago

3 Replies

In 1987 I purchased a 100-year old six-flat on a typical city lot in Wicker Park, along with an adjacent 24' x 125' lot.  The six-flat is entirely on one lot.  On the adjacent lot, I built a garage on the rear on the alley.  There is room for a building at the front.  The two lots have separate tax numbers.  My big question is to determine if the lot with the garage can be built on.  The snag is that the City of Chicago considers it a "Lot of Record" which may restrict whether the "vacant" lot can be built on at all, or to what extent.  The lots are zoned for three units each.  The six unit is OK because it is 100 years old and grandfathered in.  I am considering selling the lot if feasible and buying something which generates income in a 1031 exchange.

My conversation with a realtor 10 years (during the Daley administration) ago gave me the impression there is a kind of a "gray area" and under a new mayor this can change.  The zoning ordinance seems to say its not buildable, but sometimes these things can be appealed?  Can the alderman be of help, or a zoning attorney without going through a lot of expense?  The area is Wicker Park where three flat condos have been built on the same block, and lots may go from $250,000-600,000.  Also what is a good source of information to establish value with records of lots sold, and lots on the market?

Hey @Mike Nelson did you ever do anything w/ the vacant lot? I'm in Wicker Park and know the area very well. Shoot me an email or quick call if you're still interested in pursuing some action on the lot.

Thanks!

- Zach

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