Chicago Set to Sell Hundreds of Properties for the Price of a Candy Bar

A dilapidated and vacant building sits around the corner from a Salvation Army center where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference in the Englewood neighborhood on July 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. | Scott Olson via Getty Images
A dilapidated and vacant building sits around the corner from a Salvation Army center where Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference in the Englewood neighborhood on July 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. | Scott Olson via Getty Images

In the latest effort to spur investment in blighted areas of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, Chicago plans to sell several hundred properties for the price of a candy bar.

As part of the Green and Healthy Chicago Neighborhoods initiative approved by the Chicago Plan Commission Thursday, the specific Large Lots pilot program will allow qualifying residents and nonprofits to buy city-owned vacant lots for $1 in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

“It’s designed to move vacant properties out of the city’s hands and into private ownership,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “People can use the land to expand the yards around their homes, to create gardens on their block, or for beautification, housing, or for other purposes.”

The Department of Planning & Development program, part of the mayor’s “Five-Year Housing Plan” that was already approved by the City Council last month, could expand beyond Englewood in the future.

The goal, according to the Sun-Times, is to expand it to a 13-mile planning area including some 5,000 vacant lots in nearby neighborhoods like Washington Park, Woodlawn, Fuller Park and Greater Grand Crossing.

To qualify for the “Large Lot Program,” applicants must already own property on the same block as the lot they want to buy; they must also be current on property taxes, have no financial obligations to the city (like water bills or parking tickets) and must tell the city how they plan to use the property, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

The city recently previously sold six empty lots at $1 a piece to a developer expected to turn them into affordable housing.

For years, $1 lot programs have cropped up in other cities around the nation. The rules and requirements vary, but what they all have in common is the next-to-nothing price.

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Source: Black Voices

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