Chicago seeks sale, redevelopment of four underutilized city parking lots

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lincoln bernice lots chicago
The parking lot at the corner of Lincoln and Berenice Avenues in North Center (Google Street View)

Four underutilized parking lots owned by the City of Chicago in Lake View, North Center and Portage Park are being made available for purchase and redevelopment, Department of Planning and Development (DPD) Commissioner Maurice Cox has announced.

Ranging in size from 26 to 111 parking spaces, the lots are part of a citywide initiative to return surplus, city-owned land to private ownership. The broader initiative is expected to generate more than $10 million in near-term revenues for the city, according to DPD.

“These city-owned properties have very limited demand for public parking anymore so we’re entertaining purchase offers that maximize their value for taxpayers,” Cox said in a July 30 statement. “Their sales will also enable improvements that contribute to local development patterns and overall neighborhood livability.”

Between April and December of 2019, the lots’ parking utilization ranged from 3 to 12 percent of capacity, according to the Department of Finance. Parking utilization rates ranged from 2 to 4 percent during the same period in 2020.

The North Center and Portage Park properties are in the process of being re-zoned to new district designations that are commensurate with adjacent land uses, Cox added.

The lots include (with commentary from Steven Vance of Chicago Cityscape):

(Chicago Cityscape offers “Address Snapshot” reports via links above to help identify complementary development nearby, amenities, eligibility for the city’s TOD ordinance, and calculate the zoning capacity. These reports are available to Cityscape Real Estate Pro members or for a one-time fee, Vance writes in his commentary.)

The properties have been used for parking-related purposes for more than 50 years, the city says in its statement. Formal real estate appraisals are pending for each site.

The city retained broker Cushman & Wakefield to market and solicit offers for each site. Each proposed sale would require approval by City Council, following a 30-day alternative proposal period from other potential buyers.

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