Got a buck? You're in luck -- that's the motto Chicago officials are using to tout the city's expanding Large Lots program, which gives residents the opportunity to buy a vacant lot for just $1.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the Large Lots land sale program will grow to more than 30 communities across the city, with more than 4,000 lots available on the South and West sides.
“The Large Lots program turns vacant lots into neighborhood assets that benefit neighbors and communities,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This program’s success is driven by people who are committed to strengthening their communities block by block, and this expansion will create opportunities to strengthen neighborhoods throughout the entire city of Chicago.”
The program launched in 2014 in the South Side's Englewood neighborhood and has since sold more than 550 lots.
Emanuel said at the time he hoped the program would help return empty land in the neighborhood to productive use, like to expand yards or create gardens or housing.
According to the mayor's office, an ongoing study by the US Forest Service indicated that more than 40 percent of buyers make rapid improvements to properties.
To qualify, applicants must own property on the same block the lot is for sale, be current on property taxes and have no financial obligations to the city. Property owners can purchase up to two parcels of land for $1 each.
The application period for the fall 2016 expansion ends at midnight on Jan. 31, 2017. As of Tuesday morning, hours after the city launched the expansion, at least 81 applications had been received.
The program was implemented as part of Emanuel’s “Five-Year Housing Plan,” which aims to invest $1.3 billion over four years to create, improve and preserve 41,000 units of housing.
Properties will be sold “as is” via a quit claim deed. Purchasers pay property taxes on the land going forward, according to the mayor's office, and lots purchased are zoned residential, meaning stores, offices and factories cannot be built on the land.
The communities included in the expansion are:
• Auburn Gresham
• Avalon Park
• Calumet Heights
• East Garfield
• East Side
• Fuller Park
• Humboldt Park
• Morgan Park
• New City
• North Lawndale
• Roseland Pullman
• South Chicago
• South Deering
• South Shore
• Washington Heights
• West Englewood
• West Garfield
• West Pullman
Portions of Chicago Lawn, Douglas, Gage Park, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Near West Side, Oakland, South Lawndale and Washington Park are also included.
Program applications and a list of available lots can be found here.