Dollar Days for City Property

Parcels going for a buck

It's Discount Days for developers interested in buying city-controlled property in Chicago.

First, the city said it was selling five acres on the Far South Side for $1 to a developer promising to build a retail project likely to include an Aldi grocery store.

Now, the city says it's selling 80 parcels on the South Side for $1each to developers promising to build affordable housing.

(Geez, clunkers are going for $4,500 these days!)

The deals are designed to entice development in areas where the land basically has to be given away  to lure developers.

“It’s a blighted area, underutilized with vacant buildings,” a city spokeswoman told Crain's about the retail site on the Far South Side.

Ledall Edwards, executive director of the Roseland Business Development Council, told Crain's that "This area is in desperate need of a grocery store. The residents need access to quality food."

The 80 parcels slated for housing are part of the city's "green homes" program, the Sun-Times reports.

The builders commit to environmentally friendly practices in design, construction and selection of appliances," the paper says.

Molly Sullivan, spokeswoman for the department, said most of the homes would be base priced at $195,000, which by the federal government's rules is affordable based on median incomes in Chicago. For a four-person family, that means an annual income cap of $75,400. All homes would be two stories and have at least three bedrooms, she said.

While the projects sound worthy on their face, dollar deals by the city always bring to mind the infamous case of mayoral pal Michael Marchese, who bought 15 acres of CTA land on the North Side for a buck.

In the case of the retail project, the developer is the "little-known" Musa P. Tadros of Crown Commerical Real Estate & Development.

The housing developers include Greenline Development Inc., Barron Development, Bronze Key, Click Development, the Green House Association, Habitat Development South and the Johnson Development Group.

The land is virtually free; the obligation to those communities is not.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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