Chicago Abandoned Lot Project 
Community Development of Blighted & Vacant Property
Page last updated:
June 16, 2008

Brought to you by Sean Parnell, creator of the Chicago Bar Project

Imagine... Chicago 100 years ago. The city played host to the world for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and the world was stunned by the impressiveness and innovation of Chicago and its residents. The South, West and North Sides featured wide boulevards with stately homes, other homes affordable for people no matter their income, and beautiful parks and lakefront beaches accessible to all. Chicago still has beautiful parks and lakeshore, but something happened to the neighborhoods...

Recently, the North Side and parts of the West and South Sides closest to the Loop have been regentrifying, but abandoned buildings and vacant lots still plague large portions of the South Side and West Side. There are an estimated 70,000-80,000 vacant lots in the City of Chicago, and the number of abandoned buildings numbers well into the thousands. Abandoned buildings are particularly troubling as they are magnets for drug use and squatters, and become major fire risks. If we are to win the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, then I propose that we transform Chicago into a world-class host city by transforming these abandoned buildings and vacant lots into something the neighborhood can be proud of without demonizing property owners or displacing honest, hard-working residents.

Chicago Abandoned Lot Project in the news!
Click here for the article by Anitra Rowe in the Wicker Park Booster


1643 N. Ashland Ave. in Bucktown
Someone is using the building for advertising and it's not the building owner benefiting


1459 S. Springfield Ave. in Lawndale
This building is currently unsecured and notice the porch on the left that is about to collapse

Targeted Properties

Chicago Abandoned Lot Project Top 20

Address Neighborhood Priority Description
1459 S. Springfield Ave.* Lawndale 1 Unsecured 2-story brick house
1550 S. Hamlin Ave.* Lawndale 2 Vacant lot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived in 1966
4341 S. Indiana Ave.* Grand Boulevard 3 Unsecured, partially burned/collapsing 2-story house
4226 S. Indiana Ave.* Grand Boulevard 4 Single vacant lot with crumbling stoop attracting vagrants
7757 S. Normal Ave.* Englewood 5 Beautiful 2-story graystone with rehabbed exterior near a lagoon
43 N. Lockwood Ave. Austin 6 2-story wood frame house
4030 S. Cottage Grove Ave. Grand Boulevard 7 3-story mixed use
3733 S. Lake Park Ave.* Oakland 8 2-story brick 6-flat with white columns (boarded up with broken windows)
1643 N. Ashland Ave.* Bucktown 9 3-story brick mixed use (photo from Carla Surratt's Picturing Chicago)
3409 W. Monroe St.* East Garfield Park 10 3-story brick multi-unit apartment building
5651 S. Halsted St.* Back of the Yards 11 3-story mixed use, has been down forever
452 E. 67th St. Park Manor 12 Boarded-up yellow frame house (photo from 2000)
2314 W. Roscoe St.* Roscoe Village 13 Mixed use (formerly Hot Doug's, caught on fire)
1040 W. 51st St. Back of the Yards 14 Single vacant lot
825 W. 47th St.* Back of the Yards 15 Single vacant lot next to corner Walgreens (full of trash, photo from 2000)
10729 S. Champlain Ave. Pullman 16 2-story brick, classic Pullman style (boarded up)
5161 S. Michigan Ave. Washington Park 17 3-story multi-unit apartment building
1860 N. Elston Ave.* Goose Island 18 2-story brick commercial, formerly River West (bar/nightclub)
317 S. Homan Ave. East Garfield Park 19 6-flat graystone (boarded up with metal VPS doors)
757 W. 79th St. Hamilton Park 20 3-story commercial, vacant for at least six years
* Click on the link for some great pictures of the property

More Targeted Properties (click here)

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Please e-mail them to me.

Want a vacant lot cleaned up? Request a vacant lot clean-up from the City of Chicago here. That's what it's for!

Know of an abandoned building that should be boarded up?
Dial 311 and report it! What are you waiting for? It takes only a few minutes and can save lives.

Contact Your Alderman or Alderwoman
(click here for an Excel spreadsheet with alderman contact information)

What is the Chicago Abandoned Lot Project?

The Chicago Abandoned Lot Project is a community project whose purpose is to transform blighted properties in Chicago into something to be proud of by the surrounding neighborhood and everyone that cares about this great city. These troubled properties feature abandoned buildings or vacant lots that are an eyesore at best and dangerous to the community at worst. Far too often, these properties sit neglected for years either because of unclear ownership, court battles and liens, or property owners that are content with the properties as they are, perhaps waiting until they increase in value or simply because of inattention. The specific goal of this project is to transform 5 troubled properties into something the community can be proud of by March 22, 2007. Upon completion of the project, the project will be documented and what we have learned will be shared here so that it can be replicated elsewhere around Chicago, Illinois, the United States, and throughout the world.

Highest and Best Use new possibilities for community development

One of the aims of the Chicago Abandoned Lot Project is to determine the status of each troubled property. Who owns it? The City of Chicago, a private owner, a bank, or is ownership unclear? Whoever owns it, what is their plan for the property? Warehouse it for future use, perhaps waiting for land value to increase? Perhaps they have no plan at all, or the property might be caught up in a court battle that could last for years. Perhaps there is a great plan in place for the property and things are in process (planning, financing, construction, etc.) The Chicago Abandoned Lot Project aims to create a plan of transformation when one does not exist, and to be in harmony with those that do. We do not want to recreate the wheel.

Next Steps

More Troubled Properties (most are for sale)


Abandoned building in Washington Park

Boarded-up building in West Garfield Park

Vacant Lot in East Garfield Park

Vacant Lot on Wood Street in Wicker Park

For sale by Baird & Warner in West Englewood (MLS# 06372948)

For sale by Baird & Warner in Austin (MLS# 06368099)

For sale by Baird & Warner in West Englewood (MLS# 06355794)

For sale by Baird & Warner in West Englewood (MLS# 06339120)

For sale by Baird & Warner in Chicago Lawn
(MLS# 06328921)

For sale by Baird & Warner in Chicago Lawn
(MLS# 06356342)

Vacant Lot in Washington Park

For sale by Baird & Warner in Greater Grand Crossing (MLS# 06376177)

For sale by Baird & Warner in Greater Grand Crossing (MLS# 06227611)

For sale by Baird & Warner in Chicago Lawn (MLS# 06348714)

Let's do something about these!

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