New Homes to Build on Vacant Lots in Bronzeville

The empty lots scattered along South Prairie Avenue, between 39th and 46th streets in the Bronzeville neighborhood, will soon be filled in with brand new market-rate homes. Developers will be able to purchase the lots from the city for just $1 each in order to build 42 new homes in the neighborhood, the first five of which are already slated to be completed by August.

“I am looking forward to seeing these vacant lots finally being turned into much-needed homes for families in Bronzeville,” said Alderman Pat Dowell of the Third Ward in a statement released by the Mayor’s office.

With the new homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhood rather than concentrated in one area, “we can send a stronger signal to the market that you can have confidence living in this neighborhood,” said Benjamin Van Horne of Greenline Homes, one of five developers currently working with the city.

The homes will be priced in the range of $440,000 to $589,000 and feature contemporary amenities, inside and out. Homes built before 1990 are often only equipped with single-pane glass windows, for example, which can be enormously inefficient when it comes to heating and cooling costs. Some 69% of homeowners are also willing to pay more for new kitchen appliances, so the prices may scale depending on features.

“It’s an opportunity to be part of the transformation of a community,” said Lenox Jackson of the building firm Urban Equities.

The so-called “Third Ward Parade of Homes” is just one of many revitalization efforts in the Bronzeville neighborhood. A new Mariano’s grocery store recently opened on King Drive, and the Ellis Park Arts and Recreation Center and pedestrian bridge to the lakefront make this South Side locale an up-and-coming location. The highly anticipated Obama Presidential Center and Library may also draw continued growth to the South Side.

“The parade of homes will foster new residential development that, in turn, will support commercial development that’s occurring throughout Bronzeville,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.