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Condos Are the New Black

By Peter Mavrik in News on Sep 24, 2007 6:00PM

2007_09_condoblack.jpgFrom Rogers Park up north to Pullman in the wild-wild hundreds, Chicago is a town full of renters. But there is a problem.

The Center for Housing Policy, a national organization that examines housing policies and programs, has reported that Chicago ranks 17th out of 31 areas studied in their Least to Most Affordable Rental Markets. Even more distressing is their finding that 43,000 families are spending more than half their income on rent. Another 20,000 are living in distressed housing. And the rental market is shrinking.

Why the shrink? One word: condos. More after the jump ....

Loyola University's Chicago Center for Urban Research and Learning has found, based on the Cook County Assessor's data, that "somewhere between 45,000 and 100,000 rental apartments were replaced by condominiums between 1989 and 2004." They also found that for every 1,000 condos that a neighborhood gains, 27 small apartment buildings and six large apartment buildings are lost. Ouch. But it's not surprising if you've walked around the city lately. Condos really are the new black, springing up at light speed around town.

But there is a glimmer of hope. The Preservation Compact aims to provide some key housing initiatives to help improve and retain around 75,000 apartment dwellings in the city. This project is backed by one of the biggest names in grants in Chicago, namely The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, who laid down $10 million in seed money. That's $10 million of a $100 million goal mind you. We hope we'll actually see this public project pan out. Fingers crossed.

Image via Flickr User Ursus Maritimus.