The Chi Block Builder application period ended on February 3, 2023. Received applications are currently being reviewed and processed.
If you submitted an application, you can expect to hear back from the Department of Planning and Development later this spring.
If you would like to be contacted when the next round of applications open, sign up here.
ChiBlockBuilder is the City of Chicago’s new program to encourage the purchase and redevelopment of City-owned vacant land in partnership with community stakeholders.
Led by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), ChiBlockBuilder streamlines the purchase of City-owned properties across the South and West Sides and increases transparency about the land sales process.
The ChiBlockBuilder website features an interactive online map to provide potential buyers with important information about City-owned vacant land such as environmental clearances, zoning, square footage, and market value.
Need help? Contact the ChiBlockBuilder Team!
Assistance is also available in English and Spanish by phone at 312-935-1030, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligible uses for land include:
Affordable: For sale housing that will be affordable to households at up to 140% of area median income (AMI)
Market Rate: Housing that will be occupied by the builder or sold at market rate
Fenced yard directly adjacent to a neighbor’s home; can be used for any purpose allowable by zoning
A property intended to house a business, such as a store, restaurant, or office. This includes mixed-used buildings, which have both commercial space and housing.
Spaces for community and recreation, such as gardens, parks and plazas.
Vacant land and racial equity
The proliferation of vacant land on Chicago's South and West sides is an equity issue. Read below to learn how DPD is applying a racial equity framework to vacant land sales.
Decades of disinvestment and structural racism have led to high concentrations of City-owned vacant land on the South and West sides of Chicago. Institutions including the City of Chicago permitted the practices of urban renewal, redlining, contract buying, and the building of highways, which displaced Black and Brown communities and cut off access to resources and wealth. This has contributed to the proliferation of neighborhood blight, reduction of community safety, and hindering of neighborhood vitality.
Learning from lessons of the past, the City aims to support communities in putting vacant land back into productive use, driven by the values of transparency, justice, community leadership, and transformation. The new program will facilitate community ownership by allowing residents and developers to quickly and easily identify city lots that are for sale and be guided through a clear sales process with up-front expectations. The improvements to the City's process now will support community building for years to come.
Vacant land presents an opportunity for residents to drive the direction of their neighborhoods. By leveraging the City's resources and support through the land sale process, the ideas that residents have for vacant lots can come to fruition. The new land sales program will attract local investment, give local residents greater control over vacant land in their neighborhood, build wealth in communities, and ensure land gets put to productive use in a community-driven and equitable manner.