WBEZ | abandoned property http://www.wbez.org/tags/abandoned-property Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cook County land bank aimed at ending blight http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-land-bank-aimed-ending-blight-105048 <p><p>Cook County has a new tool to help return vacant and abandoned properties to the tax rolls.</p><p>The Cook County Board voted unanimously to create the Cook County Land Bank Authority. The agency will promote redevelopment of vacant, foreclosed and tax-delinquent properties.</p><p>In a press release, Board President Toni Preckwinkle says land banks have been effective tools to combat the foreclosure crisis in other communities. She says more than 80 local governments in 23 states have land banks.</p><p>Cook County&#39;s land bank will be overseen by a 13-member board. Members will have experience in banking, real estate and development.</p><p>The land back will be able to hold property on a tax-exempt basis to eliminate back taxes and clear title. It will use a mix of county money, grants and donations.</p></p> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-land-bank-aimed-ending-blight-105048 Realizing the potential of Chicago's abandoned buildings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/realizing-potential-chicagos-abandoned-buildings-95649 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/P5013269.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After asking listeners to consider what they would sell if in need of some fast cash--ideas ranged from wedding gifts to coffins--<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wondered: How about buildings? Maybe every day Chicagoans walk by a particular abandoned building and realize there are things they admire about it. Does it get demolished or should it be brought back to life?</p><p>WBEZ blogger <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-01-11/could-purple-reign-again-exclusive-look-plans-save-notorious-lincolnwood-hot" target="_blank">Lee Bey recently wrote</a> about an effort to save what many Chicagoans simply refer to as the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood. Maybe drivers have seen it as they make their way to the Edens Expressway. Bey joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> along with <a href="http://davidschalliol.com/" target="_blank">David Schalliol</a>, a visiting assistant professor of social sciences at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Schalliol is also a photographer with a series out called <em><a href="http://www.msoe.edu/about_msoe/manatwork/exhibitions.shtml" target="_blank">Working Legacies: The Death and After Life of Post Industrial Milwaukee</a> </em>and a new feature on <a href="http://gapersblock.com/demolished">Gapers Block called </a><em><a href="http://gapersblock.com/demolished">To Be Demolished</a>.</em></p><p><a href="http://gapersblock.com/demolished/2012/01/3411-w-douglas-blvd.php" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/segment/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-19/03%5B1%5D.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 480px;" title="3411 W. Douglas Blvd. from To Be Demolished (Gapers Block/David Schalliol)"></a></p><p><a href="http://gapersblock.com/demolished/2012/01/2530-n-elston-ave.php" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/segment/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-19/05%5B1%5D.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 600px;" title="2530 N. Elston Ave. from To Be Demolished (Gapers Block/David Schalliol)"></a></p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/realizing-potential-chicagos-abandoned-buildings-95649 The economic and social cost of emptiness http://www.wbez.org/content/economic-and-social-cost-emptiness <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/abandoned house detroit_flickr_SJ Carey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>This week</em>, Changing Gears <em>kicks off a look at empty places across our region. During November, we’ll be looking at empty buildings, empty property — and how we can fill things up again. In the first part of our series, reporter Dustin Dwyer explores the economic and social cost of emptiness. Things may be better in some neighborhoods, he says, but problems still abound.</em></p><p>GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There is no one number that tells the story of all the empty houses, storefronts, offices and factories in the Midwest. But there are many numbers that tell part of the story.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-02/abandoned house detroit_flickr_SJ Carey.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 421px;" title="An abandoned house in Detroit. (Flickr/ SJ Carey)"></p><p>Like this: one out of ten. One out of ten homes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin was vacant in 2010. That’s according to the U.S. Census.</p><p>Or these numbers: &nbsp;Twenty-two percent of office space in the Cleveland area is empty. Chicago offices are 19 percent empty. Metro Detroit: almost 27 percent.</p><p>Those numbers are from the real estate firm Grubb &amp; Ellis. Fred Liesveld from the firm’s Detroit office says those numbers have actually been getting better for almost a year. He said of the 27 percent vacancy figure: “We haven’t seen that in a decade. That’s just great news.”</p><p>And really, there’s a lot of good news in the Midwest. In every city there’s at least one neighborhood that used to be a lot worse.</p><p>Where I live in Grand Rapids, that neighborhood is Heartside. Heather Ibrahim has worked in Heartside for more than a decade, at a non-profit called Dwelling Place. I met up with her during an art event on what used to be one of the neighborhood’s worst blocks.</p><p>“Just looking down the street and seeing how many buildings have been revitalized, it’s just amazing,” she said. “It amazes me the changes that have happened.”</p><p>Ibrahim says when she first started working in Heartside, maybe half the buildings were falling apart. Now, she estimates 80 percent of the neighborhood has been restored.</p><p>But even in Heartside, Ibrahim believes 20 percent of the buildings are still in bad shape. Windows are boarded up. Storefronts are empty.</p><p>Now let’s look at Detroit. Last year, a collection of groups called The Detroit Data Collective did a survey of the entire city. What they found is that more than a quarter of the city’s residential space is now completely vacant. We’re not talking about a row of empty houses. We’re talking about an urban prairie.</p><p>Jeff Horner, of the urban studies department at Wayne State University in Detroit, has lived in the area all his life. He says he’ll take the prairie over what used to be there.</p><p>“You never get used to seeing the same house you drive past that was lost in a fire and here’s still this burned out hulk that just sits there for years,” he said.</p><p>And for those who want to just think of this kind of a thing as a Detroit problem, it’s not.</p><p>In many ways, Chicago is the shining example of what can go right in the Midwest economy. But after the 2008 real estate crash, the emptiness has been creeping there as well. And, like everywhere, it has a devastating impact.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-02/abandoned building chicago_flickr_zol87.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="An abandoned building in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood. (Flickr/Zol 87)"></p><p>And now we’re talking about things that can’t be measured in numbers.</p><p>“The urban environment has a profound impact on psychological functioning,” said Lynn Todman, an urban planner who works at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Last year, she did a mental health study in the city’s Englewood neighborhood. The area has been devastated by foreclosures.</p><p>Todman says she spoke to one man who had to go into the abandoned houses for his job. The man told Todman about dogfights, squatters and runaway kids.</p><p>“I tried to get a little more information out of him about the kinds of things and activities that took place, perhaps things that weren’t widely reported in the news. And he said, ‘you don’t want to know,’” Todman recalls.</p><p>Todman says crime-ridden neighborhoods would have crime even if there wasn’t a bunch of vacant buildings. But when there is, the crime can spread. It can affect the people living in the homes that remain.</p><p>It can lead to stress, which leads to learning problems for young kids. Heart problems for adults. Drug use.</p><p>Add it all up, and Todman says this less-measurable impact of empty buildings – it will go on even after the economy improves and the buildings fill back up.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 14:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/economic-and-social-cost-emptiness