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Need a Vacant Lot? Chicago's Got 'Em!

If urban density agitates you just think how much worse it'd be if there weren't 20 years worth of vacant developable lots mixed in. Translation: at developers' current rate of new home sales, they won't run out of places to build until 2032. The figure is for the Chicago area at the end of 2011, down a touch from 2010. The whole measurement is a little screwy considering there are plenty of areas where developers would never build in the first place. There are currently 46,298 construction-ready vacant lots in the seven-county Chicago region. According to Lance Ramella, director of consulting for Metrostudy, the firm who authored the study, "of that 46,000, maybe (10,000) to 12,000 are in what we would call A or B locations". Investors will sit on some sites as long-term investments. Many other sites are doomed to long-term vacancy short of major government intervention. [Crain's, photo: Flickr user Zol87/ creative commons]