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Ordinance aims to restrict aggressive gentrification along Chicago’s 606 Trail

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The plan’s authors hope the move will preserve more affordable rental housing near the popular trail

Flickr Creative Common/Brule Laker

With real estate prices soaring along the 606 trail, a group of Chicago aldermen are proposing new rules for developers looking to demolish or de-convert existing housing close to the popular linear park. A new ordinance being drafted by Aldermen Joe Moreno (1st), Roberto Maldonado (26th), and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) in collaboration with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association would make it more expensive to tear down and replace relatively affordable multi-family properties with more expensive single family homes.

"If the developers are really willing to buy existing properties and want to demolish them to build higher-end new properties, making it almost impossible for neighborhood people to afford them, they will have to pay a premium demolition fee," Maldonado told the Chicago Tribune.

The average price of a single family home near the trail has gone up nearly 50% since 2013. While this sudden surge has been a major boon for property owners, house flippers, and home-builders, many of the area’s longtime renters are feeling priced out.

While neighborhoods on the eastern end of the trail such as Wicker Park and Bucktown were seeing prices trend ever higher regardless of the trail’s construction, the so-called “606 effect” has had the most dramatic impact further west in places like Logan Square and Humboldt Park.

It’s still unclear just how much developers and de-converters would have to pay under the proposed ordinance. It’s hoped that the move will be enough to preserve existing affordable multi-unit rental buildings and pump the breaks on rampant gentrification—or at the very least bring additional revenue to city coffers. The ordinance could be introduced at a City Council meeting later this month or next.

The 606