Newly elected mayor Rahm Emanuel has made many promises to the Chicago people. As of yet, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to follow through on those promises, but many residents believe that his commitment is genuine. Many residents also believe that Rahm will be able to address many of Chicago’s real estate issues.
Specifically, Rahm claims that he intends to focus on four real estate issues of particularly importance to residents of The Windy City:
1. New Uses for Vacant Land
The City of Chicago owns several thousand vacant lots. These lots generate no income for the city, and they do nothing to improve the quality of life for the residents of the city, either.
So, Rahm intends to convert many of these vacant lots into green spaces and community gardens. He also intends to present some of these lots as gifts to organizations, in the form of land donations.
2. A Renewed Focus on Neighborhood Development
Chicago’s low income neighborhoods have undoubtedly been hit the hardest by the recession. Rahm hopes to revitalize these neighborhoods and improve their real estate value.
On his website, he notes that “In communities hardest hit by the recession, there are severe barriers to private investment, and City leadership and action are essential. Rahm will make sure Chicago utilizes every tool possible—like land donations, demolition liens, and non-cash bids on delinquent taxes—to make sure investments are targeted and comprehensive, to give communities the greatest chance to redevelop and succeed. Rahm’s strategy will develop and implement plans for re-use of all buildings and vacant lots in the targeted areas from rehab and new construction, to adjacent neighbor land donations, parking improvements, community gardens and urban agriculture.”
Rahm’s strategy—though simple—could help turn Chicago’s real estate economy around.
3. The Establishment of a Technology Hub
Rahm hopes to encourage tech heavyweights like Groupon and GrubHub to continue developing in Chicago. And, according to the mayor’s website:
“Rahm will accelerate Chicago’s growth as a global hub of technology innovation and start-ups, supporting the establishment of a technology innovation hub to promote collaboration and help technology businesses succeed. Google revolutionized the “technology campus” approach to innovation by providing a centralized work space with access to like-minded innovators, venture capitalists and, most importantly, to good transportation options and great food. Rahm will work with local businesses and investors to create a similar campus in Chicago. The campus will be close to multiple transit lines and bike infrastructure.”
If Rahm manages to create for Chicago what Google created for Seattle, then the real estate market in this city will certainly improve dramatically.
4. The Transportation of Food and Groceries
Perhaps most practically, Rahm intends to make it easier for Chicago residents without cars to buy and transport groceries.
It remains to be seen how, exactly, Rahm intends to do this, but many of Chicago’s carless citizens certainly appreciate the intention.