ULI Chicago News

ULI Experts Continue Work on Building Reuse Initiative in Chicago

ULI Chicago and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are continuing to move ahead in their partnership to promote building reuse in Chicago. The second stakeholder convening for this project, held on October 1, brought together approximately 50 industry experts from a variety of backgrounds including developers, architects, planners, non-profit organizations, and public sector representatives. This diverse and experienced group worked together to develop potential solutions to the most significant barriers to building reuse identified during the June stakeholder convening.

Commissioner David Reifman from the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development participated in the discussion and in his opening remarks, emphasized the importance of reinvesting in the City’s rich stock of existing buildings to strengthen its overall urban fabric. The National Trust kicked-off the discussion with a presentation of a spatial analysis of building reuse opportunities in Chicago based on several socio-economic and real estate metrics, followed by best practices in promoting building reuse from around the country.

Meeting attendees proposed many creative solutions to overcome reuse barriers in Chicago, including:

  • Building capacity in the Aldermanic ward offices, where most development approval decisions are made, by providing access to a team of “roving” planners and architects well versed in the development process
  • Giving away lots located adjacent to older, viable buildings to interested developers to make it easier to make needed modification/additions to older buildings
  • Using funds from in-lieu fees collected under the City’s amended Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) and other programs as appropriate, to create affordable housing units by reusing existing buildings in high need areas
  • Focusing on specific building types and preparing a “how-to” toolkit for reuse, similar to the highly successful Chicago Bungalow Initiative
  • Increasing access to capital through non-traditional sources of financing such as crowd-funding and L3Cs (low-profit limited liability companies) formed with the mission of promoting building reuse.

The ideas generated at the stakeholder convenings will be further analyzed by our project advisory committee as we move into the next phase of developing implementable recommendations to overcome reuse barriers. Stay tuned for updates and additional opportunities to participate in the next phase of the project in Winter 2015-2016.

Learn more about ULI Chicago’s Building Reuse Partnership

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