The City of Chicago recently announced it will acquire more than six acres of a vacant lot at the intersection of 18th and Peoria Streets, the largest single parcel of developable vacant land in Pilsen.
The land will be used to develop at least 280 units of affordable housing and is the result of community-driven advocacy that began in 2015 when the Midwest Jesuits first announced a plan to sell the property to a New York-based developer.
The City’s announcement “has been more than six years in the making with the people of Pilsen working shoulder-to-shoulder, demanding affordable housing, and that collective fight was for the social fabric of an entire community that stretches beyond this intersection,” Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th Ward) said. “Thanks to our city and to our community, this is how we stop displacement together.”
Efforts to develop the land and dedicate an inadequate number of affordable housing units were met with pushback over the years from community members fighting against displacement that had already pushed out 10,000 Latinx residents since 2000.
Since becoming Alderman, Sigcho-Lopez has passed several significant anti-displacement policies, including a moratorium on demolitions and deconversions until June of 2023 in Pilsen.
“These anti-displacement measures help protect density, warding off gentrification and making it harder for developers to tear down homes or convert multi-unit buildings into single family homes without community input,” Sigcho-Lopez said, noting that with the announcement, “we now have a long-fought-for opportunity to build affordable housing that will keep families–and our community–whole.”