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CHICAGO-The city is hoping to see a land rush in a pocket of the South Shore community that has run behind the redevelopment curve. The department of planning and development is fielding request for proposals for 37 vacant lots in an area between 65th Street and 67th Place, Stony Island and Dorchester avenues.

Developers can offer to buy one, a combination of lots or the entire 37-lot package for mixed-income residential projects ranging from single-family homes or six-flat rental and condominium buildings. They also will be encouraged to acquire privately-owned vacant parcels next to the city-owned sites on their own, says department of planning and development project manager Lisa Hope-Washington.

“This section of the South Shore community has remained relatively under-developed in recent years,” Hope-Washington tells the community development commission.

Target prices will range from $4 per sf to $9 per sf, says Hope-Washington, and buyers will not be in line to get tax increment financing. However, developers could get a write-down of their land costs depending on their projects, she adds. But while developers getting city assistance are required to set aside at least 10% of the units in their projects to buyers and renters meeting the city’s affordable housing guidelines, that is not a top priority of the South Shore effort.

South Shore already is one of the most affordable communities in the city, says 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, leading the city in the number of Section 8 vouchers used by multifamily rental tenants.

“This is an area in desperate need of redevelopment. The challenge has been to figure out what the use should be,” Hairston says. “You don’t have the same issues in South Shore when you talk about affordable housing.”

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