The Committee on Housing and Real Estate quickly worked through a nine item agenda at Monday’s meeting, approving eight ordinances in roughly half an hour. The only testimony against any agenda item was from Council fixture George Blakemore, who insisted the city was getting “hoodwinked” by selling a downtown parcel currently being used for a parking lot. Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10) recommended the committee hold a decision on the $20,000 sale of a lot in the South Chicago Redevelopment Area to The Lights of Honor International, a non-profit.

Members present: Chairman Joe Moore (49), Pat Dowell (3), Gregory Mitchell (7), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Michael Scott Jr. (20), Walter Burnett Jr. (27), Ariel Reboyras (30), James Cappleman (46)

Start Time: 9:36 a.m.

Steven Stults with the Department of Fleet and Facility Management, Efrain Hernandez-Diaz with the Department of Planning and Development, and City Law Department Senior Counsel Rose Kelly all testified before the committee. The following items were approved and move to Wednesday’s full City Council meeting:

Board of Education Sales: Three agenda items were approved involving sales by the Chicago Board of Education totaling $782,000. The largest is the $635,000 sale of a 5,200 sq.ft. parking lot from the Board to Park One/Dearborn Parking. Blakemore, the only person to testify against, told the committee the downtown property is worth much more than the sale price, but Stults says the offer was the highest bid. The Committee also approved the sale of an old two story red brick school building at 115 W. 108th St. in the 34th Ward to Holy Ghost Cathedral for $3,000. The building is in poor condition, but Stults says Holy Ghost plans to turn it into a community center. And the $144,000 sale of an empty lot at 5221-5229 S. Prairie Ave. to Washington Park Development Group, LLC also passed committee. Ald. Pat Dowell (3) spoke in favor of the sale, and says there is a proposed market rate affordable housing development in the works.

Redevelopment Area Sales: Negotiated sales of two city-owned sites in redevelopment areas cleared committee, totaling $105,000:

  • The $5,000 sale of a vacant lot in the Chicago/Central Park Redevelopment Project area to The Anawim, a Roman Catholic non-profit that addresses extreme poverty. Efrain Hernandez-Diaz says Anawim will landscape the space.

  • The $100,000 sale of a lot in the Division/Homan Redevelopment Project Area to Richard and Susan Karwowski, who plan to landscape the open space adjacent to their home.

Municipal Code Amendment: The committee approved an amendment to the City’s Municipal Code to give the Commissioner of Planning and Development explicit authority to implement rules concerning the preservation of single room occupancy (SRO) housing. Rose Kelly with the City Law Department said there was an oversight in the original ordinance.