Interested in the Chicago Zoning Map?

You are not alone. The Chicago zoning map is currently the most analyzed among all metropolitan cities. We looked into it, and it makes sense; Chicago is amidst a dozen mega development projects. The size of these developments has a significant impact on the surrounding properties. Everyone is looking to see what they can build and buy around it. 

How does knowing Chicago’s zoning rules help real estate investors?

Zoning ordinances are the crystal ball of a city. Zoning tells you a city’s capacity for growth, density, and programmatic mix. Many cities fail because of poorly planned zoning. Instead, cities should engineer zoning to maximize investment. 

Knowing the zoning around these Chicago projects can help you flag investment opportunities, even if it means buying, holding, and selling later. In other words, you don’t have to be a developer to leverage zoning for investment. 

What are Chicago’s most significant development projects?

According to Databids blog, 11 Chicago projects should be in progress:

  1. Lincoln Yards: $6 billion plan, 55 acres of industrial riverfront, mixed-use development by Sterling Bay.

  2. The 78: 62 acres, entire neighborhood on the south branch of the Chicago River by Related Midwest.

  3. The River District: 8.5 million-square-foot project, 14 buildings, 4,100 residential units, owned by Tribune Media.

  4. Riverline and Southbank: 14 acres on the south branch of the Chicago River, 3,700 residences, owned by developers Lendlease and CMK.

  5. Wolf Point South: three towers, the first was built in 2016, the second in 2019, and the third is expected by 2023.

  6. Lakeshore East: 28-acre development, five towers, developed by developer Magellan.

  7. One Central: $20 billion proposal, 34-acre plan by developer Landmark.

  8. Old Post Office: 2.8 million square feet of existing building renovation by developer 601W Companies.

  9. Union Station: $1 billion plan for Chicago’s Union Station and surrounding properties by developers Riverside Investments & Development and Convexity Properties.

  10. Burnham Lakefront: 100-acre vacant property owned by Michael Reese Hospital, to be developed by Farpoint Development.

  11. South Bridge: 11-acre site for 900 mixed-income residences, townhouses, six-story apartment buildings, and mid-rise towers. 

In the following blogs, I will be exploring some of the areas surrounding these projects and highlighting development opportunities.

More. will be revealed,


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Olivia Ramos is the CEO of Deepblocks, an AI-powered software that automates the site selection process for developers and investors. 

See how quickly you can find your next development site here (our record is 3 minutes).

Author Olivia Ramos
Founder and CEO of Deepblocks, holds master's degrees in Architecture from Columbia University and Real Estate Development from the University of Miami. Her achievements before Deepblocks include designing Big Data navigation software for the Department of Defense's DARPA Innovation House and graduating from Singularity University's Global Solutions and Accelerator programs.