Chicago Is Selling Vacant Lots for $1

But only to their neighbors

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 3, 2014 12:59 PM CDT

(Newser) Even Detroit doesn't have city real estate cheaper than this. Chicago is now offering vacant lots for just a buck each, NPR reports. But before you start dreaming of your new life as a Windy City land speculator, you should know there's a catch: You have to already own a home on the same block, and have no outstanding debts to the city. The country's murder capital has a lot of vacant lots on its hands—including almost 5,000 in its troubled Englewood neighborhood alone.

Officials say they've received more than 400 applications so far in Englewood. "I just want to make my block nicer," says one woman applying to buy a lot there. She plans to install public art in the space, perhaps alongside a barbecue pit, chess tables, and a dog area. Other efforts are under way to improve the neighborhood too; a Whole Foods broke ground there on Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reports, and Rahm Emanuel showed up to declare the occasion a "testament to the resurgence of Englewood … and the resilience of the people of Englewood."

A vacant lot is seen in Chicago in this file photo.   (Flickr/Ullanne)
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